Saturday, December 10, 2011

Old Beginnings

I'll be honest; it has been some time since I practiced regularly. My last regular lesson with Michael was in June, and after I got back from the monastery, I wasn't playing that much. I did play shakuhachi as part of the Zen Arts Ensemble with theToledo Zen Center in October. We performed at the Toledo Museum of Art and it was beautiful.

A number of things are coming around these days that are pulling me back to spend more time with the shakuhachi...

Although Christmas and New Years are often the peak of family get-togethers for the year, I take much of my seasonal joy from moments of quiet introspection. I guess it is my favorite part about winter. The world can become very quiet. That silence draws me back to the shakuhachi. When I am playing, the silences and in-breaths are as much of the moment as the notes, both hit and missed.

I have felt scrapped thin lately. Shakuhachi is a spiritually nourishing practice, and I need some of that right now.

My Zen community will be conducting its first Ango this winter. I don't know if art practice will be a part of it, but I will be making it part of my efforts.


We are just finishing our recovery from flood damage in our basement from this past summer, and I have not found my Shoden Level 1 book, but I had some PDF's in my lesson book and I sat down to play today.

My breath is short, but it always was. It will take work. I don't expect to be where I left off, and I have not tested the full range I was working on last spring, but I was able to play my first 6 folk tunes with ease. I didn't miss any notes, but some parts were not as full as they could be and I am sure I was a little flat.

I keep good notes from my lessons, so I'll start there. In the new year I plan to start up lessons again with Michael on Skype.

My holiday project will be to record the songs I wrote this past year.

Here's to a wonderful holiday season.

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