"You are an incredibly cool guy."
How did he react?
He nodded. Grinned, tilted his head, and said, "Thank you!"
How did I feel?
Good teachers illuminate your path. Walking on your own you are never alone, because of them. Sometimes they hold your hand and tell you exactly which step to take. Sometimes they stand a few feet away, cheering. Sometimes they hold a mirror up to you and make you see: Your route is a dead end. And sometimes they know you are moving even when you don't.
Horst knew I was racing while I felt I was merely backing up. He believed in me when I did least.
Five years ago, during a jazz workshop, Horst instructed the band I sang in. With his long hair, his crooked smile and rollie between his fingers he radiated with music love. Always. Leaning to his base or hanging out on a chair there was at least one body part of his dancing to the beat. Sometimes his toes were tapping, or his fingers were snipping, or his whole body would sway from side to side. During solos he nodded after each phrase, focus all over his face. If he liked what he heard he would comment, "Yeah! ...Uh-huh! ...Cool!" If he thought there was room for improvement he would ask, "Could you play this one as a trio? And how do you feel about changing the tempo?" Always questions, never orders. Expressing appreciation, Horst saw our progress, not our flaws. If he played with us a rush of life entered our music. After our final gig he was proud of us while I was busy pointing out everything I sucked at. I was not in a good place. But because of people like Horst I realized that there was something to me. That maybe, after all, I was no basket case. Quite the opposite. He saw a talented girl, and over the years I've been discovering her, too. Thanks to encounters like Horst- and all the other amazing teachers and friends walking with me.
Two days ago I met Horst at my former musical school. They were hosting a jazz festival and Horst stood in a corner, a rollie in his hand, his head nodding, a subtle grin on his face. I recognized him the minute I saw him.
We talked about music. Free jazz: That's Horst's cup of tea. We agreed that, at the end of the day, it's about being in the moment, encountering others, speaking a language and finding a new one. Breaking free. Expressing. Feeling. Opening up. Letting go. Creating. And, more than anything else- Listening. "Open your ears!", Horst said.
I nodded enthusiastically, and realized: The moment. Encountering others, speaking a language and finding a new one. Breaking free. Expressing. Feeling. Opening up. Letting go. Creating. And listening- My four passions, Yoga, music, writing and being a therapist, they are all about all of these. One hundred percent. Maybe life, as a whole, is. These days, rather than hating myself after I sing all I aim at is one thing: To listen while I do. And enjoy myself, big time.
Thank you, world, for music. And thank you, Horst, for helping me to find that joy within!