# 3 New beginnings with priorities, goals, memories and insight

Like many people, I spin a lot of plates and have a number of passionate interests. But for the one plate I spin in the moment, there are several that do not have my undivided attention. (If only I could tie reeds and practice long tones at the same time !!) However conscious or unconscious - I am making a sacrifice. Furthermore, I find that I can experience pressure or tension about the plates that I am not spinning - will they fall if I don’t spin them NOW!?! How can I get it all done? This stress isn’t beneficial to my health or quality of performance to the plate I spin in the here and now! How can I live organically, in the moment, be open to spontaneity and not fear dropping any plates? The stress of this takes away from quality practice or involvement in anything.

My answer to this right now is to reassess my priorities, set reasonable, achievable goals based on a loving, big picture way and make a cupboard of confidence for my plates I’m not spinning in the moment and get clear on sacrifice and order of importance! To factor in flexibility, prioritizing and having an A and B schedule routine which I can fall back on but not be a prisoner to, is really helpful. I like to take one month at a time and the older I get I’m learning one DAY at a time is essential for me to not be too rigid and more open to the spirit of guidance and free of any self imposed prisons. How can I have a sound structure/routine that is flexible enough to be spontaneous enough?

I think of my priorities: achieving my life’s purpose
1) Being a more loving person and teaching that via the arts is my primary goal. Therefor all other goals AND DECISIONS of how I spend my time and energy, must support - not detract from that.
2) Optimal health - in an integrated way - body/mind, emotional body/physical body connection etc.
Goal 2 supports priority #1 and therefore all decisions and goals must support this goal.
3) Present goals: overhauling my oboe playing for optimal technical elegance and artistic height.
Goal 3, supports my life purpose.

By being clear on my goals and priorities, I need fewer rules or complicated road maps. I can move forward knowing this is the destination and any new goal or decision I make is in support of this ultimate destination. As long as the goal is based on a priority - the integrity of the goal and purpose - can be honored when change of behavior or habit or form is required.

I’ve been doing a lot of gardening lately and as it is my habit and joy to think/learn in metaphors, I’ve been thinking about how I can apply garden knowledge to my current situation in goal setting to best achieve my purpose.

Now that I am 54 - and overhauling my oboe playing - the rules and habits and routines of the past don’t necessarily apply nor should I follow them as I need to distinguish which to keep, ditch, change…..etc….

If a routine is like having a set schedule to water the shade garden, being 54 and in my current situation is like realizing, the tree that once kept my shade garden shady, isn’t there anymore, it’s fallen, and now what was once a sunny garden, is in the shade by the tree that has grown in these past 45 years of playing the oboe. The teachings, rules of routines of watering, and sunning and pruning and blooming - are all subject to change with what the NEEDS are at the time to achieve the ultimate PURPOSE!

Politics, teaching methods, teachers, friends, partners - etc. are wise to bare this in mind and keep in the heart center. Further along requires adaptability and embracing the wisdom of hindsight and discernment. Adapting I find requires reassessment of priorities, level headed evaluation, asking new questions and trying new approaches.

This morning I started a new approach to my warm up practice and it’s liberating.

Morning OBOE practice June 1, 2010:

As it’s the first of the month I carefully dusted one of my oboes with a clean paint brush and oiled the mechanism.

Needing to be hyper vigilant of my physical well being - ideal posture and physical wellness, breathing, embouchure, as well as needing to move the fingers to help oil get into the mechanism of the oboe key-work, I:
* knelt with knees 6 inches apart and hips resting, situated evenly over feet with the front of the feet down on the mat
* relaxed the muscles in my face and around my belly button, elongated my neck up and chin slightly down breathed deeply in and played series of trills of varying lengths, speeds, dynamics - whole and half steps

all the while paying deep attention to the physical quality of focus, pressure, relaxation, of my muscles - as the oboe is an extension of my physical body as the oboe reed is my adopted vocal chords and extension of my windpipe

my priorities and interest today where in hyper vigilance and attention to keeping open and relaxed where necessary - avoiding undue tension in my jaw for example - keeping ideal posture and alignment and quality of overall form in the physical wind chamber with ideal diaphragmatic support.

Furthermore: focus on hand placement and facility of finger moment during the trilling.
Keeping ideal placement of reed in mouth and embouchure - checked by following up trilling with tonguing patterns of repeated rapid tonguing per note, moved to the next note same # of times and back in the trill pattern

Adjusting posture when tension set in - moving to a cushion under hips within same posture, the later moving to a half lotus, then later to a standing position

All of my playing in session # 1 of the day was all free of the page.
While I was trilling, I was remembering the gorgeous butterflies I had seen recently at the Butterfly Conservatory in Arizona earlier this month. I would imitate wing movement in my trilling - holding notes, trilling faster and slower. After a good while of this, I then began improvising to different note relationships in melodic like patterns here and there in small intervals - keeping the rhythmic flexibility - of the trilling.

