My fifth group of people in as many days, but before I even began, I was moved. Many of the people trickling in were people I knew. Didem, who I shared 4 memorable months with in the Intern program, in my workshop again but now with her baby. Sencer, a Turkish man and Mohsen, an Iranian man from Shiraz were both in the 2017 Special Course in Salzburg. Sanae from Dohar and Melis from Ankara had done the Level Training with us, Hannah from the U.S. was a familiar face.
Then there were the gifts carried by some students. A drum from Shahram from Shiraz, Iran, a CD from Nastaran in Tehran, food of all sorts. Such generosity.
The reunion with Mohsen was especially touching, a minute of a bone-crunching hug followed by many kisses on the cheek. He told me how I left a hole in his heart when I left the Special Course after two intensive weeks and then kept telling me during the workshop that he wanted to chew on me, without the slightest weird overtone. Such sincere passion, his love of the way I work and unabashed enthusiasm for my energy. That just doesn’t happen with the men I know in the U.S.
Past midnight now after an obscenely delicious and too-much meal with my host Ezo’s dynamic mother writing on-the-spot poems about the handsome young men (not me!) sharing the table. Laughter, convivial conversation, the full embrace of life with unencumbered passion. These two young men creating aps for mindfulness meditation came to my workshop and jumped right in with both feet and then gave a review at dinner more profound than many of my American colleague’s reflections who have done this work for decades.
And so passion. The dictionary says, “a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything or anybody” and that sums up a lot of my feeling for jazz, Orff, family and friends and life in general. There is an intensity, a zest and zeal for life that I feel in various cultures—like the Spanish, the Italians, the Turks, the Ghanaians, the Brazilians and more—and that I relate to. Passion is also connected etymologically to suffering, as in the Passion of Jesus Christ, and it is clear to me that the height of zest for life is related to the depth of the capacity for suffering. Some people and cultures prefer to distance themselves from the passion of emotion and hold life at an arm’s length distance and that has its place. But let’s just say that I prefer Coltrane over Kenny G.
One more day of workshop enjoying the passion of the Turks and Iranians. More to come.