Music as Meditation
Music as Meditation

Music as Meditation

I’ve been doing great in the isol­a­tion of Cov­id. I was more than happy to be told I had to stay home and not see any­one. It gave me leave to bury myself in my writ­ing, to start a pod­cast, begin the pro­cess of indie pub­lish­ing my work. I got so much accom­plished in the past two years! I’ve been doing great!

Hav­ing said that, I men­tioned to Matt some time ago, “I won­der if all this isol­a­tion has affected me in ways I’m not yet aware of …”

The answer is Yes. Yes it has. I have much high­er levels of anxi­ety. An almost con­stant feel­ing of being nervous, even when there isn’t any­thing to be nervous about. Then, when there IS some­thing to be nervous about, even a tiny bit, that feel­ing intens­i­fies rap­idly, so that I’m way more anxious about, say, the drive home from the ferry last week after my writ­ing retreat. Shak­ing by the time we got home. Or, there’s a FAT Jazz gig com­ing up. I have always had issues with nerves before music gigs, but usu­ally not until the day of. We have a gig on May 5 and I’m already wound up about it. Add to that all the wor­ries about the world (and yes, there’s a lot of shit going on in the world that is anxiety-provoking).

So. I need to do some­thing about this. It is abso­lutely no good for me to be sit­ting here in my arm­chair on an aver­age day, work­ing on edit­ing, and for my nerves to be jangling as if it’s Gig Day. wtf? And see, I have been work­ing a lot lately. So much that to even take a short break as been out of the question.

Now, speak­ing of gigs and music, this here arm­chair I’m sit­ting in is right next to my piano. My piano is a beau­ti­ful instru­ment that is also a gor­geous addi­tion to my little liv­ing room. I can play it. I’m no con­cert pian­ist, but I do enjoy banging out songs, singing along, and even going through the books I used to play when I took les­sons, see­ing if I remem­ber how to play them. We’re talk­ing def­in­itely not for the enjoy­ment of the neigh­bours, here.

So when it occurred to that this nerves/anxiety stuff is get­ting out of con­trol I real­ized I need to take breaks. I have heard that a lot of people find med­it­a­tion help­ful for keep­ing their nerves under con­trol, for keep­ing life in per­spect­ive. I nev­er learned to med­it­ate, but I do know that play­ing music has the same effect: It forces your mind to com­pletely change focus. You have to think about the notes you’re play­ing, the tempo, the tone, the fin­ger­ing, the dynam­ics, the lyr­ics if you’re going to sing along. (Play­ing in a band/group is even bet­ter because you also have to think about blend­ing with the oth­er instru­ments, your pitch, and how your notes fit with what every­one else is playing).

Add to that the sheer joy of music, the chords, the melody line etc. etc. and it really is the per­fect med­it­a­tion for me.

I am going to add mak­ing music to my daily routine, giv­ing myself reg­u­lar doses. Per­haps by doing so I will avoid need­ing reg­u­lar doses of some phar­ma­ceut­ic­al product, or other.

I hope you are find­ing ways to handle whatever men­tal health chal­lenges you’re encountering.

My Piano