Christmas Day has come and gone, and I feel compelled to leave a few digital artifacts here before turning the corner into the New Year.
Increasingly my energy and focus are directed to work for Parks and Recreation. Yet other projects are always simmering and occasionally bubbling up. As I reflect on the past few months, I feel satisfied with what I have been able to do. My creative work now seems to be slowly transitioning to a hobby and away from a half-time job (though some gigs are still paid). There is a constant pull to want to do more, to go bigger, and to be better. That’s my professional conditioning, of course, which can either motivate me or make me feel unfulfilled. Artists of all stripes often find themselves in this sort of bind. We tie ourselves up in knots, and then spend hours meditating or working to untie them.
A big step forward this season was to rejoin the ranks of those who sing Handel’s MESSIAH as an annual ritual. I jumped into this as a volunteer to investigate a question–how does extended singing in a concert setting feel? It’s been a long road back from summer Covid. My energy flagged a bit in hour 3–MESSIAH is a long song! Yet I was pleased to discover that much of it remains in muscle memory. Admittedly, the more vocally challenging chorus numbers were not always effortless. But overall it felt fine, and occasionally even joyful. The Harmonia Orchestra and Chorus is a fine ensemble full of high-caliber singers and players.
I’m the leftmost singer in this photo.
Church music work remains a small but steady source of income. The hours I spend now in churches (and a Buddhist temple) have me living in mental landscapes of agnosticism and openness to surprise. Most of my work hours are spent with a progressive, undogmatic Baptist congregation that allows everyone to simply be present and open to possibility. My other haunts are two Episcopal churches that occasionally request my voice and skills when a regular staff member is unavailable.
A few samples from Advent and Christmas services.
The center of my work for Parks and Recreation has been Tai Chi/Qigong teaching with a focus on wellness. Many folks that come to my classes keep coming back. Clearly, we all are reaping benefits from a developing practice. And I now have a range of administrative responsibilities that add professional weight to my role as a Recreation Leader. (In the photo below, I am modeling a shirt with the new logo for Long White Cloud Qigong.)
(In 2022, I also acknowledge friends and teachers who aren’t featured or mentioned on this page. Grateful for them!)
And there is this when all else feels like too much or too little. (Green Lake). On January 1, 2022, I walked here for several miles. Barring terrible weather, I will do so again on January 1, 2023. And count every step as a piece of good luck.