I've done a woefully poor job of posting blog updates. Sorry about that! Here are a few quick rambling thoughts from my head to yours.
It's already been quite a few months here in Passau. If I had to describe it in just a few words, I would say that it's been a time of learning, self-reflection, and discovery. I am learning what this career requires and what it gives back in return. Through it all, my mantra has been stay open.
Staying open is not easy. It's a nearly constant struggle for me, as I know it is for everyone, whether we admit it or not. Newness is by definition uncertain, unknown. It's a much easier choice to stay in the territory of the known. Shutting myself off from the world is comfortable, but I find that it too brings its own kind of struggle. It doesn't satisfy the deeper tugging of the heart which says to grow, to branch out, to jump in to the unknown. Where is up and where is down and that is suddenly this and this is suddenly that and English is suddenly German and what I thought I knew is suddenly useless...
As Kurt Vonnegut put it: "We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down."
Perhaps this is one of the bigger realizations I've had in the last few months. Music and art (and really all creative endeavors) push us off these cliffs. They force us to consider new ideas and to see things from different angles. And we find that our perceptions change over time. This is such a wonderful realization: when we are fully present, every moment is alive and perfect. When we experience a piece of music, either as a performer or a spectator, we arrive in that experience only as we are now. And that experience is different than the day before. Of course it is. We are different people than we were the day before.
Tonight I'll perform Haydn's Die Welt auf dem Monde (originally in Italian as Il mondo della luna) for the twelfth time this season. And each one of those performances has been different. Sometimes there is raucous laughter, and sometimes after an attempted joke I swear I can hear the crickets chirping. Sometimes I feel great about my performances, and other times I might be disappointed. But I try my best to accept what I'm feeling, to be where I am, and no matter what, there is kind of a peace that comes with doing that. When I know I gave all of myself and I approached the work with honesty and humility, I can be satisfied. I overcame my own resistance for one day. Now, to do it again tomorrow. That, I'm realizing, is a major part of the work of being an artist.
So, my friends, I wish you wellness and the mantra: stay open.