Thursday, January 24, 2008

Getting Back On the Bike to Do Scales

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Last weekend was the busy sort in which I had endured a lot of preparation and sweat to get myself into the proper zone, then poured ALL of myself into each event (thereby leading to grand success, but wait...), then collapsed exhausted in a pool of post-performance reflection. What a charge! I love it, but then, yes, I had to spend some time recovering... It was a little unusual to have two back-to-back. Two very different crowds. But anyway, I have been coasting the rest of the week. Sunday, I don't think I even got dressed-how sad is that? Each day I say, hmm, what do I need to prepare for tomorrow? So I've not been working ahead of schedule as I prefer. I suddenly realize that I have several projects that haven't gotten as far as I had hoped by the end of this month. Ach, darn.

I know it's a cycle. To expend so much energy for a big burst, and then crash to replenish, but I still have things to maintain on a daily basis. Yesterday I finally started picking up around the house again, cleared out the hallway and took that load of stuff over to goodwill, washed various things, cooked dinner, looked at (but didn't work on) upcoming projects, etc.

YUP, I have to get back on the bike and start pedaling, even when the rest of me is saying "huh?" Yes, "Do Your Scales And Persevere." I usually think of this as referring to creating art as an artist, but these days it's as much about keeping the ball rolling (or in the air) in the rest of my life. For god's sake, Don't Drop The Ball! :D It's very useful, this getting back on the bike to do scales. (Can I mix metaphors or what?!)

On the creative work side of things, it's useful to cultivate improv skills. Even today, I was supposed to meet someone for the first time and had received minimal info to go on. NO idea of their existing skill level or interests or goals, only age and gender. I prepared like crazy... then hours later thought (just before bed), yes, but what if they are a total beginner? ...And prepared some back-up plans for if I had to wing it. But then, I always end up winging it because you just don't know your student or your crowd until you actually meet them and work with them a little. So today was another opportunity to use some of what I had planned, but in different ways... and that's actually ideal! Adapt to the circumstance and ride with it! I get a charge out of that as well, and lots of ideas for my next plan.

Can a body and psyche adapt to adrenaline? I think so. It can be nerve-wracking in the beginning. Prepare, prepare and OMG what if I completely screw up and it all falls on the floor and urrrr--I look like an ass? And then one learns to think on ones feet: plan, adapt, change, observe, adapt... Then it becomes a dance, a work of mutual art of mutual benefit.

The first time, after the roller coaster ride is over, one is completely wired for a long time, and it fades very slowly, leaving one drained. I'm sure there are medical terms to describe how this impacts the adrenals (or in some kind of impact loop). Then as one gains experience and confidence and strategies for all those times one has to--quickly!--adapt, it becomes like riding the waves--still exhilarating, but more of a dance between yourself and the others that you are guiding and coaxing. It *is* like dancing. Somebody is nominally in charge, but ever-alert for shifts in the air, the need for micro-changes in direction and intensity, the plan held clearly but lightly... And the highs and the lows moderate just a bit.

Ah. Pause to replenish. Time to do some more scales.
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