Navigating Change

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Guitar Case in Office

The last time I wrote I was just about to play for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, in Yuma, AZ.

The concert went very well. I had a great time playing for a wonderful group of people. I enjoyed talking with some of the attendees afterward.

And then, everything changed.

Perhaps one week later the COVID 19 pandemic began to spread. “Shelter-in-place” orders were given and everything ground to a halt. I had no idea how this little virus was going to change so many aspects of daily life.

For medical reasons, I opted not to play my regular gigs. Soon after that, I found it prudent to conduct all of my work related appointments via two way video conferencing. My life became a blur of work – home – work – home – work – home.

Of course, it could have been worse: At least I was still working. At least I HAD the option to work remotely. Others, including some of my children, were not so lucky.

While there is a lot to be grateful for, the routine soon became monotonous.

When we get depressed, we tend to stop doing the things we enjoy doing. This further reinforces the depression, motivating us to do even less.

Up until the concert at St. Paul’s I was very focused on recording and producing the CD. When that was done, I spent hours preparing for the concert.

Once the pandemic hit, most of my time was taken up with work. As a mental health counselor, I began to get a lot of requests for visits as people adjusted to their new “Normal.”

Whether I wanted to admit it or not, I was adjusting too. I found myself playing much less often than before. I was exhausted in the evenings and just didn’t have it in me to get up early to practice. I would play here and there, mainly on my late start days or the weekends. Not enough. Not nearly enough.

So, I decided to take the advice I had given to others.

To be happy in life, we need an absorbing, vital interest. Something we can focus on outside of ourselves. Outside of my clinical work, for me, this had been practicing and performing. From a behavioral perspective, I was engaging in fewer positive activities. This led to low mood, which led to less activity which led to . . .can you guess?

To break the cycle I took one of my guitars to my office. I decided that rather than sulk I would take advantage of the time to work on some new music. I had always wanted to work on some pieces by Franciso Tárrega that I thought were beautiful. Now I have lots of free time!

While my day job has become busy during this time, it has helped my mood considerably to able to take some time every day and just enjoy the guitar. One new piece has been added and two more are in “progress.”

I can’t wait to share them with you.

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