One of the most interesting things that I have learned from Pastor Amy’s 30 Day Blogging Challenge is that, well you just can’t really plan ahead.
You see, I thought that I would get up this morning and write a cheery little piece about all the planning and bustle about my upcoming trip to Spain. But, as I was drafting in my head while I did the dishes this morning, that isn’t exactly the direction my thoughts turned.
Last night (after spending a couple of hours comparing Hyundais, Mazdas, and Nissans), I returned to my task of finalizing my hotel reservations. I had thought that the concert organization I was working with was supposed to arrange my hotel in Granada, but no, apparently that was not the case. Fine, I’m perfectly capable of picking a hotel for myself and maybe that’s better after all.
I’m actually rather well known in certain circles as an excellent hotel selector. Good quality to price ratio, excellent location — that’s my hotel motto.
And so I began my usual process. I read the guidebooks to see the recommended LOCATIONS for hotels….I rarely take a specific recommendation, since anything printed in a guidebook will be too full of my fellow countrypeople. Then I figure out where I will be spending most of time…for this trip, my rehearsals will all be at the Conservatorio while the concerts will be at various grand hotels throughout the town, so I focused on the Conservatorio. Then, do I want something decorated in an “indigenous” fashion, or something modern? Depends on the place and my current mood; it seems that in Granada the big question is: do I want a view of the Alhambra from my room or not. Next consideration: do I want a kitchen or not? There are, these days, particularly in European cities, lovely “aparthotels” — I’m particularly fond of these in Germany. Then, and only then, armed with this decision matrix, do I go to the booking sites (and I try to use British booking sites, not American…you simply won’t catch me on Expedia ever…) and begin my real selection process.
Doesn’t exactly sound like the free-flown imagination and excitement of travel does it? Well, that only starts AFTER I feel myself to be adequately housed in my upcoming destination.
And that isn’t really what is on my mind right now.
You see, as much as I promised myself that after all the deep soul searching and praying of last week, that I would “keep it light” this week, well, let’s just say that my more usual essence has already started to assert itself. I find myself wondering if I’ve made the right decision to take this trip.
Let me retrace a few steps here. In my journey over the past couple of years now, one of my big tasks was to to break my old operational patterns so that I could listen. And one of the things that I did to break those patterns was to stay home last summer — no concerts, no travel, just church, home, recording studio and finally a trip to the beach. That choice turned out to be very, very significant for me. I broke the bonds of the musical community’s expectations, I looked for the tasks that I needed to do and that I was called to do; I did satisfying work by recording my CD; it was all good (except for that repeated itch to get on a plane and see something that was not Washington, D.C.).
So with the last year behind me and the changes that I have made, I told myself this year that I deserved a little extra stimulation, and now I find myself on my way to Andalucia. And I find myself a little worried that I’m repeating an old pattern.
You see, I will have crammed two old patterns into a summer: I went back to school AND I’m going on a multi-week trip. These choices have kept me out of the recording studio until fall, which will make things much more difficult to schedule. I am behind on my planning for my concert series; I am behind on updating my websites. And I’m a little uncomfortable with what looks like a falling back on old habits, now that I see it. But, that’s what spiritual directors are for…
But even before I get a chance to talk it ove r with the amazing Charlotte, I will say to all of you, that, I think I am doing it all differently. Last week, I learned that you can take a class for just the experience — you can meet people and expand your circle and revel in information and learning and, well, not need to get any gain or prestige from it. Not even need a credential. That was a very different experience for me.
So, I am going to hold on to the hope that one can visit old patterns and do them with different intent and different outcome, because I have seen that reality in my life. I have seen all things (even the old ones) made new by faith. And, I will process it next week with Charlotte.
Right now, I have a hotel to pick.