The emotional experience was open and pleasant.
I focused my air stream to the other side of the galaxy. I thought about the butterfly theory of how the fluttering wings of a butterfly in one place can influence the weather far away in another place.

What a mysterious world.

June 1, 2019

# 2 Opening up to deeper and deeper listening

Dear Ones,
Welcome to the Oboe Brilliance blog series: abyssopelagic refinement.

(adj.) like or pertaining to the depths of the sea

6. a subtle point or distinction.
7. an improved, higher, or extreme form of something:
a refinement of the old system.

Today’s blog focuses on opening up to deeper and deeper listening which I feel is essential to the creative process and communing in life with greater sensitivity and consciousness. Developing deeper listening allows one to be more present, in tune with, one with and better at connecting.

I recall my very first encounter with my first dance teacher when I was about 2 1/2 or 3 years old in 1967 or ‘68. I was very excited to study ballet because it’s so beautiful. Arriving first, and early to class I asked my teacher “How do you dance?” She smiled, looked at me tenderly, knelt down to my height level and said it’s actually easy, all you do is turn your body into an ear and move how you feel. Try it - I’ll play some music. First, lie down and the floor and feel the vibrations with your entire body, then when I play it again, move how you feel as you hear it. So we did that and she cried (tears of amazement saying I am a dancer) and I felt complete joy throughout my entire being and have been madly in love with dance every since.

Isn’t life a dance? Isn’t life a pas de deux of what can appear as duality? Isn’t our body an entire ear?
As I recall the room and how I was during that first lesson, my mind open with no preconceived notions, alert to what I’d experience with a fresh mind, a blank slate with no walls buffering me from what I’d encounter. I could hear with my body and moved how the music felt. It was glorious. There are many currents within music, many frequencies.

Yesterday as I walked the labyrinth, I walked it differently to my pleasant surprise. My usual way to walk it - my now historical way - has been to hold a journal in my left hand and pen in my right hand and spend about 1/3 of my time maybe 1/2 of the time writing what I channel. Yesterday when I went to write, my pen was completely empty. Embracing the situation, I walked the labyrinth palms up, walking slowly, and listening with my entire body to the “music” there as I walked, noted how my body felt as I stepped, breathed, looked at this and that. I noticed how chakras felt, noticed energy of various trees, how my body and how the trees communicated like a duet. I felt an intensity, depth, breadth to the trees much more than what I feel with people. Their auras appeared to grow as I could see them more and more clearly as I listened deeper. I payed attention to how my breathing and body changed as I focused my attention on the blue sky and the thought occurred to me that I could employ this kind of deeper listening to when I played a certain note on the oboe - feel in deeper levels the affect of this note in the noticeable environment around me. With my body ear, and with the ethereal ear.

How does the physical sound influence the ethereal music?

How does the ethereal music influence the physical sound music?

How does my listening influence these? How does the listening influence me?

If this is a bit unusual for you to read or think about, imagine and think about how you are used to walking on the ground and feeling air around you. That’s normal. Now imaging how it feels to walk in water which gets deeper. The water influences your walking and your walking influences the water. There are physical differences as well as other differences including obvious changes - states of consciousness - and emotional differences. Now consider how there is a lot of water in air to begin with. Ethereal “music” has a different texture than water. A finer frequency. Just like water is in most things, ethereal frequencies are there as well.

If you don’t think you’re in touch with an ethereal level of feeling, it could be that you take it for granted - like going nose blind - trust the fragrance is there - and take a deep breath so to speak. Observe what you can. You’ll notice what you notice.

Move slowly like a dancer in silence. Keep it simple and observe what you can. Remember there is water there is moisture in the air - try to sense that and take it from there in a more subtle level. It helps to relax the muscles in the face and around your belly button. Through movement, listen to changes in energy like you’d notice changes in water by moving your hand through the water.

Note the energy of the environment before performing or listening to a musical work - then note the energy of the environment right after the work ends.

Notice how the way you breathe does this to yourself and your environment - the way you think…

In closing, a translation of a Haiku poem by Basho

The temple bell stops.
But the sound keeps coming
out of the flowers.


to the dance
May 31, 2019

# 1 introduction of new blog series

Dear Ones,
Welcome to the Oboe Brilliance blog series: abyssopelagic refinement.

(adj.) like or pertaining to the depths of the sea

6. a subtle point or distinction.
7. an improved, higher, or extreme form of something:
a refinement of the old system.

Here you are free to read about
1) creative process
a: during this next chapter in my journey of a new phase of deeper creative exploration and process
b: simply explore these exercises yourself
2) my oboe playing overhaul to liberate my highest potential of artistry within technical elegance
a: read about my journey of re-teaching/overhauling my oboe playing
b: follow my processes as you wish for yourself

I am profoundly grateful to have and take the opportunity to do this and effervescently eager to take this journey and share it with you. You are welcome to join me.

All aboard!?!

May 30, 2019