Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Happy Adulthood

“It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”   -Tom Robbins

The above is my go-to quote when I’m teaching workshops that awaken people’s atrophied sense of play or help heal some damaging music education from their youth. But today, I came up with a new one:

“It’s never too late to have a happy adulthood.”

This after a joyful day of teaching 13 Special Course students at the Orff Institut who I already love after a mere two days of classes. Followed by a few hours in a cozy room playing a most beautiful Steinway piano with a powerful lower register and bright upper register and keys in the middle that sang just right for me. Bach, Scarlatti and Cole Porter never sounded so good to my enchanted ears. My fingers were on a reconnaissance mission in search of beauty and each one kept finding the treasure of a perfectly-placed D# or Ab. Each finger felt like it had its own personal brain and sharp eyesight and I just had to get out of the way and let them do their work while being washed away in the rich textures and vibrant rhythms.

Outside the window, it was snowing and I remembered that quality of winter, the earth being blanketed with love from above and us frail humans walking through in wonder and in search of a cozy fire. I walked along the river, marveled at the tenacity of songbirds braving the cold and the refusal of the water to be stilled into ice.

In short, I have returned to that blessed state of effortless happiness. I feel the smile on my face without having to search for it or force it or analyze how it got there. And truth be told, I feel it as my natural state, indeed, all of our natural states, but one that gets obscured by life’s assaults, our own poor choices, inherited patterns we let have their way with us or just plain bad luck. But happiness is our birth right, we are all worthy of it, we are all deserving—and we all are lucky when it finds us.

Not that I’ve had an unhappy adulthood. I’m well aware that I’ve been graced with extraordinary work in extraordinary places, lucky to be in mostly good health, blessed with the gifts of family. It’s not all peaches and cream and never has been— I’ve had my fair share of challenges and some painfully brutal betrayals in each of these areas. But for this moment in my adulthood, I’m perhaps happier than I’ve ever been and I have nothing more to say than the obvious— thank you.

PS to Note to Mr. Bell: Tonight at the Youth Hostel 10 teenagers were sitting side-by-side on two couches and every one without exception was… looking at their phone. I wish I could have taken a picture of them, but darn… I don’t own an i-Phone! Well, I do have a camera, but it was in my room— if I had an i-Phone and carried it 24/7, I could have taken a photo showing how bizarre it that everyone has i-Phones! Hmm. Get the irony?

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