This week, my piano moved out,
out of my living room, out of my apartment, and out of my life. For the last 25 years, this beautiful, shiny black, grand piano has been a friend and a symbol for me of a wish to create music. The thought of a piano began earlier, about 30 years ago, when my eyes slowly began to have problems with inner inflammation. I was told that I had macular edema in both eyes and the only thing that could help at the moment was a form of steroids, to be taken both orally and systemically, with medication injected near the back of the eye for a more concentrated effect. After a few years of monthly meetings at the doctor’s office, my eyes continued to deteriorate to where I was considered legally blind in one eye, with little hope for recovery of the vision in the other eye.
This is when I decided that I must take action to prepare my creative life for a time when I may no longer be able to see to paint, draw, make tapestries, or any other creative activity that was part of my daily life and that required seeing eyes. Determined to continue to learn, I built a library of interesting and educational videos that I would be able to listen to and experience life in another dimension. A piano, yes, I was going to learn to play the piano. When my deteriorated vision would prevent me from reading, I would already have learned the notes, the finger settings and a few music pieces that I could continue to play and enjoy for the rest of my limited-vision-life.
I contacted a wonderful tutor from downtown Detroit, who would come to our house once a week and patiently guide me through the process of learning to listen, and to bind the notes together, creating sound and eventually music. I wanted to learn and I wanted to be good enough to enjoy a smooth piece of music. Part of making music is of course to learn how to read notes, although I never became any good at this. And honestly, reading notes is still a struggle.
Then, Miraculously!!! The inflammation behind my eyes began to subside. Not only by itself, but also from the beautiful care I received from Dr. Paul Sieving at the Kellogg Eye Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Thank you Dr. Sieving for taking care of my eyes close to a decade and always giving me hope of recovery. And, it finally happened! Although I was left legally blind in one eye, the other eye now has close to perfect vision with glasses.
That was a long story to say that I am grateful for the piano to come into my life during a time of need. The need to keep my creative body and mind active, no matter what would happen physically or mentally. To allow for creative energy to move through our bodies, can have deeply healing power as it contributes to strengthen our immune system. Researchers from the last 20 years and more, of studies on the connection of emotion and immune system, agree that the internal feeling of connection to self is key for the most important factor of contributing to health and wellbeing. This is by no means new knowledge, but echoes the findings of both perennial wisdom and contemporary science.
Now, I no longer play very often, but find my creative outlets in other places. Therefore, I release the piano and thank it for the time it shared with me and send it on to its own future path and change in place. I pray that loving hands will play you and that all the little perfect hammers will once again come to their optimal fruition!
We all change, nature change, and so does the piano, a material instrument, which brings to mind one of the five Remembrances, that Buddha recommends that we recite every day and which has often helped me, specially in times of more painful changes than the separation from my piano:
“All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.”