Friday, March 19, 2021

Follow Your List

Shaved, showered and shopped. Jigsaw puzzle finished and e-mail down to zero. No Zoom meetings for two whole days. That rare sensation of reaching the end of the list. 


And then what? Well, for the second time, my jigsaw puzzle was missing one piece, its way of reminding us that we’re never wholly finished and a new list awaits. But like the micro-second between the exhale and the inhale, there is a moment inviting us to just be and dismount from the horse of doing. Attend. Notice. Observe. Just be.


It helps if you’re outdoors. You might notice the ants underfoot or pay more mind to the hummingbirds feeding at the flowers. That gentle movement of leaves in the breeze suddenly feels like a dance, the distant drone of traffic punctuated by crow caws a piece of music. Indoors, the screens or books or organizing your desk beckons, but outdoors there is a grander celebration afoot. 


I occasionally have the good sense to gift myself such moments of immersion in the hubbub of the natural world’s creation, but truth be told, I’m a list guy through and through. While Joseph Campbell advised “follow your bliss,” a friend embroidered “follow your list” on a T-shirt she gave to me. Right over the pocket where I carried my little memo notebook that was the engine of my day. I now have a desk drawer filled with some 20-30 years of those notebooks chronicling my listed life. Ah, there’s a task—re-read them and organize them. Or throw them out. Should I put it on my list? 


During the pandemic, the Memo book gave way to an electronic document, mostly because it was so much easier to click on the Zoom link meeting that write in my books and re-write it each time on the screen. Still I miss the act of writing it in the Memo book, crossing it out and taking pleasure in my small accomplishments. Yes, there is the strike-through feature on the Word program and I use it and move it down to the bottom of the page, but not with the same satisfaction. 


There is a bit of terror reaching the end of the daily “to-do’s” because then I have to consider the Pandora’s box of dealing with old cassette tapes and VHS videotapes, a file cabinet with 45 years of workshop notes, a box of old letters, the 100 plus rarely opened folders in little cardboard holders on my desk marked “Writing/ School/ World Music/ Levels Training/ Jazz Course/ U.S. Orff workshops/ International Workshops/ Orff arrangements/ Pentatonic Press and that catch-all, Miscellaneous. “ Note I haven’t even mentioned the trunk of old T-shirts too ragged to wear, but with memorable messages (including the "follow your list" one!). Aargh!


So I think I’ll check e-mail again and consider a trip to Rainbow Grocery to get some mochi. 


What’s on your list today? 

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