Spring is here, along with a new look for the web site! My deep thanks to Research Assistant Samantha Tai who really made this happen.
The new web site, and the onset of spring both have me thinking about newness in this particular moment of ongoing sameness, brought on by a global pandemic and 3rd lockdown (here in Ontario) that confines us to our house except for essential trips and exercise.
So I spend most of my waking hours in my little basement corner working. And while I do different activities through my day from teaching seminar courses to leading rehearsals to attending meetings to writing, it all feels indistinguishable over time. I’m in the same space and I’m doing it all staring at the same screen.
The very screen I stare at now while I type these words.
Same. Same. Same.
But there’s a strange little gift amidst the sameness if I put my attention to it: any variation, even the smallest of variations, creates some excitement, some newness. Just a little excitement, and stuff I would never have even noticed before pandemic life, but still: these small variations matter in these days with so little change, days that stack up to create a general feeling of languishing. When I conduct the virtual choir, I have to shift my desk around and pull my keyboard into view. Heading up to the kitchen to refill my coffee, looking out my little basement window at the maple trees during a meeting. Little changes.
These little changes create little shifts in my mind and spirit. And I am becoming acutely aware and attuned to these small changes, and beginning to implement more small changes with focused intention. This is largely thanks to Jennifer Moir, from the Global Music Department at Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, who (virtually) visited Laurier’s Faculty of Music this past term. Jennifer led sessions for our entire faculty on strategies to survive and thrive online, and these sessions help me draw my awareness to making practical, achievable changes more deliberately. And I mean small changes. Like, micro-changes.
Like going for a 5-minute walk up and down my street in between classes. Like shifting positions while on a video call so that I’m not always staring directly at the screen. Like taking five minutes in between classes to sip my coffee outside my front door. Super super cold, yes. Also invigorating.
And also some bigger changes. Like truly taking a break from screens—not just scrolling Facebook or bingeing Netflix when I’m finally released from hours of Zoom meetings. Instead going for a longer walk, or playing an instrument, or reading an actual book.
So here’s to creating newness amongst sameness. A new web site, and new little changes inside pandemic living that structures sameness into my days. What about you? I’d love to hear what strategies you are trying to invite variation and change into your days.