Monday, November 5, 2012

Happening across Happiness

“Most people ask for happiness on condition. Happiness can only be felt if you don’t set any condition.” — Arthur Rubinstein

His attitude towards music also seemed to be embodied in his general approach to life. A legendary pianist, he believed each performance should be something new, a process of discovery in and of itself, and often discouraged younger pianists from over-practicing. You don't want something to sound prepared and artificial after all.

To that I say: Fine. And you're a genius. Talk to me when you're a normal person and then we can have a conversation.

I do like the concept, however. For music and for life. Do your work, prepare the best you can, and then live and enjoy the moment.

Liking and applying a concept are very different things, however. Here in Russia I find myself constantly planning: for next season, for next month, for next week...heck, for my next SENTENCE! While this is not a Russia-exclusive behavior, I've decided that here it interferes more directly with my immediate happiness. Because it is SO not a part of the culture!!! They've clearly found their system that "works," but it's so far removed from my version that it often seems completely non-functional. (Which might not be totally invalid, but that is OFF topic.) But that system involves a lot of unknowns, requires extreme flexibility, and not always the product you expected.

Today, however, just happened. And quite happily. Which was a welcome breath of fresh air. Accidental happiness. No conditions set. And I wouldn't say anything extraordinary occurred. Just that the ordinary somehow had a different light about it.

I want more of that. So I'm going to continue to prepare, but I'm going to try to do so Russian-style. Which requires an immense variety of milk products, superstitions, warm beverages, and chocolate. (The latter may not have anything to do with Russia itself, but as it has everything to do with my experience here, it makes the cut.) And maybe a great deal more flexibly.

Here's hoping your week is filled with happening across Happiness!

1 comment:

  1. "milk products, superstitions, warm beverages, and chocolate"

    Ha-ha! You accurately describe the ingredients of "Russian soul."


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