js blessings on monkey head

this week has been epic busy and it's already friday. some folks may have been waiting for today to arrive with eagerness and anticipation. for me, it really did sneak up on me. i didnt see it coming! and it's here. it's kind of difficult to get a good sense of what has been happening, as i have tendency to just grab hold of the train and go for a reckless ride. it's fun when things go super fast i think. i like to ride the momentum at full speed, no cautions. probably why i get banged up so badly sometimes. the other day i had a spill on mt. tunnel and till this very moment, im carrying huge bruises on both of my knees. hmm. i wonder how old i am at times. at least that wasnt my hands- we open another friday concert tonight!

the faculty of the week is from montreal. a bigshot pianist. i have heard much about him and was expecting to be examined, observed, advised, taught, etc etc. and with the reps that has been selected for this week, i thought there is no way im going to have a gentle week: brahms piano quintet, first beethoven cello sonata and something for my own lesson. my own lesson? what? i had hardly any time to practice anything! but it would seem very dumb to let go of such opportunity so i signed. with a big sigh. and the first coaching was on tuesday with beethoven, which was followed by a hasty hacking of brahms quintet in the afternoon (gaah i really wish i couldve played better. anyways)- 2 hours of brainfrying. then wednesday, 3 hours, back to back brahms and beethoven. wednesday evening, i was determined to redeem self (from who and what? i still dont really know but it seemed appropriate), so despite of pleas from friends for evening of conversations and simple pleasures, i stubbornly stayed at s/m building, futile attempt to make some music happen till some insane hours (see, this is where things go wrong). then inbetween two recording sessions, a lesson yesterday. a real pants on fire week, isnt it.

was i prepared? perhaps, to be criticized. i felt completely unprepared, inadequate and inept. but then i figure: im sure i cannot be the worst one he has ever seen, nor i would hardly be the best one. i will fall somewheres in between and then who cares? so with tails between legs, i went.

i played may be for five minutes, just the overture of the 4th partita of mr. bach.

'well, playing the piano isnt difficult for you, let's see for something else.'

a full hour and a half of conversations. about music? may be. about being a person? yes. about monkey progress. it's so easy for me to take on multiple things it's almost scary. i dont mean that i do all of them well, just making the ends meet really, more than anything. always piling more things on top of one another. never saying no, and trying to manage all things all at once. somehow. and yes, somehow that works, most of the time. rarely there are some serious meltdowns, but mostly, okay. i talk fast, move fast, falls over all the time because im moving too fast, beyond my own capability of observation and processing, write long sentences, doesnt ever breath between the phrases (it's amazing i have not died yet playing franck sonata). being swirled around by the end of the mad tea cup ride at the fair. spectacle.

perhaps it was inevitable i decided to work at starbucks after my degree. with all the notes, traditions, expectations, rehearsals and whatevers in between, it became impossible to be sane. tinnitus. but not just of sound. of sights. thoughts. life. hence the decision to drink some concrete. die slowly. instead of looking for a balance, i looked into solidifying into inanimate object. and failed to become one. instead. i came to banff.

with one difference. im learning, albeit slowly, to enjoy the silence. the spaces inbetween drops of water. the way silence makes one to keep their ears open. the way that tabula rasa could create such a vast space as the open ice fields, permafrost of the north georgian bay out from an empty A4 page. to let the spaces speak when there is finally a momentum. to breath in, right from your toes to the head, then to enjoy the air breathing out of your system, circulated, nourished bits of monkey body cells. going slower. not stopping but slower. the way that your body starts to focus on every single muscle fibre, brain cell, the past melting into present, the way to escape the tyranny of pressing matters, relentless progress of time forward, the way consonants surround the roundest vowels. the way one's skin tingles right before the contact onto another's warm, living skin.

none of this is possible at the lightening speed.

and all this will lead to a very simple result. of a self-awareness. of happiness. i know it sounds rather zen and all that jazz, but i think it became cliche because it is true. the idea is not foreign or new. it always spoke, to the ears that were not listening but barely hearing. and now perhaps is the time to let those silence spaces speak. and that was the blessing of js.

go and be happy. you are successful when you are happy. and i know you will be happy. you have the rights to be happy and you are a good person.

after all that, yes, playing the piano isnt really all that difficult. nothing really is. let ease be the guidance to the busy mind. no more tinnitus.


  1. on a slow, reflective walk, we see the detail, every small thing along the way that has some meaning or beauty. with no pressing on or hurry, we arrive with ease. usually where we began, but richer. it's a good way to travel!

  2. Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.