Anne Smith :: Blog for January 2016

January 22, 2016

Hi Everybody-

Happy New Year! I'm still playing Thursdays at Cinque Terre Restaurant in Davie, enjoying the customers-met a great table of 8 from Massachusetts a few weeks ago and enjoyed a conversation peppered with "wicked awesomes". I am getting to know more places to go and sit in, with some great musicians. The Funky Biscuit in Boca Raton is unbeatable on Monday nights.

2016 has shown itself already to be a year of reconciling my past with my future.

"Reconciling: 1) to find a way of making two different ideas, facts, etc. exist or be true at the same time; 2) to cause people or groups to become friendly again after an argument or disagreement".

I am getting closer to defining/finding employment that meets my needs as an artist, while sustaining my basic lifestyle. It hasn't been an easy process. It is way easier to say what I don't want, than to name what it is that I do want. At this rate, the process of elimination could take millions of years….for some reason, this observation brings me back to a moment when I was rock climbing for the first time, with Alex, an elite climber, in upstate New York.

Just before reaching the summit, against his warning, I maneuvered myself under a rock ledge, instinctively seeking a safe place to hang out and ponder my next move. I was high enough up on the face of the mountain to look down and see red-tailed hawks circling below. Once there, under the "shelter", I became paralyzed with fear. My companion called down-"There's a toe hold to the left". Indeed, there was, if I extended my left foot out and up first, then pushed out from under the ledge, while reaching up with my left hand to the next hold and bumping myself up fast. I was thinking too much, imagining losing my balance, pivoting outward like a door, swinging back and forth on its hinges. I am right-side dominant and the idea of initiating the next move from the left was terrifying. Even though I was securely tethered and rigged with climbing gear, the prospect of dropping and scraping against the rock freaked me out. Alex cheerfully cautioned, "Oh, and don't put your hand near that 'biner. If you drop, it could pinch down your hand, and then you would be hanging by that hand in agony, bleeding, until somebody could get to you." He seemed to be enjoying my terror, I thought darkly. If I survived, I vowed to somehow drug him and make a video of him singing "Muskrat Love" at a karaoke bar, which would be an equally terrifying experience for him.

My palms were sweating, my heart was racing, and my left leg began to experience a tremor that is referred to in climbing as the "sewing machine needle", from the nerves and adrenaline. ( I have felt this before, while sitting at a piano before a performance-it's awful). What I want to say is, in that moment, with my cheek pressed into the wall, when I was forced to think of NOTHING ELSE but my next move, I suddenly became very relaxed. I had no choice but to move to the left. And I did. And here I am, years later, reflecting on what an amazing metaphor that is for where I am now. Fact: I am scared to make my next move Fact: I have to make a move. I cannot hang out someplace "safe". No place is safe. Life is not about playing it safe. Life is about taking risks, not merely surviving but getting to that place of reconciliation, of inner/outer balance that can be sustained through the conscious awareness of NOW, of grabbing on to the next hold and moving onward and upward.

"The truth is of course is that there is no journey. We are arriving and departing all at the same time" -David Bowie

May those of us who are feeling stuck and scared find a way to strike out and discover what we are made of.
May those of us who are separated by words and deeds find a way to reconcile our emotions and sustain the love that can heal ourselves and others.

Until Next Time x0x0x

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