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Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I've been thinking about this for awhile. In our musicology department we talk about boundaries a lot. No, even if you're up at 2 am and you see the student's panicked email, you shouldn't answer it. But how do we set boundaries between our life and our work. As a musician, the thought of putting up a boundary between your life and art seems to be contrary to what I do. Life is art and art is life. As a graduate student on the path to being a full-time academic, setting up boundaries seems antithetical as well. Something inside me says that setting up boundaries seems to mean you're not "all in." I'm not one for the shallow end of anything. I like to be fully involved. I like to be incredibly passionate about what I do, because it's incredibly difficult for me to summon the will to work on something I'm not really into (see my HS math grades as evidence). But on the other hand, there is more to life than papers and conferences and recitals. How do we go about setting boundaries so that everything gets done, but so we still have our sanity, the energy to come back to what we love, and so we have time to remain well-rounded human beings with time for a spiritual and physical (exercise) pursuits? Suggestions greatly appreciated!

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 12:48 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 3 comments
Sunday, October 26, 2008
I am completely dumbfounded by my ability to go from feeling perfectly capable to feeling like I have no friggin' clue what I'm doing......

I think I need chocolate.......now.
posted by Mac Tíre at 3:48 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 2 comments
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Namo Buddhaya, Namo Dharmaya, Namo Sanghaya
Busy busy busy week. Highlight of the week was on Tuesday, when I got to hear a Nyingma lama give teachings on compassion. It was my first such experience, and was absolutely incredible. I was also able to Take Refuge which is something I've wanted to do for a long time. I'm hesitating here, because I'm not sure how much I want to say about the experience. One thing my roommate has taught me, is that sometimes the things that you have the deepest feelings about are the things you feel like you want to talk about the least. However, I will say this.....it was an incredibly profound experience that left me smiling in my bed in the dark until 2am, and then when I woke up at 7, couldn't stop smiling either. I'll leave it at that right now.

Also found out I have an invited guest artist gig in Kentucky in the Spring, doing the usual Irish trad flute masterclass and then lecture/recital. When I got to FPU in the fall of 2005, I could barely play a half-hour's worth of tunes. Occasionally, when I have time to step back and look at my journey since I got here, it absolutely stuns me that I've gone from that, to being asked and paid to travel to other places to talk about the Tradition.

Up for this weekend: gig with the Collegium, practicing, grade papers, make some more progress on final projects......and continue my effort to reclaim my apartment from the clutter gnomes.

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 12:37 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 2 comments
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Suffering Is
One of the great truths of Buddhism is that suffering is. Not that suffering is because of something....but that suffering just is. We lost one of our number in the music community in DFP this week. I didn't know him, but the thing about community is that any loss presents a ripple effect.

For most of us, it lies in the fact that the kid in question accidentally bumped into a car at a gas station, and then the guy whose car was hit instigated a high speed chase which left the 24 year old kid dead because of road rage.

There's nothing you can say or do to soften violence. There's nothing you can say or do to take it back.

In the face of violence and hatred that strong, there are few things as comforting to me as the fact that I'm a musician and a teacher. Music gives me a voice stronger and more powerful than all the violence in the world. It gives me peace and a sense of calm in the midst of suffering, and most importantly, it keeps me in the moment. Teaching gives me hope. My freshmen drive me crazy with 3am emails, with their inability to remember that they're emailing their TA instead of their buddies; but they're all good kids. They try hard and they care about each other. What better view of the future can we hope for?

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 12:07 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Letting Go
I submitted my Fulbright application today. I feel really good about it, even though I'm still terribly doubtful about actually going to Ireland next year. I worked pretty hard on it, and I feel proud of the work that came out. That's enough right now, because all you can do is your best, and then send it off and let the universe take care of it, because I don't have any more control over it.

School has ramped up a notch or three, as midterms are here and final project deadlines are starting to become real (instead of the, "oh that's several months away," that they seem to be in the first month or so of classes). But instead of the normal panic session, I'm feeling good about this semester (relatively speaking.....I'm still a freaking Virgo, so until everything's turned in and grades are submitted I'll still be a little worried).

Completely exhausted, but pushing through it!

Peace, Love, and Tunes,
posted by Mac Tíre at 1:21 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Thursday, October 09, 2008
This year feels different
My computer has started to die yet again. I think it's time for a new computer. I've bought a new battery to see if that might help fix it, but I'm still fairly dubious.

