Sunday, December 05, 2010

Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

This year I needed to let go of the idea that I was still on my own, independent, relying on no one. I can't say I have been successful at letting go of that, though I needed to. At this point, I have been married to John for fifteen months. We can and do rely on each other, but I can still feel resistance inside me. Fifteen years of doing for myself retrained me well to believe that I must never rely on someone else for something I can do for myself. Along comes John, who will do so much for me: prepare meals while I am still in class at the university, clean the house when it is awful and I'm in the middle of writing a paper, encourage me when I am crippled by imposter syndrome. He is the partner I have dreamed of for years, but I am no longer a dream partner because of the habits I have built up during my years alone.

The resistance is revealed by what I don't share with John. Not material goods, which I am always willing to share, but with scheduling plans, making sure he knows where I am. I just don't think of telling someone else, anyone else, because I haven't had to for so many years. I feel terrible after I realize it, when he points it out, but I can't seem to catch myself before the hurtful damage is done. Luckily, he is so easy-going and doesn't hold grudges. When I explain that I just didn't think of it, because of my recent history, he lets it go and we move on. I need to do something about it, create some new protocol about informing my partner, nurture a new habit of mind about my connection to this other loving being...a good project for next year.

One tool I used for self-support when I lived alone was my involvement in a band that played out in bars. Each project I was involved in, during that fifteen year period, occupied me for hours each week, required travel to new places, sometimes, and brought me in contact with lots of new people. The music soothed my soul and fed an important need of mine, so that I could cope with the loneliness at home. Now that I am no longer lonely, I need the music, but not the wear and tear of travel, nor the friction with bar owners, nor the pressure of keeping three or four personalities at peace. So I have let go of that fifteen year project of making music publicly. Milk & Honey has long been retired (with relatively few appearances after 2000), and the more recent band project expired this August, when I told my trio I was done with this.

On the other hand, I have not let go of music. John and I have made Saturday nights our music jam nights. Whether we have guests or not (and sometimes we do, people who want to play but don't, or people we know we'd like to jam with), we know that after supper we will get out fiddle, guitars, open the piano, shuffle some pages of lyrics and chords, and sing a little. We may even come up with a name for our weekend practice, but for now, it's just the Saturday night jam.

Our jam breaks some of the rules of more organized projects. We don't prepare much, for example. Preparation usually entails searching online, and printing up some sheets of chords and lyrics. John may practice new techniques, like strange tunings, during the week. We might think, during the week, about which group from our musical past we'd like to imitate on Saturday. Sometimes, though, we prefer to find our own groove or two, improvising and trying different solos with various instruments. It also involves trying instruments we don't usually play. We play only music we like - unlike a band that goes gigging, and has to pay attention to the tastes of the audience and more importantly, the bar owner, who may or may not have any musical taste. There is never any cigarette smoke, although there may be some alcoholic beverages.

So this year I have held on a bit more than I should have to some ideas, but I've given up others, and created myself anew in doing so. I look forward to more of that during the Movement of the new year.

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