Saturday, January 1, 2011


I have never been one to make New Years Resolutions. But I have almost always set goals for myself - generally five things I wanted to accomplish during the coming year. This list has been affixed to my printer lest I forget. I mark them off as I complete them. At the end of each year I replace them with the next set of five. These are all outward "things." Participating in Reboot's yearly "10Q" has helped me focus on some inward changes that I'd like to make. But none of these things are what I'd call resolutions.

One thing that has concerned me as 2010 grew to an end is to find the right balance between looking backward and looking forward. As I age and as I attempt to share my past with my kids and grandkids, I find it tempting to name my regrets and my disappointments. And in looking to the future I am tempted to focus on the uncertainty and the dwindling time left to finish making my mark. Neither of these - past or future - is where I want to be. So this has given me 2011's challenge: Find new ways to embrace "Now" - to do what I can with what I have and where I am. Which is actually where I should have been all along!

Today I took a first step, tiny though it was. Let me share it with you.

Because of some health issues, some mine and some my families', I have been sleeping very poorly at night. The doctor put his finger on stress as one of the reasons and prescribed a light tranquilizer for me to take at bed time. Did I sleep? You bet! I slept all night the first night, and then slept most of the next day. Night came again and I took half of the prescribed dose; that worked no differently; I slept the day away again. I stopped taking the medicine and watched the clock all night long. Worry and tranquilizers had pretty much done me in.

It occurred to me that somewhere in a storage box I had a relaxation tape that I used to play to help me fall asleep. I recently spent a great deal of time looking for an old tape recorder and earphones that I'd stuck in a box somewhere. And I never did find the relaxation tape. But it also occured to me that I had once used an audiotape of Faure's Requiem as a going-to-sleep tool and it worked every bit as well as the relaxation tape, so I found that instead.

I put the tape in the old audio tape recorder, put the headphones on and listed to that beautiful piece of music. Only it wasn't beautiful. The tape was monaural, not stereo. And there was way too much "hissing" on it. The clarity of music on CDs has spoiled us for ever using old audio tapes again. A few years ago I bought Faure's Requiem on CD but I needed a Sony Walkman CD Player and earbuds to listen to it in bed, where I hoped it was going to do me some good.

So today, January 1, 2011, I marched down to Target, picked up a personal CD Player with little earbuds, popped Faure's Requiem in it, and set it on my nightstand where it is waiting for evening to come. My intention is to lull myself to sleep listening to the most beautiful music in the world. I had to laugh to myself because the piece actually is a Requiem Mass, all about dying and going to heaven! Oh well.

So this is an example of integrating a little something of the future (a good night's sleep) with the present (the setting up of the equipment). As for the past, it has to do with the music itself.

The playbill posted above is dated 1955. My first husband and I met in the choir at Pepperdine, and our choir director played the violin in the orchestra that played for this event. He invited Joe and me to the rehearsals preceding this concert, and it was there that we were introduced to Faure's Requiem. We had copies of the sheet music and were able to follow along as the members of the Roger Wagner Chorale worked on this piece, which was just one of a number of musical offerings the Chorale sang for that performance. We grew to love it and knew it intimately. After we married we bought ourselves a LP record of the Requiem and at bedtime would set it playing...we called it our music to fall asleep to.

(Interestingly, you will note that in 1955 Marilyn Horne was singing with the Roger Wagner Chorale. She went on to become a famous New York Metropolitan Opera singer.)

So tonight I anticipate a great night's sleep, and if not, at least a good concert!

Also, because I'm not much of a TV watcher, I've decided that when I knit or cross-stitch (two more "nows" I hope to get back into sooner than later) I can do them with other CDs providing the background music - like some of Brubeck's jazz!

It was really after hearing Dudamel at the Hollywood Bowl last August that I really became aware of how much I was ignoring the music that at one time took an upfront position in my life. I'm counting this tiny little change as the first of my attempts in 2011 to better integrate the Past and the Future with the Now. If Jerry hears humming coming from the vicinity of my bed this evening, he'll know that its me, just making progress!

1 comment:

marciamayo said...

Bobby, what a great idea. I hope it worked last night.