Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Acceptance

Making music from my heart

Last November I gave myself a 75th birthday gift – a piano coach! So here’s an update on my progress so far.

  1. I’m totally motivated to play the piano, though not the way I used to play it.
  2. Though I haven’t yet met with my new piano coach, I’ll soon begin working with him once a month.
  3. I’ve gone through most of my piano collections, have chosen five for starters, and am already practicing regularly from them.
  4. I’ve also been reading The Art of Practicing: A Guide to Making Music from the Heart, by Madeline Bruser. It’s phenomenal. Just what I need right now.
  5. Not surprisingly, my attitude toward life in general is changing, too. More from the heart, less from my to-do lists.
  6. My happiness/contentment quotient is on the rise.

Below are the five collections I chose for starters. I first worked with them in the 1950s when Mrs. Hanks was my piano teacher.

  • J.S. Bach: Two-Part Inventions, and The Well-Tempered Clavichord (Book 1)
  • Frederic Chopin: Preludes for the Piano (Book IX)
  • Felix Mendelssohn: Songs Without Words
  • Pianorama of the World’s Favorite Dances, compiled & arranged by Denes Agay for Piano

Here are three things I’m working on from The Art of Practicing.

  1. Mistakes (when playing the piano) are part of life. They aren’t the end of the world. Get used to them, and get comfortable with other people hearing you make them. I don’t like this, but I’m learning to live with it.
  2. Speed and agility will (or will not) come in time as my fingers are (or are not) ready. Forcing things, or assuming I can do now what I did 60 years ago) only makes things worse. As I already know. Sigh.
  3. Don’t get in a tizzy about speed and dynamics. Slow down. Ignore dynamics for now. Do what you can from your heart. Love the sound of each note and listen for the music within, not for what seems to be on the page in front of you. Trust your fingers to let you know when they’re ready. Magical!

Finally, I’m learning to accept the hands and flexibility I have now. This means some music I used to play is beyond me. No amount of forcing my fingers will guarantee the return of my youthful fingers. On the other hand, I just might be surprised down the road if I’m willing to take it slowly, without super-expectations.

Thanks for visiting, and Happy Wednesday to each of you!

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 16 January 2019
Image found at pinterest.com

Drifting

Drifting —
Her uneasy spirit
Ticks off tasks
And activities
Afraid of being alone
Doing nothing
Weary of running
All her life
Reluctant to stop
Or listen
For fear she’ll hear
Nothing
Though everything
Surrounds her
Longing to be seen
Heard and loved
Just as it is –
Just as she is

Rarely in my lifetime have I described myself as drifting. I was diligent, dutiful, loyal and above all, busy. I was also filled with fear, driven consciously and unconsciously by the need for acceptance, affirmation and love.

The cost I paid for this approach to life didn’t seem high until later in life when things began falling apart. In fact, I thought that by excelling I wouldn’t have to pay a cost. Instead, I would make for myself another life. A happy life in which I was accepted, valued and loved by others.

The thought of loving and accepting myself was foreign, if not evidence of a falsely proud heart. Whatever Christian Scripture means when it says we’re to love our neighbors as ourselves, it couldn’t possibly mean loving myself. Especially just as I was and am. Self-indulgence was like worshiping another god.

I tend to internalize my world. Partly because of my personality, and partly from leftover shame (never good enough). This means, oddly, that something as simple as sitting quietly, listening to whatever I hear, feels dangerous. Maybe I’m not a good listener. (I don’t hear anything but my discomfort.) Or maybe I’m not as relaxed as I think I am. (My attention keeps wandering.)

Last week and this week I’m practicing doing as little as possible. I want to drift in a way that honors who I am. That means taking small opportunities to be alone with myself. Not to prove I can do this, but as a way of accepting who I am today, where I am, why I’m here, and loving what I discover.

Happy Monday, and happy drifting!

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 4 June 2018
Photo found at salainart.blogspot.com

autumn elegy

spent oak leaves
spiral to the ground
dancing a sad song

Today was dismal and gray. Rain coming tonight, followed by a fierce cold front moving in later this week.

It took a while for this haiku to take shape. The sight of brown oak leaves spiraling down from their high branches did it. If an elegy were a dance, that’s what I saw as they spun slowly to the ground now littered with them.

I felt torn. The ache of falling leaves is inevitable. Yet it’s also beautiful and, in this case, graceful.

I want to be a graceful oak leaf, pirouetting to the ground—having spent all I have to become and live faithfully as the child of God I am. Not without defects, but content. Using the voice my Creator placed in me not to be silenced or hoarded, but to be heard.

This time of my life is filled with aching beauty everywhere—including yours and my own. Thanks for stopping by.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 5 December 2017
Photo by Joel Sartore found at fineartamerica.com

My life a ravel

My life a ravel
of tightly bound strands
resists sorting
into heaps of trash
or reusable remnants
for a waif
left numb and cold
by winds of
unrighteous judgment

***

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 11 April 2017
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Unravel

my heart skips a beat

my heart skips a beat
poised atop blossoming stems
ready to take flight
anticipation quickens
for this I was created

***

Turning words loose to go where they will
Clear about my identity and to Whom I owe my life
Introverted and grateful for it
Highly sensitive to winds of change
Sailing updrafts and downdrafts
Gliding and plunging
through the inexplicable logic of this universe
known only to my Creator
Taking an uncharted ride to places unknown
Giving wings to words

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 22 March 2017
Photo credit: DAFraser, April 2015
Longwood Meadow Garden, PA
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Acceptance

How am I feeling? | Dear Readers

winnie-the-pooh-quote-2

Dear Readers,
As you may know, one week ago I fell and fractured my left jaw. I was on my way to get a haircut. I’ve been at a loss for words. Last night I wrote this before going to bed. It’s my answer to the question everyone asks me–and that I ask myself. Read the rest of this entry »

My storm has passed

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My storm has passed
Vision returns
Uncontaminated by rage
Against what I cannot change
Lament descends

A comforting quilt
Enfolds my aching body
With sweet solemn sorrow
For what might have been
Now a mere shadow
In this dying day

***

About a year ago Read the rest of this entry »

Who’s the Boss?

There’s an old, old story in the Bible–the story of deeply rooted hostility between men and women.  According to Genesis 3, the wall of division between men and women goes far deeper, and begins ages earlier, than any other wall of division in the human race.  It’s deeper and wider than Jew and Gentile; deeper and wider than slave and free.

Esther 1 reminds us: The power struggle between men and women has ancient roots Read the rest of this entry »

I am still me | Dear Diane, . . .

She is adamant:  “I’m still Diane!”  It’s a theme in her life with ALS.  Getting it across costs her time and energy—well worth it from her perspective!  I certainly didn’t know how to relate to someone with ALS.  Diane brings us on board. Read the rest of this entry »

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