Crash course in impermanence

Welp. You know how we were preparing for the ONE SHOW we were going to do this year? The Shipwrecked Music Festival in coastal Oregon coming up this weekend? We got a call two nights ago from the organizers with the news that they decided they had to cancel the festival because of covid concerns. 


My initial reaction was one of not total surprise. I hadn’t said it out loud, but I had wondered a few times over the last couple weeks, while watching covid numbers and hospitalizations rise, whether or not the festival was going to be able to go on as planned. (And, for the record, I think they made a good call.)
 I haven’t had all that much of an emotional reaction, actually. Which feels somewhat strange to me. I would have predicted that — after spending months anticipating and planning for this, after weeks of creating a show and rehearsing it, upon being just days away from the first in-person performance I would have given in close to 2 years — I’d feel, like, really bummed or sad or down … but instead what I feel is … kind of … flat? Like, not good, or bad, just … even.

So I’ve been trying to tease that apart, and figure out why. 

Is this what resilience feels like? Maybe. Could be. Maybe I’ve just been having to exercise that resilience muscle SO MUCH over the last year and a half, that it’s in good shape at this point, and ready to kick into gear without a blink in this moment of sudden big change of plans? 

Is it a protection mechanism of emotional numbness, from having navigated so much chaos and trauma in the world over the last couple years, along with the added weight of grief that was introduced into our lives a month ago? Perhaps. There’s a part of my brain — while trying to make sense of my flat reaction — that has wondered if maybe keeping it even, like my brain seems to be doing, is something of an internalized trauma response?

Maybe a little of both?

Do you know what I mean? Have you experienced something like this?

A dear friend mentioned that she thinks my experience is evidence of learning to accept impermanence … and that also feels like it’s a part of the mix for me, too. This last year and a half — with the pandemic making it so that everything feels uncertain all of the time — combined with the last month of grieving the sudden loss of our friend Scott, does, indeed, feel like a crash course in accepting impermanence. 

I don’t have a tidy answer, but here we are. Suddenly NOT rehearsing for Saturday’s show, NOT getting gear ready to pack in the car. Suddenly sitting here with more free time than we’d planned on having.

The unexpected free time is kind of great! It feels like a snow day or something. (Even though as a school kid I never lived anywhere where there was snow … so I’m imagining. 😂) There’s a backyard art project that we’ve been wanting to finish for several weeks … maybe we’ll do that. 

But also I am bummed we don’t get to do this show for anyone this weekend! It was really coming together to be something I felt was super fun and special. I was preparing a performance unlike any I’ve ever done. This one-off festival seemed like a great opportunity to play around with and test out some ideas I’ve had for a while about how to present my music. And it’s been SO MUCH FUN!

That fact leads me to the thought that all of our preparation has absolutely not been wasted. What we came up with in our prep and rehearsal is exciting enough to us that we want to figure out how to do it for an audience, or audiences, somewhere, somehow, sometime. And I really want to do these songs — the ones from 2020101 — for an audience. They’re so much fun to perform. I don’t exactly know how or where or when … but know that we have our wheels turning on ideas for what we might do with all of this. 

And the fact that I’ve had so much fun over the last few weeks as I’ve prepared for this is definitely not something to be discounted. Maybe, for me, on some microcosmic level, that’s been the ultimate point of all of this. After reaching a place of such burnout like I did at the end of spring / into summer, and then carrying the blanket of grief we have carried the last month, and feeling the weight of worry for so much happening in the world, I really needed the unexpected level of fun I experienced in my rehearsals for this show. I looked forward to my rehearsals every day. It was kind of the highlight of my days … going down into the basement where we’d set up a mock stage, getting all sweaty and singing my heart out. It brought real fun into my life in a time that I think my soul really needed some fun. 

So … that’s where we are. You can tell in the photo below that Jamie’s pretty stoked for the “snow day.” I am, too. And also I’m sorting all this stuff about how I’m feeling in the background. And also, we’re getting the gears turning to eventually figure out what we do with this new thing we’ve created, how to bring it out from the basement and into the world. 

I’ll be over here listening, and listening some more … awaiting the little voice inside that directs me to the next right thing. Until then … we’re going to go get some more red spray paint and a huge pipe. Outdoor art project: here we come. 

Onward. ✊🏻❤️
Love and holding everything with an open hand — shannon