Monday, April 20, 2009
Uncomfortableness is a good sign. Being uncomfortable (in the non-physical sense) means that something is growing and making progress inside of us. It means we are allowing ourselves to FEEL, to taste, to be in forward motion, to live.
This past week I organized the "First Annual" Permian Basin Harp Masterclass. I have this habit of throwing myself in way over my head and seeing what comes of it all, and this event was yet another example for the books. Sometimes I stub my toe on the moon and sometimes I come out victorious. The idea of a music "masterclass" hadn't seemed to be too familiar in Odessa, and I had planned all of this with no expectations but also with very very high hopes that the harpists here could be touched and transformed by two special guests.
"You want to do what? Who?"
"Ya, so I'd like to have a harp workshoppy thing with my teacher from France and this other harpist guy from Mexico."
And what do you know? It happened! Elizabeth Fontan-Binoche and Santiago Morales flew in to paint the town red for five days and five nights, all because of this crazy instrument with too many strings. 15 young harpists from across Texas were present to soak in teaching, humor, and harp music. They visited my classes and were interrogated by my students. I am so thankful for these two; they make me a better person just by being near me, let alone a better harpist! Now I'm not the only one in Odessa who feels this way.
But an idea keeps lingering in my mind now that my guests are gone and the dust is settling- something blog-worthy. Here it is: it's all about being uncomfortable. Madame Fontan travelled countless hours to a foreign country to GIVE of herself and her experience as a harpist. Santiago travelled and managed to be here to GIVE of his heart and music. I didn't sleep for a week so that I could somehow GIVE this masterclass to my students. The students pushed themselves and mustered up their bravery to face new challenges in their playing and performing- to GIVE all that they could. I'm proud of us. A Man once said that we are happier when we give than when we receive. Giving is usually against our nature and quite uncomfortable, and being uncomfortable isn't comfortable. But giving invites happiness into our lives. I could feel the love this past weekend. I could feel the happiness in my bones by just sitting around watching people in this give-fest. Can I get a witness?!?!
My favorite moments in the masterclass were when Madame Fontan would go off on a tangent in the middle of someone's lesson. Not an angry, off-course tangent, but some story or anecdote that related to the moment. I usually lean in to hear what she has to say anyway, but when she starts in on some obscure thought (which isn't at all obscure), brace yourself for a profound message encapsulated by humility and love. Good stuff. Really good stuff.
And who knew Madame Fontan likes horchata and mariachis!?!