Living a disciplined life. This is the phrase that keeps sounding off in my head. Yesterday at yoga, Danika asked us to create what our intention for the session was. What did we want to achieve from the hour and a half of yoga. And that’s what I picked. Living a disciplined life. For months now, my life has been a lightening-quick immediate response to the very next thing in front of me that I have to take care of, and discipline for anything else simply vanished. Whether it’s my diet, exercising, taking my vitamins every morning, practising my piano, cleaning, reading – anything! Gone. I am great at setting up structures. Brilliant at it. But lately, not so much. I haven’t had a disciplined approach to fulfilling any of it, and so I don’t follow through on anything I promise myself I’ll do. Ridiculous and exhausting.
Ah. It’s so good getting all this out of my head and onto virtual paper, sharing it with you, but it’s opening up a can of very emotional worms. My life now has changed drastically from before. Before Moshe became ill. Before my father died. Before my shoulder surgery. Before my foot surgery. But especially before Moshe was diagnosed with cancer, had a nephrectomy, a second surgery, and then fought for his life through complete kidney failure. It stopped being about making a difference in the world. It stopped being about having a really great time, about weekends away in the Yarra Valley or Mornington Peninsula, about hanging out with our family and friends, about defying aging, living it up, going out, travelling, all those things our lives were so full of. Suddenly, everything we’d been doing, everything we’d been planning, everything just ceased. Suddenly, the treadmill was switched off at the wall, and the rubber belt ground quietly to a stop. Life was something else. It was about survival. Not that that wasn’t appropriate. It certainly was. Still is. It’s just that now, as we’re emerging from the crisis, Moshe’s recovering well, the doctors are excited about how well he’s doing, our heads are starting to come out from under the clouds, and we’re peeking out at life again, starting to take back bits of it, the disparity between then and now is suddenly in front of my eyes, in bold living colour.
I find myself, when I stop and allow myself to get present to it all, getting upset. Tearing up. Not for too long. But it’s all there. I’m tired. I feel like I’ve aged a decade in the last year. And on top of it all, I’m finding it really hard to practise. Well, not to practise, but to have the practising have the impact I want and expect it to have. Mum was over tonight. We had such a good talk. I told her how my fingers have lost so much of their strength, their agility, their sensitivity. Not that I have any real claim to expect anything else; I mean it’s been decades! It’s just that I assumed that I could practise and the practising would stick, well better than it is, know what I mean? She said this wonderful thing to me. She said that I should have this time in my life to bring not only discipline, but a calmness to my life. And to take care of me now too. Swimming she said. Yoga’s good too. But swimming. Did you know that many pianists swim to build strength in their shoulders? I didn’t know that. I used to swim. Loved it. Wasn’t too bad at it either. Not fast or anything, but just reasonably good at it. Better than I am at running, put it that way! Only thing about swimming that I’m not liking the idea of is the whole getting wet business, having to shower afterwards, wash my hair again. All that business. I might consider it though. I do have a good pool five minutes away from me, so it could be good. I’ll give it some more thought. And talk to Moshe, see what he thinks.
Want to hear something good? I practised heaps today. I actually managed to do what I’d set out to do at the beginning of the day. Practise well. And I did. I even had a little breakthrough – I found myself being able to look a bar ahead, note where my hands had to be for the next bit, and play it with every note correctly. Blew my mind! Should have seen me today. After my scales, and after Czerny, I pulled out Mozart. I’m practising, working on micro sections, pulling the whole thing apart, researching the sonata form on my computer, finding the two themes of the first movement, the Statement, and then practising the troublesome bits again, with a smile on my face that comes from new knowledge and understanding. I guess I am making progress, albeit slow as turtles. I’m now really looking forward to my lesson tomorrow. Yep, I am.