Integration

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As filled with chaos as my life has been this year…the sorrow, grief, loss, fear, anxiety, uncertainty, and frustration…the one thing I always knew for certain was that something wonderful was taking place. I had no idea what the outcome would be…I still can’t say with certainty what the outcome will be. But, I’ve always known that life as I’ve previously known it was saying good-bye.

One amazing side effect of all of these shifts and changes in my life is that of integration. All of the pieces of myself that I’ve left in various places, with different people, kept hidden from certain groups of people…all of those pieces no longer wish to be separated or differentiated. It is time for all of them to come together in a unified human. Not in the old ways as the pieces once fit together, but rather, in a new unknown configuration. As each little piece falls into its perfect place, I watch in awe and amazement…acutely aware that some greater force is undoubtedly orchestrating this entire metamorphosistic process.

Last night, I realized that this blog is also asking for integration. I spent many hours trying to figure out how to keep this blog as it is…I like the safety…the anonymity…the premise…the wee collection of posts. Was I really ready to reveal myself to the world and let the world fully embrace all that I have to say and share with the world? The more I contemplated this, the more it became quite clear that despite the twinge of sadness, the answer was yes.

So, this will be my last post on this particular blog…to be continued in a new one that integrates all the different pieces of me in one place. Eventually, I hope to pull all of these posts over to the new blog so that there really is a continuity of experience for those who will need it in the future.

For you who have shared the journey of finding my voice and traversing the cocoon, thank you for your support and  companionship. I hope that, should you feel called to continue with me in this next phase of my life, you will join me at http://gyselagervais.wordpress.com.

With gratitude,
~Gysela

 

Tenderness

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This last Sunday, I performed for a church service. 

This isn’t the first time I have done so, and I’m certain it won’t be my last…I’ve been performing since I was two years old. However, this time, I wasn’t prepared. 

Lately, I’ve been writing my own music…or arranging my own music. Either way, it’s not just a simple task when someone asks me to play…which is fine, because I really enjoy writing music. I usually go into a few days of meditation until inspiration strikes and then I begin writing. Depending on the piece, one arrangement can take anywhere from four hours to a week to write. I had a month…plenty of time. And, I was excited because this particular Sunday’s pieces were to celebrate Love. I quickly found the pieces I wanted to perform and set to arranging them.

Then I was blessed with several other opportunities to play during Christmas week, and suddenly I was swamped with writing music, traveling to rehearsals, rehearsing, and then performing. The pieces for Love Sunday had taken a back burner, and I quickly realized that I now only had a week to finish them and rehearse them with my accompanist. After a few rehearsals, it was clear they weren’t going to go well, but it was too late to pick other pieces. By the time Sunday morning arrived, I was exhausted…and ill tempered due to my lack of preparedness. 

As I sat in the church amongst the other musicians performing for the carols and hymns, I felt anxiety rise within me. I turned to the musician to my right…a dear friend from music school, and an amazing musician.

“Do you want to do the solo numbers?” I asked.

“What?” he asked, surprised.

“Please?!” I pleaded.

“Why?” he asked.

“I’m just not prepared. I haven’t practiced enough, and the pieces are filled with flubbed passages.”

He thought for a moment, then offered, “How about I do a drone and dance a jig to distract them?”

“That would be great!” I replied, and couldn’t help but giggle.

Just then, one of the musicians passed a bag of spearmint candy. I absent-mindedly passed it on to my friend on my right. He took it, looked closely at me, and asked me if I wanted one. I politely declined. It was time for the prayer.

I closed my eyes, grateful for an excuse to meditate. I began yoga breathing: four counts in, hold one, four counts out, hold one, four counts in, hold one, four counts out, hold one… As I started to calm down, and began to think more clearly, I remembered some energetic protocols and did some energy work on myself. It took a bit of time, and I expressed gratitude for such a long prayer. By the time the prayer ended, I had come to a place of acceptance of my flawed performance that lay in front of me.

When I opened my eyes, I looked at my music stand in front of me. Tucked into the right edge of the music ledge was a little green spearmint candy. I looked over at my friend, his trumpet already up, ready to play, his eyes avoiding mine. 

“Thanks,” I whispered.

“I didn’t do it,” he feigned, then grinned shyly. 

Then I realized that in my pursuit of perfection I’d forgotten that it didn’t matter if I performed flawlessly…all that mattered is that I played with heart and tenderness.

Thank you friend for your tenderness.

Thank you for reminding me.

Gratitude Journal Entry #26

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Tonight, I’m grateful for easily awakening and having ample time to groom and dress before my appointments.

I’m grateful for starting out my day with a visit with my hair stylist, the amazing Fabian. I’m grateful that my next stop was with my amazing masseuse. I’m grateful that my heart is always soothed by her presence, and that my true nature bursts forth unencumbered.

I’m grateful for the assistance by a security guard who went way out of his way to help me find what I needed.

I’m grateful that the temple shop had the Hanukkah candles I needed, and that the price was so worth the drive. I’m grateful for such a beautifully clear day to drive around, and that the ocean insisted on sparkling and winking at me. I’m grateful for a delightfully peaceful and soulful lunch in the sun with a book next to a fountain.

