Thursday, July 14, 2005

The River of Feelings

This was the reading at last night’s meditation group from Thich Nhat Hahn’s book Peace Is Every Step. He says that we can use our breathing to be in contact with our feelings and accept them. He also says that if we face our unpleasant feelings with care, affection, and nonviolence, we can transform them into the kind of energy that is healthy and has the capacity to nourish us.

We talked a lot about strong feelings like anger and fear, realizing that the breath could offer us a way to deal with these sometimes overwhelming feelings. Matthew suggested an approach to anger whereby you simply wait a while to be able to discuss a problem rationally with another person. I said that my typical approach is simply to close down emotionally so as not to deal with it at all. Neither of these is exactly what Thich had in mind.

I expressed a lingering fear that I have about this trip to Chautauqua next week. I really don’t know how I will match up to the other musicians who are participating. What if I am the worst? What if I am the only piano player and they have no one else who can play? I have such a good relationship playing with Deborah. We have worked out how to make progress together. But I don’t know these other people. So I vowed to remember to breathe if I get in a position where I am feeling afraid. It will probably turn out to be so much fun that I will not even remember feeling this way, but right now I don’t know. My desire to play with others is always tempered by my fear of failure. I wish I had Deborah’s natural confidence!

I agreed to let Matthew and Sharon know just how it turned out at Chautauqua. We talked 15 minutes past our normal stopping time just because we were so much enjoying the conversation. I feel so at home with these people.

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