Changing Seasons

I’ve opened my windows to the call of  birds who return this time every year. They are talking to each other and sound just as excited as I am for the change in season. I couldn’t name any of the birds I hear by their call, but I revel in the beautiful melody of their songs.  After living in New England for eleven years now, my body shifts with the waxing and waning of daylight. My ears have adjusted to the sounds that arrive and depart as the melting snow gives way to the fertile soil below, awakening from her slumber. Even the trees appear to stretch their branches from their yearly slumber. Small hints of pine indicate what we all know, Spring is on her way. 

I am a child of the south, a daughter of the Crescent City. When I was a little girl, in the rare event that it would snow, it was quite an event. Never enough to plow, let alone build a snowman and gone before the days end. But it always was a wonder. In New Orleans’ subtropical climate, we would get something like winter, but never what the Northeast has. Being a child who spent most of my time out in the thick of the humid New Orleans air, I never knew what it was to long for Spring.  It was always outside my front door awaiting me. But now that I live in New England,  I have had eleven years, forty-four seasons to take notice. To pine for warm air and count down the days until I can pack up our winter wears, open all the windows and let the first breezes of spring in. 

Copyright 2021. Gabrilla Ballard.

New month, New week, New Commitment

Today is the start of a new month and it’s a Monday. A good day to start something new. A good day to start a new practice, or to refresh a current practice you already have.

For the last two months, I have been writing every day. It’s a commitment I made to myself. No public announcement (until now). Daily writing practice is something I’ve wanted to return to ever since I took a month off of social media in the latter part of last year and wrote every day on my blog.

My current writing practice started small-fifteen minutes a day. If I chose or choose to write for longer, fine. If not, I met my commitment for that day. Eventually, my writing time increased to thirty minutes, sometimes more. And over the last two months, my writing practice has become something I enjoy and look forward to. That’s not to say that some days aren’t hard or sometimes I don’t know what to write about. Half the time, I think what I’m writing is not good. Then there are other days when I am in the flow. Fluid. In the pocket. But whether I feel lost or I feel like I know exactly where I’m going, I keep showing up. I don’t wait for inspiration. I only wait for my house to be quiet enough.

What I have discovered is that with commitment comes a deep satisfaction. It’s small at first, like the satisfaction you get from a small piece of candy. Then it grows. Because you work out the resistance with yourself. You don’t abandon yourself or your practice when things get hard. Because the good stuff is on the other side of that hard, seemingly unmovable resistance. And when you get there, to that other side and you do it over and over again, you develop unwavering faith in yourself.

My other commitment is to post here weekly. I think a few months ago I was a little over-ambitious in thinking I could post twice a week. Start small Gabe, I had to remind myself. That said, I hope you keep stopping by.

What are you looking forward to? What new practice are you working on? What current practice can you level up?

Have a great start to your week and month. Spring is on the way!

Reconnection: 90 Days of Consecutive Music

On today’s Full moon, I am quietly celebrating my 90th consecutive day of showing up for my creativity in the form of a daily music practice. As I continue my daily practice, I wanted to pause today because 90 days represents a milestone. When I first started out, I knew that my only goal was to show up,—be in 5 minutes or an hour.

Over the last 90 days, I’ve learned that I could show up for what was important to me even at times when I did not feel my best. When I didn’t want to. When I would rather watch another movie or sleep. When I had come home late from my first concert in over a year.  I showed up. And in doing so, some of the things I accomplished over the last 90 days has been:

  1. Taught myself how to play the ukulele
  2. Wrote 5 songs (including a children’s song. Currently working on a  6th as I type this)
  3. Started learning how to play the banjo
  4. Started appreciating scales
  5. Played my frame drum
  6. Got a lot better on the cajon
  7. Learned a cover song (“Swim Good” by Frank Ocean)
  8. Discovered some amazing artists
  9. Shared a song with a friend
  10. Refreshed my “old” songs

I intend to write more about this process and the insights that have come as a result, but I wanted to reflect a bit here since things have been relatively quiet on my website for a while. One of the most important things that I got out of this practice was that it created a container for me to process what the last six months has been for me. What being diagnosed with Lupus has been for me and my family. These songs are healing ones. On days where I felt lonely and sad, a song became a friend and lifted me out of the darkness. My depression has lessened tremendously and I feel motivated in ways that eluded me before I began this practice. I intend to share this music with you in the future. I thank you for being here. Happy Full Moon.