There’s an old broken piano keyboard in someone’s pile of junk out in my street, waiting for the garbage truck. Most of the keys are bent and some have broken off. It’s looking pretty forlorn…
Have you ever felt a bit like that sometimes?
Like some of your keys have gone missing somehow.
Or some of your strings have been busted.
Or you’re just generally out-of-tune; neglected; broken.
Maybe at times like those it’s been tempting to just give up and wait for the truck…
But maybe there’s another option, too?
For perhaps it’s also important to remember the parts that remain.
To see the value of the pieces you’ve kept as well as those that are lost or damaged.
The present as well as the absent.
So even if you’ve felt damaged or broken by circumstance lately, and you can’t see the way back to repair just yet, maybe it’s still possible to play some music in your life… just as you are.
Granted, it might not sound the same as before.
But maybe improvising with fewer notes can actually bring new possibilities, new creativity, new sounds.
Perhaps, as Susan Murphy Roshi notes:
“Somehow, profound limitation
is a doorway
to boundless freedom.”
These strange gifts in the limitations are what always struck me about other creative pursuits, like photography and writing, too. Black and white photos are so evocative precisely because of what they’re missing (colour). And editing (sometimes losing great chunks of writing) makes a piece really shine.
So can working with limitations and loss also harbour unexpected gifts like this on a more intimate level?
But perhaps this Sufi saying captures the essence of it:
“When the heart grieves
for what it has lost,
the spirit rejoices
over what it has left”
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