Do you have it? Do I? At least for me, I can say that for other people, I have compassion. But do I have it for myself? Not always. And I think that it is hardest for us to have compassion for ourselves.
I have been blogging recently about trauma and healing, and the ways that I approach my own healing process. I’ve been writing in my journal, playing piano, and once again, have tried my hand at composition. The first time, as I noted in my last blog, produced a noise that I don’t ever care to repeat (though I’ve been told that it was in line with my particular emotional line that day). A couple of days ago, I decided to give it another go…but this time I came prepared.
And by prepared I mean that I had a friend suggest a key for me, so that I had a bit of ammunition going into my practice session.
I started with my regular practice agenda: scales, velocity exercises, and then a handful of pieces. In all actuality, I was stretching out the practice session to avoid the composition portion. That being said, I finished the practice and started the composing. For between 30 minutes and an hour I wrestled with the notes in the key of D Dorian, started through the musical maze, and eventually, emerged victorious. Here is where compassion comes in: instead of lending myself to the emotional process, I spent the whole time thinking about whether or not my piece sounded good, despite the fact that it is only 16 bars long and only had a right hand melody.
Tonight, however, that same friend sat down with my melody and in less than ten minutes, came out with a left hand for it. The funny thing was, when she played it, it actually had the emotional dynamics in it that I wanted. When I played it, it sounded clinical, must like the subject of a fugue. Even though I’ve played piano for 25 years, it never occurred to me to explore certain dynamic options…or any, at that. I was too preoccupied with how the individual notes sounded together and in succession.
What can I take from this? Instead of looking at the healing process as a bunch of single events in succession, I need to step back and look at the larger picture.