This morning, I was making the brief sojourn from house to car with my tools for the day's clients: guitar, bag full of percussion, two ukuleles, two iPads, water bottle, oh and... Window scraper (hello, winter!)..
This is a walk I used to do down three flights of stairs every morning from an apartment in the city. Generally, my advance planning worked and while I looked ridiculous (and sounded funny, with a bag full of egg shakers and Jingle bells),I was able to carry all these things without dropping them. I'd get down to the apartment door, though, and then have to maneuver it all to one hand so I could turn the doorknob, push the door with one foot, and squeeze outside before the heavy door smashed shut on my acoustic guitar bag. I don't swear a lot, but for the two years I lived on Floor Three I swore almost every morning. Grumble grumble grumble, smash, *#!?*, door slam! jingle jingle jingle all the way to the car. It wasn't a pleasant start to the day.
I recently moved to a small house (really small. I can lie in bed and drop a breakfast bowl into the sink, or practice vibraphone with one hand while I clean the kitchen table with the other. I am not complaining, it is awesome). The best part of the house is that I can pick up instruments and walk them straight out the door to my car. It's a 10 second trip, which means I can make multiple trips and will never again have to watch my beautiful, expensive wing (if you're a client, you know the wing!) falling gracefully down three flights of stairs to its demise below (thank you, wood glue). Alas, old habits die hard-
So back to This Morning, I am carrying the guitar on my back, the bag of percussion on one shoulder, bag of iPads on the other, ukuleles in one hand, scraper in the other; and I leave the house- drop the scraper. Lean to pick it up, drop the ukulele. Lean to pick that up, drop the iPads. No joke. My car is ten feet away and I'm dropping things left and right. I'm carrying a fancy glass water bottle, leftover from my pre-self-employment office job, which I realize could slide from my mittened-hand and smash all over the road. I consider that this could throw my day into a tailspin as broken glass is not only a pain to clean up, but I love that water bottle and it might be a bad omen, and suddenly I wonder, WHY haven't I adjusted? There's no need to carry it all. I could make three trips! I could protect my precious instruments and tools and comfortably get seated for my day of driving and thus be calm and available for my clients! What a concept.
I've always been proud of my routines. I plan ahead monthly, weekly, and then daily. Every night I write out my schedule, plan my route, pack my bags (yes, I DO need a studio space! Open to offers. ;)) and I am generally 10 minutes early to everything- if I'm 15 minutes early, I drive around for 5. This kind of neurotic planning makes for a dependable, organized, efficient lifestyle and makes me feel 'calm' because I am prepared. It's also... Wait for it... Horrendously annoying and unnecessary.
Just like the transition from playing in orchestras to playing in rock bands, working with hundreds of clients has made me realize that Life Happens and sometimes, you're late or you forget your guitar or you spend $800 fixing your car and then the DOOR HANDLE breaks off (yes, these all happened this week) but guess what?? The world doesn't stop spinning. The schedule adjusts, clients forgive the occasional day off, we take a deep breath... The deep breath allows you to find grace and humility, and self-compassion. The deep breath finds forgiveness for mistakes and creative solutions to small problems. The deep breath is thankful for health and the ability to use the voice even if the guitar is at home or the wing is broken.
As the year comes to a close- and oh, what a year 2015 was- I am realizing that my tendency to carry it all at once hasn't been doing me any favors. And if I don't take time for the Deep Breath, I'm not doing my clients or friends any favors, either.
So here's to trying something new in the new year. Taking more, smaller trips. Carrying less. Taking time to breathe.
What do you need to adjust?