Thursday, November 2, 2017

A Pocket of Peace

Once a month I play my guitar in the lobby at the gym where I go.  The idea is that going to the gym is "me" time. A place to decompress and unwind. I play in a seated area where members sit and read or wait for an appointment.  I am in the background but I also get to meet many people who come and talk to me and tell me how much they appreciate the music.

The other night, during my usual playing time I was suddenly surprised by very loud, rowdy music blasting from the other room. At first I could not figure out where the sound was coming from and I asked the woman on the couch, "Do you hear that music??" She smiled and said, "Yes it is from a beautiful woman playing the guitar." Then as the loud music continued, she realized what I was talking about.  It was from a new cycling class going on and I had another 45 minutes left to play in the lobby. What to do?!!

As someone with a severe hearing loss, loud music can be very debilitating to me. I wear a cochlear implant (bionic ear) and I am not someone who can just "tune out" or ignore any noise. All sounds in a room appear of equal importance to my brain.  Unlike many who can walk right by a leaf blower or floor buffer or vacuum cleaner and not flinch. Recently, someone said to me, "A noisy environment to you is a threatening environment. " Wow- did that hit home!  I was so glad for this insight because it made me see how much I become tense and even give myself a bad headache.

So here I was in what the old me would have considered a "threatening environment" -- the loud bass booming from the next room, the electric guitars blaring, the fast beating drums threatening to speed up my heart rate.  I stopped playing and went into the women's locker room to think of what to do. Should I tell them I can't continue? Then it came to me. No. I will not let the outside world dictate how I feel. I will remain calm and offer a pocket of peace amidst the loud noise of the world. We are living in harsh, frazzled times. I don't want to be a part of that rat race.

I went back to the lobby and took up my guitar and focused on the peace that the music I play makes me feel.  While I was distracted at times by the noise, I remained determined not to let it throw me off.

It was a good lesson for me and speaking of peace- the above photo I took is from the view at a nursing home where I play twice a month.  This view I love and it is views like these I keep amidst the ugliness we sometimes have around me.

Wishing you a peaceful and quiet day!

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