These past few weeks have been difficult and good. 

I gave over a music director job in Connecticut for Sweeney Todd I was jazzed for, because I realized, after a period of practicing the complex piano score, I would not have it up to par by the first two run-throughs so crucial to the success of the rehearsal period kick-off.

Upon admitting my failure to a friend – she claimed it a victory: I assessed the situation, alerted the director in plenty of time, and accepted the responsibility and outcome. That sort of victory is a hard sell for me – but I’m learning.

One of my jobs is playing piano for Dean College’s Musical Theater classes. I accompany several young artists in audition songs. One of yesterday’s songs was ‘Breathe’. In an earlier rehearsal the gal singing it subtly alluded to her complicated attachment to the song. I nodded lightly.

‘Breathe’ , from ‘In The Heights’, is sung by a young gal coming back to her old neighborhood where everyone believed she was going to make it big. She didn’t. She’s getting ready to face them and is reminding herself to just ‘breathe.’ Yesterday the Dean College actor broke down at the song’s emotional pinnacle moment. She couldn’t continue. Too close to home. 

This nearly sixty-year-old artist wanted to run over and say, “Do not believe the stories you tell yourself. Be exactly where you are at this moment and continue to do the best you can do and trust that the life you are building will be the right life for you. Please! Focus on ‘what is’ and not ‘what is not’ – because the first is so productive and healthy to focus on – and the latter so vast, unforgiving and relentless.”

Just breathe.