Talents and Abilities.
Whether you attribute it to genetics, hard work, a divine hand or something else, each of us is blessed with an array of skills and abilities, from silly stuff like rolling our tongue to classical piano virtuosity or a knack for astrophysics.
As I look out at this vast and uncertain empty space ahead, with concerts, festivals and tours cancelled for who knows how long, I find nonetheless some elements of this time are familiar. I have experienced several of these cycles of challenge to my livelihood as a performer, starting with the burst of the tech bubble in the spring of 2001. My quarter century career as a performing artist has been marked by periods of intense survival fear, and through them I've developed both some personal practices and "outside the box" thinking about how I make my livelihood.
I am hugely grateful to be blessed with some musical and communications skills sufficient to teach guitar and songwriting. Similarly, I am able to experiment with technology and watch YouTube videos enough to develop critical skills like video broadcasting that allow me to continue doing some of these things in this weird new physically isolated space. And perhaps most of all, whatever intellectual and emotional gifts that allow me to at least consider how I might do something helpful and meaningful for others, but in a way that might also be valuable enough to them to stay connected to me.
Of course, I have no idea how it's all going to turn out, or whether I'll even survive these times. I'm thinking of my 15-year old grandmother confronting the "Spanish flu" pandemic coming to her hometown of Bristol CT a century ago. I don't know how it impacted her directly, but afterwards she went into nursing for a career. She devoted herself to helping tuberculosis patients isolated in rural New York. And later she taught those nursing skills to others in classrooms and as the Head of Nursing at her local hospital. In 1918 she had no idea what the future held either.
I only know in hindsight that I have been blessed with some useful abilities, and whatever motivation it took to put in the work developing them, because this is what I'm supposed to do. I have no idea what that means going forward. But I do know that I'm grateful to simply take comfort in it now, while working at find ways to make things a little better for others somehow.