Thursday, November 11, 2010

The once and future student



Anytime I learn anything I don't already know, I'm happy. I'm sure that in some way or another, studying (anything) creates a neurological sparkle, a twinkle inside the gooey mass of my brain. Learning is pleasure, it really is. Oh yeah.

Lately I've been remembering, with immense gratitude, the great teachers I had when I lived in San Francisco. The 80's and 90's were a golden era there for those of us interested in studying the subtle arts. I learned to meditate from Jack Kornfield, studied shamanic healing with Vicki Noble, took classes in storytelling from Angeles Arrien. During my tenure with Reclaiming, I studied with spectacular teachers from whom I learned, among many many many other skills, how to groom energy (both my own and the energy of groups). I'm still so good at grooming energy that I'm told I radiate a sense of peace and hope.

Wow.

I'm anything but peaceful on the inside - but how cool is it that my energy "reads" as peaceful? Very cool, if you ask me. My San Francisco teachers were (and are) top notch.

Fast forward to a few months ago. I loved studying the bass guitar, I did. I learned so much about so many things from that experience. Not only do I now hear bass lines in every piece of music I listen to, but suddenly I am really interested in drums and drummers, something that never caught my attention before.

As for the bass itself, well ... trying to play made my left hand cramp, something that I can't work through since I use my hands in my profession. Also, it wasn't fun. I loved picking up the instrument, I loved how I felt holding the bass, but the playing part just didn't work for me. OK. I gave it a go, and I'm so glad I did, ah but it was not meant to be. The idea of me as a bass player in this reality? Just one more thing I can put into the metaphorical holy compost bin. Onwards and upwards!

GRATITUDE TO OLD TEACHERS

When we stride or stroll across the frozen lake,
We place our feet where they have never been.
We walk upon the unwalked. But we are uneasy.
Who is down there but our old teachers?

Water that once could take no human weight-
We were students then - holds up our feet,
And goes on ahead of us for a mile.
Beneath us the teachers, and around us the stillness.

--Robert Bly



It really looks like this right now on Capitol Hill. Spectacular!

15 comments:

ellen abbott said...

nothing ventured, nothing gained. and now you have a greater knowledge and appreciation of music. Sounds like a win to me.

Reya Mellicker said...

Yeah, and a relief to back slowly away from the bass guitar!

jeanette from everton terrace said...

Your fall colors are sublime. While I was reading your post I was thinking "yes it's about the journey not the destination" and then I heard a little whisper in my head say "there is no destination" - don't know, haven't analyzed, just letting you know what's going on over here while I read your educational post.

Cyndy said...

I am so glad you gave the bass a try because I got to meet you in the process! I was really sad that bass playing didn't work out for you, and I've actually been thinking to myself for the past month "Reya could play drums!" There wouldn't be the same issues. And I think most bass players have a secret desire to play drums. I know I do. Maybe one day...

But you can do it now!

debra said...

have you read The Music Lesson, by Victor Wooten?

Liza said...

I couldn't say it any better than ellen abbott!
win, win!

Reya Mellicker said...

I haven't, but apparently I should. Thanks, Debra.

Cyndy I'm so glad I got to meet you, too! Hoping our paths cross again and thanks for suggesting the drums. I've tried playing hand drums many times. I took doumbek lessons for about a year once upon a time. I'm not a drummer, sadly. But I'm INTERESTED in drummers and drumming now in a way I never have been. Very cool.

willow said...

I like how you jumped into the bass thing with gusto, then gracefully stepped out. It's how we should taste life.

Dan Gurney said...

Well, if the bass wasn't fun, have a peek at a ukulele. Ukuleles are FUN. Ukulele players help each other and like to play together..... check out the new video (not yet on Netflix), "The Mighty Uke."

Gary said...

Sorry to hear about your hands cramping but your perspective is wonderful.

Pam said...

Those trees in Capitol Hill are really something! Never mind about the bass Reya - it's been interesting following your aquaintance with it - bit like speed dating with musical instruments - time to appreciate the good qualities and move on to the next, hoping something will click!x

Reya Mellicker said...

Pam it definitely was like speed dating. How funny.

steven said...

reya - i was thinking about you and the bass and i'm so glad that like all stepping stones it has led you into another part of the garden! i notice that people assume picking up a tool has to involve mastery of the tool and then a deep facility with it! not always so say i! i say the instrument or tool will speak to you. listen really carefully and it'll either hold you close or tell you about the next safe house along the way! the trees in dc are rockin'! ours are bare spindly inkblots now. holding their green flames deep inside. steven

Reya Mellicker said...

The bass definitely spoke to me, rather harshly, at least it seemed to me at the time. But I'm on to the next big thing, oh yeah.

Barbara said...

the bass guitar is difficult to play. If you are hearing the bass lines and interested in the drums as Cyndy said why not try the drums? They are a lot of fun to play and not so hard on the hands. Great physical exercise too, once you get going that is...

Peace!