Last Monday, I finished my final internship hours with the International Harp Therapy Program, and yesterday I submitted my final portfolio to the program.

More developments as they unfold.

Right Intent

Right  intent is one of the elements of the Buddhist eightfold path, including “the intention of harmlessness, meaning not to think or act cruelly, violently, or aggressively.”  Who wouldn’t want to aspire to harmlessness?

Eightfold Path

When I worked on an assignment clarifying my intent in the very first IHTP lesson, I understood that it was an important exercise in goal setting and motivation – helpful for working through the year long (or longer) program. The IHTP also needs to know what we are thinking; they need to protect the quality of their stamp of approval for the sake of their graduates, the facilities they work in, and for their own viability.

I am playing bedside in a local hospice to fulfill some of my internship hours. The very first person I played for was near death and unresponsive. As I played,  my mentor suggested that I add a high F to my improvisation. With that addition, the patient gave a little sigh and settled himself int bed a little bit. Another F. Another little sigh, another little settle. Another F?

There is fine line between exploring to find what will help the someone relax, and experimenting- manipulating someone to see exactly what the limit of the music is. The difference? You guessed it – intent.

The effect of that high F was so astonishingly, dramatically, evident, that now I see  just how easy it was to wonder, “what if I…,” instead of “what is helping” – to manipulate, instead of meet and follow what is already present. It is such a simple thing for delusion to take over and color our approach to this work.

This firsthand message shows me another facet to the importance of right intent. Our intent is our mission statement and our target, and we need to keep our eye and our focus on it. We have not only to identify our purpose for others, but to articulate it to ourselves, actively and regularly, so that we continually remind ourselves why we’re here.

How do you find that fine line in your own life? Do you have a daily practice, or is it easy for you to see where you need to go? Or something else?

Internship Countdown

Two hours down, 78 to go! I played for two hours at the Reiki Harmony Centers’s Reiki Share last night. What’s a Reiki Share? It’s when Reiki practitioners and students get together to practice on each other and on anyone who can use a session. At the Center I am playing at, sessions are free for Reiki students, and only $5 for anyone else, so it’s a great way to experience this for yourself. The excitement over having a harpist would have been easy to feel even if it wasn’t a Reiki Center (tee hee!)

There is nothing like first hand experience to help you really, really, really learn what it is you thought you already knew. I thought I knew a lot, and now after putting theory to practice, I’m proud to say I now know even less. Here’s what I learned:

Pay attention to the space that you are playing to, not the space you are in. This was a group session, so the only space available was just outside the doorway. I learned too late that the resonance in the room where the work was being done was not the same as the hallway I was playing in. Fortunately, they were only a fifth apart, and I was playing in consonance with the room, but it would have been better if I had spent a little time in the space first. And watching the events unfold in the room helped to know when to wind each of the 20 minute improvisations down.

Don’t think about what you are doing. Just play.  Isaac Asimov said “Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.” Every time my brain tried to take charge things got complicated – muddy. The music comes on its own, it really does. And it’s not repetitive or boring.

Keep it simple. Where have I heard that one? No matter how simple I made it, it could still have been simpler and more effective.

There are no coincidences. ‘Nuff said.

Overall, it was a good session, and I’m looking forward to the next 78 hours. But I’m really glad that this first one is done.

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