Tag Archives: Thoughts

Tenderness

It was not the dazzling show of virtuosity, or the lightning-speed passages which captivated my physically tired self on a Friday evening.

It was the second movement of Mendelssohn’s First Piano Concerto which had me feeling most moved, most emotionally engaged, and most present.

It was when I heard and saw the notes from the piano emerge – featherlight tones, their sound ringing out to reach the deepest recesses of the concert hall. They carried with them emotion, multitudes of subtlety within their frequencies. And I felt my inner world move with them, sighing with them, feeling more anchored with them than with the booming bass and dazzling melodies of the opening movement.

And I found myself thinking about how rare it has become for our world to appreciate and embrace such tenderness. Which is probably why we need music (and art) like that to remind us. To remind us of the beauty and necessity of tenderness.

What can we do to cherish more of such tenderness?

What can we do so that being soft-spoken and non-assertive are not seen as negative, weak traits, but part of a larger, beautiful and accepted self?

Perhaps, as with most changes we want to see, it’d have to begin with ourselves.

 

Lessons From July: A Good Struggle

2 days late, but I was writing in my journal on the 1st of August and came up with a few things that July has taught me, and thought this main one to be blog-worthy.

The lesson on The Struggle and The Emerging… and the Going Back Again.

Yes, struggles like these are probably never going to completely go away. We find periods in our lives where we seem to be sinking into them uncontrollably, and by some stroke of luck and seeming effort, emerge from them thinking ourselves to be stronger than before, only to be immersed in the struggle again, once something else happens.

I’m referring to the struggle with self-doubt, of course.

And if there’s one thing July taught me, it’s that this struggle is truly necessary for reflection and growth. In fact, I should be worried if I don’t feel any struggle and am completely comfortable. Because it’d mean that I’m not pushing myself, that I’m not being stretched, that I’m not growing. In work or in my personal development.

The fact that I see my struggles as negative when they occur does not mean that they truly are. Just like we hate the bitter medication we have to take when prescribed, but when we’re well we look back and see how we couldn’t have gotten better without enduring and going through the medication process. Something like that.

The going through of the struggle also showed me how much I want to continue to do what I do, IN SPITE of the difficulties. It did not trigger in me feelings or thoughts of wanting to quit, or give up, or just let things be. It triggered in me the persistence to think of new ideas, to infuse new life into my approaches and interventions, and to put in more efforts to make the necessary connections and to develop the confidence I need to speak about what I do. The struggle did all that. And I am thankful.

I’m sure the next wave of self-doubt will come soon enough – there seems to be no lack of that in our world. Let’s hope that I’ll remember this lesson, on the value of a good struggle.

 

Wallflower

Having been in this new job environment for a little more than half a year, I realise that being a wallflower does have its perks.

Sure, I miss the joy of having close friendships at work, the kind I used to enjoy in the earlier years of working and in teaching. But ever since the job switch, I’ve also realised the joys and conveniences of being a wallflower – the lack of social obligations, the freedom to come and go pretty much however and whenever I choose. The joys of more quiet time, more efficiency with less chit chat. It also makes me feel more “anonymous”, even though I know I’m not. We still talk, we still collaborate, we still rant when we need to and I still have people I trust enough to go to with my work-related problems. We just stop there, that’s all. And at the end of the day I find it easier to “go home” – both physically and emotionally. Which think is important for my well-being.

Maybe there are people out there who need to have close friends where they work to feel that they belong, or to feel part of a community, in order to enjoy their job. I think I’ve learnt that I don’t necessarily need that, and it’d do me good to not feel the pressure to live up to that norm.

All’s good with this wallflower:)

Unthoughts

I recently started incorporating Morning Pages into my morning routine, moving some other stuff around so that I do not have to wake up earlier than I already do (Hint: When I tell people how early I get up, their next question is usually an incredulous ‘what do you DO?!’).

All in a bid to give the mind some space, to examine, to reflect, to introspect, to know myself better.

All for a better state of being in this world which can sometimes feel really hard to be in.

 

Eudaimonia

“When Aristotle spoke of the “Eudaimonia,” the Good Life, he was not focused on the positive feelings of pleasure–orgasm, a backrub, and a full stomach. Rather he was concerned with the “pleasures” of contemplation–which do not reside in orgasmic thrills or sensations of warmth, but in deep absorption and immersion, a state we now call “flow.” And during this state there is neither thought nor feeling. You are simply “one with the music.”

Authentic Happiness Website

 

Anxious Teachers

A music therapy session with a new class today got me thinking about certain things.

Ironically, it wasn’t the kids I worked with that got me thinking. It was the teacher of the class.

More specifically, how the teacher of the class responded to her kids’ behaviour.

Bearing in mind, of course, that these are kids with special needs, albeit high-functioning ones. They understand instructions, they can follow verbal directions without needing too many prompts, and they can adhere to rules and regulations when imposed within the boundaries of the classroom.

The thing was, though… where is the balance between imposing rules and letting the kid “be themselves”?

When is it ok to let the kid have free reign over how he wants to drum and how he wants to hold his mallets, and when is the right time to correct them and show them the “right” way to play?

When is it necessary to step in to tell the kids to “use gentle hands” because they’re doing something really dangerous to hurt themselves and/or their friend and when is it ok to let them have their fun and freedom, even at the risk of taking some risk?

I don’t have all the answers, even though some of the teachers would think that we’re the “music experts” and SHOULD have all the answers.

My stance has always been that musical expression is and can be a platform for communication, interaction, identity building and personal growth, even at 5-6 years old. So when we tell a kid they’re playing the drum “wrongly”, or that they’re going to hit their friend, when in fact they’re sincerely communicating and expressing through the act, it could possibly send a deep message to to them, influencing how they start to view the world and their role in it. Something I really hope we have not done.

Being a teacher, no matter the context, is never an easy task, as I can personally vouch. But I sometimes think we’d do our charges a lot more good if we learnt how to put our own anxieties aside and not worry so much about out heads rolling off the chopping boards should the kid emerge with so much as a scratch on their arm.

Give them more space to find themselves, more air to breathe and discern right from wrong… play the role of the guide, not the authority.

Isn’t that possibly more beneficial for them in the long run?