July 9, 2018
A sunny summer Sunday. A river. A canopy of green leaves.
There is a lot that I could write about this week. A fender bender that was nearly catastrophic. Affirmative and inspirational conversations. England making the World Cup semi-finals. Sometimes things resonate and sometimes they don’t. What resonates with me today is simply a sunny summer Sunday.
A canopy of green leaves.
This was my vision from the drum kit in Napanee, Ontario on Sunday. I was playing a matinee with Sarah Smith at a park in a quaint small town. You can see it pictured above. I posted the photo in black and white partly because that’s the colour scheme for this website, and partly because I want you to picture it in colour if you can.
Because I want you to take the time to savour the image. I want you to think about it. I want you to enjoy the view. How often do you do that? How often do you take that vital few seconds to just look and breathe and appreciate? I do this from the kit all the time now, though I didn't in the beginning. Sometimes I see two thousand people in front of me, which is an incredible sight. Sometimes I just see a little girl dancing or a group of birthday partiers making memories by the stage. One time I saw a huge mountain. One time I saw a big, open field, virtually empty except for a high school friend I hadn't seen in 20 years. Beautiful.
Sometimes I don’t see anyone at all. That’s a memory too. No matter what I see, the act of looking is important. Looking out at the audience – or the trees or a river – reminds me where I am. It reminds me of what a gift it is to play music. Which reminds me of what a gift it is to play with the talented people on the stage with me. Which reminds me of how dreams can happen. Which reminds me that I’m alive – the greatest gift of all.
Maybe you don’t play music. That’s fine. You don’t have to pause from stages to take in your surroundings and burn little miracles into your memory. Wherever you are right now, just take a second to look at the picture. If you go somewhere special or if you just see a pretty flower, stop and take notice. Don’t take a photo all the time. Don’t snap a copy of an experience and put it away to not be looked at later. If you’re with the people you love, take a mental photo. If you’re in a beautiful place, take a mental photo. If you’re seeing something profound, take a mental photo. Enjoy the view. Let the experience resonate. Feel calm. It’s good for your soul in the moment, even if the memory is fleeting.
It’s a cliché to say that life goes by fast, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Everyone’s busy. Everyone’s looking at the next thing, the next task, the next day. As a musician, it’s easy to get on a run of shows and lose yourself in all of the details – travelling and setting up and finding food and tearing down and loading out and driving. It’s easy for the shows to blur together. It’s easy for your whole life to blur together. Try to take a moment every day to just look around and appreciate. That’s what mindfulness is all about really.
A sunny summer Sunday.
A canopy of green leaves.
Isn’t this life an amazing thing?