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How to in the now

Since the last newsletter my performance season has taken off at the strongest force. Last month alone I have been Calgary (Canada), Red Bluffs (CA), Austin (TX), Tehama (CA), and South Korea for my debut concert at the JCC Arts Center. Yet the most rigorous tour schedule just started a couple of days ago, which is the 17 city Midwest concert tour in 30 days. I will be going through 17 Midwest towns, driving 5-7 hours on average between the venues. As I am writing this I am waiting to catch a flight from the Chicago airport to Green Bay for tomorrow’s concert in Marionette, WI. This tour has been wild, raw, new, adventurous, demanding, challenging, rewarding, grateful, interesting, exciting, freezing cold, fun, homesick, and everything beyond that I can’t describe in words.


This is by far the most concerts I’ve given in such a short time. 17 concerts in one month? Can I handle this? When this opportunity was presented to me, at first I was hesitant as I sensed the physical and mental demand of the tour. I went for it as I was curious about whom I’d become after these performances. I was curious to know how strong I would become after this experience as a performer and person.


I am at the beginning of this tour, so I am not in the position to report how it has affected me yet. In the meantime, while trying to catch a breath between these travels, my main question has been “how to be in the present moment in peace and absorb all that happens in a given moment?”


As much as it may sound adventurous, it has been challenging for me to focus on being completely present in the now and enjoy every moment. I have always been on the go, getting ready for the next thing on the agenda. I find that the best self is illusive. One moment I may have it, another moment I may lose it. I have been experimenting with several things in this request that seem to be helpful for me.


Firstly I have been trying to do things in silence. I typically like to listen to podcasts, music, or YouTube videos while I get ready or do nonessential activities. I realized that I am used to having background noise while I do things. When I turned off the noise that made my brain work unconsciously, I felt more space in the brain and an illusion of a slower pace of any activity. A bit boring? Yes, but it helped me to be more conscious of what I was doing in the current moment. So that is the price I am willing to pay for now.


Secondly I start my day with 10 minutes of stretching or yoga before I check my phone in the morning. I’ve noticed that when I start a day with checking the phone first, the brain seems to work inefficiently even though the body and mind is not ready to be in a work mode. Even though just checking the phone for cute cat videos, the eyes and body suffer a bit, which affects the overall mood of the day. The best method for me was to keep the phone in the airplane mode and put it far from the bed while I sleep.


These simple yet powerful adjustments have been doing wonders this week. I am hoping that they will have compound effect on my search for being in the now peacefully and fully.


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