I hope everyone is healthy and being as comfortable as they can be both mentally an physically. There's a duality of our current conditions as I see it and how being "uncomfortable with uncertainty" (Pema Chodron) is how I'm dealing with it.
In many ways my life hasn't changed all the much and yet it has changed drastically. Since I've been living in two places for the last five years, NJ and HI, my travels have made my life full of constant change. I minimize that, I regularly meditate. By doing that and feeling grounded, what I'm doing every month doesn't seem drastic at all because I don't think of it all at once. If I think of the impacts of covid-19 personally, on my friends, and on the world, it's overwhelming and terrifying. I think we can all agree on that. If I just focus on what I want my one day to look like, lockdown, health and projects seem very manageable.
Living the way I have for the last five years puts me in a bit of a bubble. I've had to adapt to keep up lives in both locations when I'm not in one of them. My husband and I have had online dinner/lunch many times to feel together when we have a long distance marriage. Many of my friends and colleagues have had to start online music lessons this past week. I had to start that five years ago. I've been very happy to lend a hand and offer advice and help people set that up. I've been using Acapella for duets with myself for the past few years too. It's fun and helps show people what you have been up to if you haven't been in town for a while. Now, it helps ease the lack of music making with colleagues. I think we are all starting to realize that is the most important aspect of our performance jobs. Getting to make music with others is a love, joy and privledge we are all craving right now.
Two weeks ago, many of my friends called and texted to see what I was up to, since I don't really keep a conventional schedule. Starting three weeks ago, I actually started watching a lot of news (not my norm) and contacting my friends in Italy to see what was really going on there. Before I left two weeks ago, my husband and I discussed the real possibility of me being in a lockdown that wasn't home with him. I had two great places to get "stuck" in both Honolulu and Tucson should it happen. So we weren't worried. But we agreed the best case scenario would be together! To alleviate that possibility, I went shopping for non perishables for him/us. Two weeks ago I left home on what was supposed to be a 4 week trip of playing concerts in two cites 2500 miles apart. Based on the news, I was probably coming home sooner. Three days after I left, the Tucson Symphony had to cancel and another 24 hours later, the Hawaii Symphony had to cancel. United made it easy to cancel my flights and rebook a new flight home to EWR all on their app without having to call and talk to a human. While in Tucson, I made the best of the waiting to see what would happen in Honolulu, I got to see an Ansel Adams photography exhibit, buy health supplements and ship to my husband, who couldn't find them at home any more, go on a beautiful hike with friends while staying with good friends and enjoying great conversation.
I got home last Sunday. Last week was about figuring out how I wanted to shape my time since I won't be going back to work anytime soon. This included a lot of checking out what's being offered on the internet. Who has a seminar, an online class to audit, a practice page, organizing quartets etc. Its amazing and yet overwhelming. I settled on a schedule for me. It includes the things I regularly do; meditation, yoga, reading, practicing, teaching, cooking, outdoor exercise and face timing with friends and family . A couple of adds: addressing some more specific goals in my practicing that include really working through some weaknesses in my playing that I can't do when I'm regularly performing. And I am taking an online class.
I really enjoy a slow pace of life. Last year I read a great book called Bella Figura by Kamin Mohammadi. It's a about a woman who leaves a fast paced life in London to write a book and live in Florence. She illustrates how her life slowed down and started really enjoying everything within a year. I've noticed in my life, my time in Honolulu is a much slower pace because I don't have a car. Taking public transportation there drastically slows down what you can get done in a day. It used to bother me but now I embrace it. I'm very relaxed and know I'll get it done eventually. There is also a mix of island time as well! Even though, I'm not flying anywhere for concerts right now, I'm content to stay put and enjoy this slow time and focus on staying healthy and projects. On the other hand, when the lockdown is over, I'll be so happy so see my family and friends again and make music in real time on a concert stage and feel Wheels Up!!!