Maria Skinner

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Archive for April, 2011

Charming me into the moment

What heals me the most about music is the journey that it takes me on, the way that I am led by the sounds into places in my soul that only music can touch. I have enjoyed music as a listener and as a dancer all my life. Recently, I have taken on learning how to play a musical instrument as well.  Two years ago, I picked up a guitar and decided it was time. I have an amazing teacher, Chris McDermott,  who talks to me a about the time and space relationship. The metaphor between making music and life is not lost on me. He reminds me of another great teacher, Carlos Rosas, who also talked a lot about time.

I once had a conversation with Carlos in a faraway Blue Belt about how I had realized that he & Nia had taught me to use my body as a musical instrument. I could feel myself playing the music with my body. Nia had taught me, via the practices of  doing 8BCs, the Art of Listening and the FreeDance process how to inhabit the music form the inside out. If I had to name the practices that I am the most grateful for receiving in my life, those would be the ones.

What I am learning now, as I endeavor to play an instrument that is outside of my body is that the same things apply in terms of practice and deepening and learning how to use my body to make the sounds that I want to hear.  Dare I say it’s “hard” to learn how to play guitar? I am not only learning a new language (music notation), but also how to use my hands, each in a different way and then putting it all together in time and space to make music. Sometimes it is a struggle at best. Why do I keep at it?  It  makes me feel alive is the closest I can come to for a reason.

What heals me about playing the guitar and what heals me when I listen to music in general is that I must be mindful and present to be with it. There are many skills that go into understanding music having to do with it’s many parts and styles music as well as the physical skills. However, the most important skill that music has helped me develop within myself is the ability to let go of one sound so that the next can delight me. In this way, music is my tao. It is a practice of time and timelessness, of receving in the moment something that can only happen in time.

Delight is at the root for me.

Delight: To take great pleasure or joy.

Delight comes from the Latin delcetare: to allure, delight, charm, please.

This is what music does for me. It seduces me into staying in the present moment, into staying with my body and this deepens my breath and my desire to feel. Music is both the metaphor for how to live life and reason why I want to be alive.The more I give myself to music the more I want to live. The notes and the rests. The silence and sound. The pulse and the vibration. The cycling of my breath. These are the simple components of healing in my life.

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