I’m grateful for the energy and clarity gifted to me to organize the garage and sort the boxes for additional sorting. I’m grateful for another huge pile to be donated, and a big box to go to the specialized recycle place.

I’m grateful for fresh, clean, reverse-osmosis water.

I’m grateful for Shabbas candles that always welcome such a beautiful time of rest. I’m grateful for Epsom-salt-essential-oil-foot-soaks. I’m grateful for tea, crackers and Dutch cheese whilst soaking my feet.

I’m grateful for support.

I’m grateful for healing.

I’m grateful for purging.

I’m grateful for appreciation.

I’m grateful for safety.

I’m grateful for faith.

I’m grateful for trust.

I’m grateful for love.

 

Gratitude Journal Entry #25

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Tonight, I’m grateful that I found both pieces of music I need for my scheduled performances the week of Christmas. I’m grateful that the first arrangement is almost finished, and the sketch for the second is outlined.

I’m grateful that my simple arrangements of two Christmas pieces for one of my piano students went easily and that they are finished and ready to print for his next lesson. I’m grateful he’s so motivated to learn these pieces that he asked me to “fix them” for him. I’m grateful that I have the tools and skills to be able to do this for him.

I’m grateful for the yummy lentil stew I made, and that it went so well with the left-over cornbread. I’m grateful that there was plenty left over to share with a farmer and my acupuncturist. I’m grateful that in giving the farmer the stew out of my abundance, he surprised me with a massive bag of fresh mammoth basil.

I’m grateful for a clean kitchen and empty trash bins. I’m grateful for continuing energy to sort through closets and craft supplies. I’m grateful there is now another large pile to be donated. I’m grateful there’s a large pile of books ready to be donated. I’m grateful that this chaos indicates order is coming. I’m grateful that there is a plan to put things into order again soon.

I’m grateful for piano time with Mozart and Chopin.

I’m grateful for a heating pad and a snuggly kitty.

I’m grateful for abundance.

I’m grateful for sharing.

I’m grateful for the blessings that return a million-fold.

I’m grateful for purging.

I’m grateful for endings.

I’m grateful for the impending beginnings because of the endings.

I’m grateful for compassion.

I’m grateful for tenderness.

I’m grateful for gentleness.

I’m grateful for love.

 

Gratitude Journal Entry #24

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Tonight, I’m grateful for a lovely walk around town as I ran errands this morning. I’m grateful for sipping fresh, organic juices from my local health food store as I ran my errands. I’m grateful for finding some waterless shampoo so that I can clean a 4′ teddy bear to give to my favorite library patron for Christmas 🙂 I’m grateful that I found/accomplished all that I needed on my errand run and was home by lunch.

I’m grateful for a delicious lunch, followed by going through more stuff from the garage. I’m deeply grateful that my emotional attachment to things from my past is waning significantly so that it’s easy to let it go. I’m grateful that a family who has no money for Christmas this year asked for craft stuff for their little girl. I’m so grateful that I have so much of it to share with her. I’m grateful that while sorting through my abundant craft supplies, I was able to remember with so much happiness all the things I created with all of these things, and all the friendships and memories shared with people I love so much. I’m grateful that this inspired Mom to start going through her supplies as well, and that it feels so good to let go of things I no longer need.

I’m grateful for my piano students who always have so much to teach me.

I’m grateful for abundance.

I’m grateful for sharing.

I’m grateful for hugs.

I’m grateful for flow.

I’m grateful for tenderness.

I’m grateful for love.

 

Gratitude Journal Entry #23

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Tonight, I’m grateful for waking in the middle of the night to find kitty snuggled up and entwined with my arms.

I’m grateful for a beautiful drive along the coast, and easily finding parking in the abundant parking lots. I’m grateful that  the first 75 minutes are free. I’m grateful for the abundance of produce at the farmer’s market and the friendly people I always meet there. I’m especially grateful for the accordion and the didgeridoo providing me with excellent mood music. I’m grateful for the wonderful vendor who has collards…a green I have been craving for over 4 years. I’m grateful that I could be leisurely in my shopping and come away feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. I’m grateful that it didn’t rain while I was there, as that would have made carrying the groceries quite challenging. I’m grateful I completed everything before my 75 minutes were up.

I’m grateful for time and space to listen to music in the car and tone along. I’m grateful for the easy drive home in a warm and dry and well-functioning car.

I’m grateful for leftovers that made lunch easy to fix. I’m grateful for people in my life who are foodies too.

I’m ecstatically grateful for the amazing musicians, Asteria, that I discovered, and their generous permission to perform one of their pieces…along with a gift of sheet music.

 

I’m grateful for freeways, and for the amazing planners and architects in the 1930s and 1940s who created and designed the first freeway in the world…in Southern California. I’m grateful that the master plan includes additional freeways in the works…at some point.

I’m grateful for rainy afternoon naps and cozy crocheted snuggle blankets. I’m grateful for the layered fog of infinite shades of gray that cozies up to the mountains.

I’m grateful for peace.

I’m grateful for abundance.

I’m grateful for receiving.

I’m grateful for gentleness.

I’m grateful for love.

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