More about both/and than either/or...

It is fascinating the way calendars - and clocks - can focus as well as tyrannize our experience with time. Part of this sabbatical has involved a conscious withdrawal from both calendars and clocks. That has been so refreshing and liberating: mostly we do not plan our days. We get up when we are ready, we help Lucie take care of her business and then we see what grabs us. And with the exception of Jazz Festival concerts, we have not really paid attention to linear time.

AND... I have needed to reclaim a bit of order on each day and week so that I make time for serious practice. My goal is 90 minutes at least five times a week. Some weeks it has been more, but early on it was also less. So as I casually explored the calendar, it hit me: in order to make the progress I desire, I need to step outside of our easy frame of reference on a regular basis and step back into linear time. After practice, then I can let it go, but I need to consider what to work on during the time that remains. 

Once again I am struck by the both/and rather than either/or truth of my life: it is so easy for me to become obsessive and driven - and the sabbatical invites me to let go of time as a corrective. And at the same time, I can waste weeks without too much effort so the sabbatical has created this space and freedom in order that I learn to use time in a new. That is a valuable insight both for the time that remains and for the days after our return.

This afternoon I worked on scales for 20 minutes, then playing 3rds, 5ths and 7ths in a variety of keys before practicing a simple chart for walking bass in F.  At the conclusion of another 30 minutes, then I let myself play with creating improvisations in F using just the 3rds, 5ths and 7ths (plus the roots.) I've learned two things about my limited abilities doing this: 1) I tend to play ascending notes in my improvisations so I need to incorporate some descending grooves, too; and 2) it is totally fun to play all over the neck of this beast. As an accompanist, I tend to stick to the bottom half of my instrument, but as I become more confident of my intonation and awareness, I can zoom up and down and create some interesting sounds with octaves, 3rds and 7ths. Man, is that a gas - and LOTS more interesting for all involved, too!

Now that I am done practicing for today, we'll chat and figure out what else this day might present: both/and again, yes? Blessed rest and renewal as this Sunday unfolds.


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