Blogger of the year

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Blogger of the year is a national tradition


There was no coach in sight, and the young women did not even have their instruments unpacked.I said sarcastically, Doesn’t look like a coaching session to me! and stormed off.Cora arrived at the end of the rehearsal and said coldly, I’ve decided to resign from the orchestra.I will not be abused like that.Here was yet another problem thrust in my lap.Now I was really sunk.Our second best violist had just quit—no time to find a new one.I went over it in my mind several times, thinking what could I do, what were my options?As I frequently do on such occasions, I presented the problem to Roz and asked for her help.She said, If you absolutely have to have Cora back in the orchestra for this concert, you have very little room to move.In that case you will have to persuade her to return, and since you are a master of persuasion, you don’t need my help for that.If you are really angry and want a little revenge, you could even try to get her back for this one concert, and then fire her afterward. She smiled, testing me, but I was in no mood for humor.She went on, But if you can imagine letting her go, you have some other options.Why should I have to play the concert without Cora!She owes it to me to see this concert through!—and then I clutched.I can’t get anyone else to play the Stravinsky, the performance is in only two days.After a while I tried on the other scenario—eight violists, all who wanted to be there, all playing their hearts out.Now that I was no longer deeply submerged in the absolute necessity to have her back, I felt more open to hearing whatever Roz had to say.I can see that I don’t absolutely need Cora, and I don’t feel like persuading her or putting pressure on her to return, I told her.I’m willing to risk that she won’t come back.What, then, are my other options?And Roz said, You can always grace yourself with responsibility for anything that happens in your life.You can always find within yourself the source of any problem you have.But that’s ridiculous! I protested.I couldn’t have stopped her from walking out, and anyway I have too many things to think about, I can’t be responsible for everything every player does.I have a concert to prepare..Hold on, she said, I’m not suggesting you blame yourself instead of Cora.This is a way of thinking that has nothing to do with blame at all. And she went on to explain the distinction.I saw a completely new possibility and went to my desk to begin a letter.Cora had been a member of the Friday class, so she knew about the formulation of giving an A and writing a letter dated the following May.October 6Dear Cora,I’ve decided to write you a letter like the one I asked each person in the Friday class to write to explain why they got an A this year.May 18Dear Cora,I got my A because I finally broke the cycle of lashing out at people when they didn’t do exactly what I wanted them to do.I came to see that when I got angry with people or became sarcastic, it was like wiping them out, and our relationship never fully recovered.It was hard for me to get that what I wanted was not necessarily what they wanted.For example, if we were preparing an important and difficult concert and players didn’t come to a rehearsal or came late, I would be disappointed and angry because I thought that they should care as much about the project as I did and let nothing stand in the way of being there.Now I see that in a volunteer orchestra whose players have many other commitments, I cannot assume that everyone’s priorities are exactly the same as mine.I have come to realize that people will do what they want to do—which means that sometimes they will come to rehearsals and sometimes they won’t—and I must respect their decisions.I know now that while I will do what

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