As I am writing this piece, I am listening to Yanni Live at the Acropolis. I used to listen to this record nonstop when I was in high school, ready to graduate and go off to college into the great unknown. It was a scary time of my life, not unlike now.
I was a seventeen-year-old in Honduras, about to relocate to Ithaca College in upstate New York. I had never seen snow before, and I was so excited yet terrified at the same time. For some reason, Yanni’s music touched my spirit, inspired me, and prepared me for what was coming, which was not easy. I had to learn to live alone and find my way, eventually graduating and working in New York City after college. I ultimately did it, loved it, and grew throughout it.
A few weeks ago, I found myself yearning to listen to his music again after all these years. I had not listened to it in all this time, yet here I am, and I have not stopped playing it. I play it every morning when I sit down to write, and I find it is producing the same effect of soothing me and inspiring me to continue with my projects. The overall effect is not entirely conscious, but it is there. Maybe I am also reconnecting with the teenage version of myself and finding strength in that journey that I know I already survived.
It is strange how this time of confinement is inviting us to reconnect to past interests and versions of ourselves. Maybe it is because now we have more time to listen to the things that are calling to us. Plus, everything is much quieter, as the distractions are gone. And simultaneously, we are suddenly open again and ready for new things.
It is much easier to pay attention to and entertain the thoughts we are having. I recommend we listen and let them lead us. We have the time anyway, and they might take us into unexpected and beautiful places.
One of the places where the confinement is leading me is back to my painting. I used to paint before going to college, and then I closed that door on my love of art because I became distracted. I started yearning for it again last year and took it back up six months before this all started.
I began the practice reluctantly, but now, I am diving in, and I am back to exploring an alternate path I left behind. Painting is so fulfilling: I love mixing colors and sinking my paintbrush into the oil paints. I lose myself as I try to depict a tree’s bark and its leaves.
As I connect to old hobbies, I feel comforted. Where it leads, I have no idea, but I am listening. And by paying attention, I am starting to see where my life could pivot. I knew my life was busy before, and I did everything I could to slow it down, but I was only partially successful. I could not see the depth of my longing for something different: more time to bake, more time to teach my children, and more time for my art.
There are so many interests and passions we have left lying in different periods of our lives, and which belong to us. This unique time is inviting us to search for the strings and reconnect with and rediscover parts of ourselves. They are there to give us strength and to lead the way.