Fulbright interviews were intense, but went well. Now I rewrite everything, and on Tuesday I let it go. I don't know if you've guys have noticed, but I don't do really well with things I can't control. The idea of not being able to control whether or I go to Ireland next year doesn't sit well with me. Even more, the fact the I won't know anything until I'm packing up to move somewhere else (where or if....also no clue) also doesn't feel great either.

It's hard for anyone to surrender things to the universe, but I have particular problems with it. I guess it's something to work on.

This year feels different. Last year I started to accept some of the changes in my identity. In particular, I took a step back from being the "classical flutist." It was hard. I had been that person in one way or another for a good decade or so. I was comfortable with that label. This year, the labels I identify with most comfortable are ethnomusicologist, musicologist, early musician, and traditional musician. This summer immersed me in all of those contexts, and I came out believing in my ability to do all of those things. This year feels different because I came out of this summer with a clearer understanding of what I'm able to do and what I want to do, and I'm comfortable with most of the labels floating around in my head (even though they are just labels).

I guess that's the best thing about FPU, I'm starting (trying) to become more comfortable in my own skin. I'm not all the way there yet (are we ever completely comfortable with who we are, with the labels and categories people put us in.....and the prejudices that come with each of those categories......wow, that's an entirely different post), but life is a work in progress anyway, right?

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 1:10 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Sunday, October 05, 2008
More rain here in Dry Flat Place. I'm currently in a coffee shop, hoping to wait out the downpour, but I think I'm going to get soaked at some point. I think I should have picked up a kayak while I was in Canada this summer. Fulbright is off my desk (at least for the time being), but I have my interview tomorrow, so I've been in the midst of cramming extra info so that I don't get taken by surprise.

Three working weekends (as opposed to a non-working weekend in grad school?) in a row have left me feeling completely and utterly behind. Time to pull out the extra strength coffee and go into hyperdrive. Lots, lots, lots to get done before the end of the year. Not the least of which are getting the damn thesis done and figuring out what the hell I'm going to do next year.

Session on Friday night was fabulous. Every time I think about the fact that eventually I will leave these people, I'm struck by just how lucky I am to have found them. These people who love each other, and the music, and the teaching of the music. They make me want to be a better person, musician, and teacher.

Lots to do!

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 3:22 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 2 comments
Friday, October 03, 2008
The "F" Word
Get your minds out of the gutter......I'm talking about Faith.

I've never been good at talking about my faith, what I believe. I was raised in the bible belt, brought up in the Baptist tradition, went to a Catholic school, went on mission trips......I have prostelitized in different languages. However, that never made me comfortable. One of the few things I still agree with the Baptists on, is the absolutely personal nature of faith. I have never been able to comfortably talk about faith, and sometimes I wonder why. In the christian tradition much of my reticence to talk about what I believed was the knowledge that I would spark huge arguments. That didn't always stop me. I made the news in my hometown after RU486 came out, and the local news station tramped down to the local Catholic school, and came into my religion class to film a debate. Problem was, no one was pro-choice......except me. And I had never talked about it. After 4 years of, sometimes oppressive and abusive Catholic education, I was tired of being baited and ignoring it. So I spoke up, and got labeled a "baby killer" among my more fanatic classmates. It also didn't help the fact that I knew scripture and church history better than the majority of those fanatics.

However, I promised I would talk* about the Dharma, something that's becoming more important in my life. The Dharma or the Buddha-Dharma refers to the teachings of the Buddha. There's a lot out there, but the most basic bit is called the Four Noble Truths. The most comforting part of this most basic part of the Dharma, is the acknowledgement that suffering is a part of life. Not because we're all inherently bad (the concept of original sin really pisses me off), but because of the nature of life. As a kid who lost her mom when she was 14, and learned about impermanence early on, it's a comforting thought. Better yet, WE can work to stop suffering. I've never had religion that just felt right with me. Better yet, I don't have to be a woman relating solely to male deity figures, who generally insinuate that being a woman means one is spiritually second class (women obey your husbands?!?!?!?.....screw that) or responsible for original sin (did I mention the concept of original sin pisses me off?). My current mantra connects me to Tara known by many names not the least of which is the Mother of all Buddhas. Needless to say, I feel more comfortable in Buddhism than I ever did in my Baptist or Catholic church services.

*I think I should offer a disclaimer here.....I'm a newbie to the Buddhist faith, so my knowledge isn't very complete. I am, however, trying to fix that.

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 11:40 AM ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments