Facing Life’s Changes With Resiliency
The other night I attended the performance of a Jazz quartet At “Freight And Salvage” coffeehouse In Berkeley. Mind you, Jazz is not normaly “my thing”…mainly in the sense that I’m largely “Jazz Iliterate”. I don’t know what to listen for, so I often feel that one “piece” drags on endlessly and pointlessly. However, I attended this particular Jazz performance with an out of town friend, who is a jazz lover, and long time studier of this musical form. My intention was to have an open mind to this particular experience, and I was looking forward to showing off a coffeehouse in “my neighborhood”. Here is what happened:
As I struggled to appreciate a performance that was initially foreign to me, (as well as overloud), I began to become acutely aware that my “jazz lover” friend was unhappy. No..it was much more than that…she was actually really angry. Ironically, I became aware of my friends dour mood just as I was starting to enjoy myself and pick up on the audience appreciation of the music. In short, I was movin and groovin to the music by this time. I was taking in the ambience in a musical land formerly strange to me. In contrast, my friend was literally “shutting down”. I was frankly puzzled by this. Did not my friend “love” jazz?. Did her pursed lipped disapproving look signal enjoyment? I thought not…but I was really confused by this turn of events
At the end of the performance my friend said to me , with great disapproval and disgust…”that was not what I was expecting!”
‘AHA…THOUGHT I, AT THIS POINT!…the lightbulb now furiously going off in my head..”Not what I was expecting?…there is your problem right there!. As my friend went on to critique the performance, mostly comparing it to “jazz greats” of the past, I just tuned her out as I realized a very simple truth. For me the truth is that we close ourselves down to new learning, creativity, passion, and joy when we cling rigidly to “expectations” of how things “”should” be. I literally saw this “closing down” happen in my friend. As we “close down” in such a way, I believe we are complicit in creating our own private hell, regardless of what environment we are in.
Myself, I’m grateful for my night at Freight and Salvage. I’m grateful on so many levels, not the least of which is to clarify my mission to help people out of the private “hell” we all create as we struggle through transition and resist change. What I realized on this night is that going through change successfully requires openness in ones world view. It requires a willingness to accept and embrace what is…right here and right now. This needs to happen even as we each mourn and honor that which has come before. I believe that the present doesn’t negate the past but rather enhances and builds upon it.
So, this is what I mean by resiliency. I see it as a flexibility in the ability to accept all of the past and all of the present…making way to move into the future with joy and gratitude. I hope I made some strides in the ability to do this myself a couple of nights ago and that I can help others do the same…blessings to you…Leslie Kays MFT