I Am Grateful For This Life
I’ve been so busy this Summer and Fall editing Danny’s book The Mercury Diaries, getting it ready for publication, that I haven’t had time to blog much and catch you all up on what’s been going on for me.
This has been a really fun year. Over the summer, on a lark, I joined a Rock Band Boot Camp in my town. My friend Paul suggested it. He had never played the bass before, and I had never sung with a band, but it sounded like so much fun to try it out, it really didn’t take much for him to talk me into it.
The Rock Band Boot Camp lasted eight weeks, and something magical happened over the course of those weeks. The five of us who turned up just to play at being a band for the summer really clicked. We became a real band. We had an awesome first gig as a part of our Boot Camp experience, and then we rented a practice space and now meet once or twice a week to work on new material.
The other really fun experience I’ve been having this year is my Enneagram teacher training program. Last month, I went to the Enneagram Institute for a weeklong training, and as part of the discussion of Type Seven: The Enthusiast, our teacher suggested that one of the things we could do to contact the positive energy of Type Seven in ourselves is to repeat the phrase, “I am grateful for this life.”
Now I’m not a big fan of ‘positive thinking’, I think it’s used to cover all manner of sins, but this was something I could genuinely get behind. Because I am wildly grateful for what I have today in my life.
Let’s just take last night as a random example:
After dinner, I walked from my house to the practice space my band rents in the old high school, it’s about a ten minute walk from my house. When I got there, we started working on a new song that our guitar player Ben suggested. I am always my own best advocate in brain-activity-heavy situations, so before we started, I made it clear to Ben that I wouldn’t be able to sing the song and play the unfamiliar chords on the keyboard. Not simultaneously, at least not until I’d had a chance to practice a lot at home.
But as we worked on the song, with just a tiny bit of coaxing from Ben, I found myself doing it: hitting the right chords on the keyboard, singing the right melody, reading the right lyrics off the sheet, doing it all at once without smoke coming out of my ears. A tiny miracle moment brought to my band courtesy of my post-mercury-detox brain.
When I think about it, another miracle followed when we were done practicing: we stood around planning when our next two gigs should happen.
Let’s think a minute about where I was four years ago, literally in the middle of my two-year mercury detox.
If you’d said to that 2008 version of me that I would one day in the not-so-distant future stand around casually discussing doing a gig as the lead singer in a rock band, I would have laughed in your face!
Impossible! Rock stars have to stand up for the whole of their performance! They have to memorize lyrics! They have to sing with vigor without becoming lightheaded! They have to communicate in non-verbal ways with the musicians in their band! They have to manage stage fright! They have to have a stage presence that is coherent and lively enough to be placed in front of an audience! And most impossible of all, they have to have enough extra energy lying around in their days and weeks to burn it up in all of the endless hours of rehearsal that precede a show!
Four years ago, none of this could have happened. My imagination couldn’t even encompass the kinds of things I’m doing today. Frankly, I would have been happy with the idea of being able to walk ten minutes to the practice space and back again without collapsing in exhaustion afterwards.
I can’t believe how much I have!
I have a brain and body that are not only healthy right now today as I type these words. They’re so healthy, I can bank on them to perform optimally on any given day in January when I’m required to give a full-on rock star performance. And I can bank on them to perform optimally at all the two- or three-hour rehearsals that will happen between now and then.
It’s a goddamn miracle.
So yes, I am grateful. Grateful for the people in my life, the wonderful things that surround me, the pets, all of nature, fun times, community, music. But most of all, I am grateful for my detoxed mind and body that let me really be here for all of that.