She called just as I finished balancing our budget. Just as I wondered how much longer we could last before hitting zero. Before going red. FaceTime—the screen, shaking. “Is she driving?” I wondered. Her face, gaunt, as she looked forward, over the steering wheel. Scared. “I hit a car… I don’t know how it happened. I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do,” she kept repeated.
The night before, my dad texted. “Grandma might not last much longer. Can’t get out of bed. Isn’t eating and drinking.” Video call—her face, pale. Almost unrecognizable. I can’t tell if she’s looking at the screen, though her face glimmers with recognition. “I love you, Grandma.” “That’s all I need to hear right now,” she whispers. “I wish I could come and play for you.” I want to play her off. I want it to be the last thing she hears before leaving her body. She doesn’t remember I play the piano, and I smile and cry at the same time.
That same morning, “slow waltz” came out. A joyful and warm reception. Encouraging words. Amazed something I created can be listened to all around the world. That even with all the unrest social media helps propagate in our hearts and world, it connects me with real people. People I now call friends, even if we’ve never met in person. Who if we did meet, I know we’d connect deeply.
We visited a Buddhist Sangha on a recent cold, snowy evening. They didn’t expect anyone to show. Then there we were were. All six of us, making up two-thirds of the people in the room. A twenty minute, silent meditation. With each slow breath in, the words let go kept repeating in my head. Letting go of specific things and circumstances. With each slow breath out, everything is as it should be.
Afterwards, someone shared this ancient Taoist story:
Once upon the time there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “Maybe,” the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “Maybe,” replied the old man. The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Maybe,” answered the farmer. The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe,” said the farmer.
Since then I’ve been meditating ten or so minutes each day. I figured if I can get through twenty minutes, why not ten? Why not let myself be still for just ten minutes before I hustle? Breathing slowly. In. Out. In. Out. Just being present. Observing my thoughts and judgments. Letting them go.
The album (to be released April 22, 2022) is titled “let go”. Maybe I’ve subconsciously been wanting to put into practice the soul of the album.
Things have been happening since then. The accident. (Everyone was okay, thankfully.) Grandma dying. An exciting job opportunity that came (and maybe went). Gratitude and encouragement surrounding the new tune. Sudden career direction. More patience with the kids. And through it all, a deep sense of peace and steadiness. A recognition of blessings. Friends turning the corner on a walk, just as we drove our smashed van home. Momentarily still drivable while the engine coolant slowly leaked. (The accident was thankfully just around the corner.) Hugs and an offer to use their car in the meantime. A gift.
Life is full of such miracles.