Old lessons and new habits

This week I was back at the dentist. The dentist is like a refueling station in modern life: a regular touchpoint for self reflection. Last time I was all anxious core tightening and afraid of those spiky instruments. This time I was calm and trusting, softer almost. More mature. Evolving.

Yoga this week was about finding awe. AWE. That’s “awareness of the whole entity” as well as just plain old “awe”. Go deep, and then step back. Last dentist visit I went deep (into fear and anxiety). This dentist visit I stepped back.

I’m back on candy crush. After completely putting it down at level 90 something, I absently picked it up and now I look forward to choir day because I can play it on the subway. The subway trip has never gone faster. Now I’m on level 105 and I’m playing every night before I go to bed. So. many. better. things. to. do. than. that. I’ve gone deep. I need to step back.

Last week my choir participated in a festival with Choirs Ontario. All I want to do now is consume gorgeous choral music. And sing in more choirs. And wear casual clothing every day. Which was pretty much my life in 2004, when I didn’t like my life very much. Figure that one out.

I was reading about failure this week. And how we have to do it to succeed. I know this. But failure hurts. It’s bad for egos, which is probably good for the world.

At the choir festival I saw an old teacher of mine who conducted my high school choir. We had a nice chat, like two grownups because that’s what we are. In high school I was a music nerd and also a delinquent. It was a busy time. We had a half day off class one afternoon and my teacher told the choir that we would be rehearsing and that if we didn’t attend rehearsal we would not be allowed to perform in the concert. I loved performing in concerts. But apparently that day I loved skipping choir rehearsal more. Afterward, I thought he might make an exception for me, but he didn’t. He was disappointed. I remember when he told me he looked so tired, like he was an old man even though he wasn’t. When I saw him last weekend I thought about that and how that was a good lesson for me. It made me think differently about making choices.

For the most part, I like to follow rules. When I think back to that time in high school when I broke so many rules, almost all of them really, I wonder if I overdid it. Did I scare myself back in between the lines, to a forever of timidness? Or maybe that was an exploration – a full, deep exploration that landed with an educated decision to conduct myself as I do today – with measured risks. And a view to possibilities as well as consequences.

It’s funny. At our next choir rehearsal my current conductor went out of her way to say what a great opportunity my high school had been. My old choir is excellent, world class actually, under that same teacher who taught me that life is about choices. And that I’m not above the rules. At first I was defensive about it. I thought:

What do you mean by that? Did I not take enough advantage of the opportunity??

(Because I’d been thinking about that experience skipping out on rehearsal).

But now I see that all she meant was: it was a great opportunity. And it was, in music and in life, one that I took full of advantage of.

Go deep and take a step back.

Is this what being in AWE – Aware of the Whole Entity – feels like?

I think yes.

Not long ago I was reading tips by management gurus. Many talked about maintaining lists of things you want to start doing, things you want to keep doing and things you want to stop doing. In that spirit, today I will start seeing the positive in my high school memories, even the ones that felt like failures. I will keep singing in choir and going to the dentist and being in AWE. And I will stop playing candy crush. Except occasionally on the subway:)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.