overcoming fear

Go for it

Here I sit, surrounded by textbooks, paper rubrics, reading lists, and a 52-page teaching guide that I’ve compiled over the past several weeks. Can you tell I’m in the final week of writing a new course to teach this semester? It’s been a bit overwhelming at times. But, last week was very productive and I feel good about that. My class was assigned to a classroom in another building on campus – across the quad from the Fine Arts Building where I have been teaching (and will still be teaching this semester) and where my office is located. I’ve let myself get bogged down with worry: How do I get there? What does the classroom look like? What kind of technology will I be able to access? Will I be able to get in there with enough time to get everything set up before class? In addition, I’d love to have a piano in the classroom to use as a teaching aid and I knew that would only happen in the Fine Arts Building. Can you imagine? Talking about Copland’s “American” style and actually being able to play open fifths and octaves to demonstrate that signature sound. Then, I got an idea.

Why don’t I just ask to move to another classroom?

It couldn’t hurt to try. Go for it, I told myself. One email, one simple question. Within two days, my class had been successfully re-booked in a classroom with a piano in the building where I’ve been teaching (just one floor down from my office, in fact!). What a relief. . .and what a valuable lesson.

Why let yourself be consumed with worry or depressed by the dreams of “if only”? Go for it. Make the change. Ask the question. Run the risk. Take that leap. Make it happen.

Snow Day

"I want a snowfall kind of love
The kind of love that quiets the world
I want a snowfall kind of love
'Cause I'm a snowfall kind of girl."

-Ingrid Michaelson

It's the first snow day of the season and I am a happily-snowed-in girl at the moment. This is the perfect weather for writing and a good playlist. See what I'm listening to at the moment.

We have at least 18" on the ground now with more coming down each hour. Of course, snow bunny that I am, Steve and I were up and dressed by 8 a.m. We successfully dug the car out of the parking lot and made it up the mountain. Lifts were running when we pulled up at 8:20 a.m. or so and we eagerly changed into our boots, starting our first run by 8:35 a.m. Conditions were great and with the amount of snow still coming down, it was almost like cutting new tracks for the first few runs.

Today, I learned how to ski in heavy powder (the hard way). I confidently hopped off the lift on the third or fourth run and headed towards the black diamond straight from the top of the mountain. About halfway down, I hit a pile of powder and my skis just stopped. I, of course, tumbled at this point. Two more times on the same run, I found myself flat (think belly flop) with my skis bent over my head (case in point why I wear a helmet!) 

What is wrong with me today? I haven't fallen in over a year! 

My confidence was shattered and I began skiing with fear (i.e. not fully shifting weight, skis crossing, losing balance). We finally made it to the bottom.

On the lift again, I heard Steve say the words I was dreading, "I think we'll take that trail again." Obviously, I am not comfortable skiing in heavy powder yet, let alone on a black diamond - what are you doing to me! By the time we got to the top, I had given myself enough of a pep talk to at least start down the trail. What a striking similarity to performance:

I've performed this piece before and did everything right - no memory slips, complete control, focus, artistry. Suddenly, a new environment and the whole thing falls apart. Memory slip. Finger slip. Tempo beyond control. Fear.

Well, friends, I hate to admit it, but I fell on the second time down that trail, too. And the third. But with each frustrating misstep and moment of unbalance, I felt more focused and more determined to learn from my mistakes. With each uninspiring turn, what can I improve? How can I change my approach the next time? By the end of the morning, despite falls and fear, I felt a new sense of mastery. Today, I learned to hunker down and not let the heavy stuff hold me back.

Happy snow day, y'all!