These last few weeks have been particularly busy. The start of the school year in this new totally online modality, the reimagining of workflow, the increasing demands for patience in this bizarre time of so much unrest and uncertainty can be exhausting!!!!
Our current domestic political climate and the important issues surrounding the upcoming national elections are also contributing to an environment which feels nervous, restless and unresolved. Everyday it seems, there is something stated or an action taken (or not taken) which stirs up the chaos. People are confused, angry, impatient and some are undisciplined in their actions and words. The effect is an overall feeling of “WTF is going on?”
It’s important to communicate with people whom you trust to listen, and to hear you. Sometimes it helps to talk with friends and /or loved ones. Taking the time to talk, if even just to vent, can help let off the immediacy of the steam that can build up inside you. Learning to listen and honestly take in what others say can also be cathartic. Engaging in conscious, spirited conversation about something you care about, can be enlightening and informative.
Being polarized by any situation to the point of no action towards resolution or change doesn’t serve anyone. To be honest, it wasn’t until I started taking a more active role and engaging with some of my creative friends and family, that I found out that I really was not alone in my struggle to feel motivated … to feel creative … to feel like doing much of anything. It was scary to think, that part of what gives me such joy and challenges me, was seemingly not all that important anymore. My usual “go to’s” weren’t happening .. Going out to hear someone play, playing concerts with others, writing new music, reading a good book, learning new tunes and pieces.. nothing seemed to be really working. I was managing .. but I was really in a creative funk!
My conversations with my brothers and sisters of the Composers of Color Collective (CCC), my engagements from time to time with my close friend, drummer Lenny White in his “Lenny’s Loft” Zoom conversations with jazz masters and young people, my one on one conversations with friends who were also experiencing their own versions of the “creative slump”, actually helped me get out of mine!! Playing some of our past works for one another, conversing on the state of the Art, sharing stories and talking about the other things in life that contribute to our wellbeing as artists and citizens really were helpful, inspiring and motivating for me.
I love people. I give of myself a lot to listen, counsel, and participate in positive actions towards perpetuating goodness and excellence whenever and however I can. But .. I also need nourishment and encouragement from time to time, too. It’s easy to become down with so much happening . The lives altered, the lives lost, the livelihoods in jeopardy, the craziness all around can be overwhelming. Finding the calm within becomes a means of survival . Some of that calm can come from talking … so communicate. Be honest, be open, be vulnerable. Be still. Listen, learn, feel . Every day reveals something that you can use to motivate you to keep trying to be your best self.
I will quote a dear sister friend, musician Terri Lyne Carrington, from one of her compositions:
Worldwide constitution must be established ..
Let’s start with
Doing your best , is a full time job. Keep on keepin’ on.