Sunday, September 21, 2008

In My Happy Place

Well if we were felines instead of humans I guess we'd purr when we're comfortable, when everything feels right. Lacking that anatomical function, we just sigh with contentment. Purrbox or not, we're in The Zone..

Strangely enough one's "Zone" seems to vary with the situation. At least mine does. At the Dentist's office, it's that spot on the ceiling. I find it and at least to an extent forget all about my teeth being drilled or scraped. At my daygig, it's fresh coffee and National Public Radio( particularly the classical music), and enough work to keep me busy until 4:30.

Actually, both these 'zonages' are similar in that they're both an exercise in focusing one's mind away from the situation at hand. Without the ceiling's point, the Dentist's office visit would be at the least uncomfortable and at the most a royal pain in the bicuspids. Likewise, the classical music fills the office void at work , provides a "sound bubble" I can work within.

As long as I can get in my "happy place", I can handle--well, at least two situations. The Dentist's office is a relatively painless experience, and the workday zips by before I know it.

When I'm not at work(or for that matter the Dentist's office)I'm a semi-working musician. I play guitar, both freelance and with my own group- a guitar bass & drums trio. It's all fun, particularly the trio gigs, of which we had one this past Friday. We had some very nice moments on this last gig, which definitely put us in the "happy place".

Funny thing though. It's a completely different kind of happy place. When you're playing music, the "happy place" is arrived at through everyone playing TOGETHER and thus directing their energies not at a ceiling point or radio show(which of course begs the question, 'why the %%$ is the radio on in the first place?!)but right into the music. You get to this happy place by being all the more present.

Yep. The real happy place is from something you love doing so much you lose yourself in the doing. Thank goodness though that we can build ourselves temporary structures like our radio shows and that spot on the ceiling to get us through the stuff we don't love doing.

Of course then you could say, 'well you should approach every task in your life as something you love doing, and therefore always be in a happy place'. Then I'd say, 'sounds good on paper, but unfortunately some things in life still don't quite give you an erection(or the female equivalent) no matter what'. I'll take my NPR radio shows and Sudoku puzzles and whatever else gets me through the day(whether or not tooth-drilling or cleaning is also scheduled)until I can pick up the guitar again..

Then again, this is spoken from the perspective of someone who spends the bulk of his time working in an office, thus guitar playing never loses its novelty. If you play music full-time, it most definitely becomes a job. I know of one piano player who was spotted reading a book while playing a gig! Guess they were finding their "spot" somewhere on the page...


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