What Can I Do?
During this trying time of Coronavirus, so many of us ask ourselves, how can I be of service, right now? Some people are jumping into action and guiding those who feel helpless or hopeless. Some are feeling extreme grief and overwhelm and maybe aren’t feeling in a position to be of service, yet. I believe that if you really look for it, there are small yet impactful ways that each of us, regardless of circumstance, can show up and serve others.
What does in mean to “be of service”? We can show up for the world in a myriad of ways. Some people serve through their occupation or skills, some serve through their community or their family, others serve simply through their calm and comforting demeanor (also known as their “energy”), and some serve through a unique combination of these things. Some serve simply by lending an ear to a loved one who is hurting, or digging deep to find compassion for your child that you are with 24/7, rather than reacting with frustration. During these difficult and confusing times, so many of us are asking ourselves what we can do to help.
People are showing up in beautiful ways and contributing their unique gifts. Famous musicians are doing impromptu live videos, uniting and exciting fans from around the world. Not so famous musicians are doing the same. Piano teacher Stephen Hughes has donated his skills and expertise to train piano teachers how to suddenly be able to teach their studio online. Illustrator Mo Willems has posted a daily video where he teaches the world how to draw his imaginative characters. Some neighborhoods are organizing sweet activities like putting stuffed animals in the windows in order to give children something to hunt for during family walks.
Amidst all of the tragedy including loss of lives, loss of income, anxiety about where we are headed next, and unknowns about how long this pandemic will last, there is something tragically beautiful about this unsettling moment in time. It is highly unusual to have the whole world stopped in their tracks at home (not including those who must serve as health care works, delivery workers and grocery store clerks, to name a few). We are all unified, sharing a common experience, with time on our hands to connect more with loved ones and to possibly reassess our own status quo and question if there are any changes we want to make in our lives when life resumes to normal times. It is also a time that has brought about an enormous amount of generosity, gratitude, and selflessness.
Gratitude is in full effect, like never before. When we come out of this, we will fully appreciate face to face time with loved ones, the freedom of coming and going as we please, the pleasure of eating in a favorite restaurant, and the soul lifting experience of attending a live performance. We will not take for granted how fortunate we are to obtain any sort of household supply and ingredient that we could imagine. Even the appreciation for the sunshine and birds singing have intensified for me. A few mornings ago, I had a stare down contest with a squirrel from my kitchen window. I had nowhere else to be, so I decided I might as well interact with a backyard creature. I found it quite entertaining. My daughters joined in on the fun and we shared a good laugh together. This helps balance those times that are more trying. We are in a time of deep appreciation for the little, simple pleasures in life.
Lately, I have been thinking about how I can over-deliver for my clients. I had a week of spring break scheduled and I offered piano lessons that week at no extra charge, since clearly, I had nowhere else to be. Every single student took me up on the offer. I think we both looked forward to having something scheduled in the day- a precious time where we can connect and express music together. I offered a Little Gems for Piano sale and discounted the unlimited digital downloads for the first (and most likely last) time. I have posted more videos than usual, displaying my “Musical Meditations” where I improvise with no prior thought or intention. I have also been recording pieces from my upcoming album as a way of entertaining and engaging people. It is so gratifying to hear people from around the world comment about how the music soothes them or brings them out of a dark space.
I am also trying to be a positive light for my family. There is no doubt that this can be a challenging time for parents who are suddenly thrown into homeschooling while working from home. There are some moments where I feel extreme sadness for my children. I feel sad for their loss of time with friends, missing out on after school activities, and don’t even get me started about how I feel seeing the playgrounds covered in yellow caution tape, or seeing their teachers wearing masks and gloves while handing me school work. Through this sadness and frustration, I am trying to keep our home life as positive as possible.
These are simple examples of how I choose to serve- through my expressive teaching, my inspiring compositions for students, choosing to parent in a positive way (when I’m able to control my reactions), and through my uplifting (hopefully) performances. I am grateful that I am able to do all of this, from the comfort of my home. I know many people are not as fortunate to be able to continue their work, and my heart goes out to them.
Serve, Appreciate, Share your Gifts, Repeat
I truly feel that we will all emerge from this with a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation for the simple pleasures in life, as well as a renewed, energized passion for sharing our unique gifts. If you feel comfortable, please share how you have been of service, even on the simplest level, and how this unusual time has shaped your perspective. Here is a “Musical Meditation” to *hopefully* bring you a few minutes of calm and peace.