benchmarksblog

WHAT I LEARN FROM LIFTING & PLAYING

Month: January, 2016

ASKING

In sacred music, the key of E-flat is often used to set the melodies for content and texts dealing with supplication.

I am informed of this interesting bit of trivia from a singer I am accompanying, in a bid to move his song down a step from F major, into his range.

When I him how this exactly had come about, he simply shrugged and said, “I guess people eventually found out that God listens better in E-flat.”

Clumsily stumbling though our rehearsal with a newly and awkwardly transposed leadsheet in E-flat, I am reminded that my own pleas and requests sound very different when I pray them willfully, with my own selfish interests at heart.

HELLO

A woman from the spin class I take stops in for dinner one evening.

It’s a pretty big class so I usually just smile and wave to her from across the room, becoming familiar through the regularity of Thursday mornings at 9:15.

We laugh, hug and finally introduce ourselves by exchanging names.

She is surprised to see me playing the piano “so amazingly” because she had always assumed that I was a trainer, given that outside of class, I am always “enthusiastically working out with different people.”

Without knowing it, this person lifts my spirits.

In a week where I am feeling complete mental, physical and emotional exhaustion, a new friend reminds me that I have precious opportunities in my life to be alive, passionate and invested.

A simple hello can do wonders.

CHANGE THE WORLD

I am asked to prepare this Eric Clapton song for a special anniversary dinner. The guests have called ahead and management has dutifully, and with ample lead time, passed on their request.

Normally, I wait until after dessert is ordered, but before it is dropped at the table, to introduce myself to the guests, and then play the song.

But before it even gets to that point in the meal, the couple comes out and thanks me for the beautiful arrangement of Change the World.

Which makes me laugh, because I haven’t played it yet. Then really upset, because it makes me feel like I’m a terrible pianist. Then just sad, because these people don’t even know what their song sounds like.

I thank them for celebrating with the restaurant and wish them many more years of love, joy and happiness.

Not being able to change the world through music, it is the only thing I am left able to do. I change my attitude to one of graciousness and appreciation.

ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE

I’ve been obsessing over this song for weeks now.

When someone asked me what I liked about it, I immediately replied, “The lyrics are hopeful.”

This object of the singer’s affection is many, many things.

They are the promised kiss of springtime, the breathless hush of evening and the angel glow that lights a star.

I’ve been wondering if they could simultaneously also be emotionally unavailable, irresponsibly selfish and self-destructive.

But in giving and receiving love, instead of taking the opportunity to focus on all the things we aren’t, the adventure lies in remembering all the things we are, and can aspire to be.

RESOLUTION

During this time of the year, gyms everywhere have an influx of new members resolving to get into better shape.

The crowds often annoy me because I’m forced to share equipment, or even worse, not get to use something that I really want.

Then I remember my own resolution to honor myself and to honor by body. And I flip though my workout journals from the very beginning of this now not so recent journey.

Maybe, my resolution this year is to be nicer and kinder. Not because other people are nice and kind. But because I am, and I have the capacity to be.