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Summer Solstice - Standing Still

a picture of purple flowers

As I write this newsletter, it is the longest day of the year, June 20th. 

The Latin term Solstice means “Sun” and “Standing Still”


As projects begin to wind down, I stand still to savor the experiences of the spring, welcome the sweet warm days of summer, anticipate new projects, accept change, and contemplate a new complex chapter of life. I am welcoming the next few months as a time to slow down and reflect. 


Before I begin… As this will be my last newsletter until August, I want to thank all of you who have been reading my blogs. I have always enjoyed writing, and I never imagined I would be sharing my writing with others! I appreciate your emails, encouragement and feedback! 


As I reflect back to this spring, I am grateful for all the wonderful people and music! Last Saturday, June 15th, was the final improv gathering at the Centre des Musiciens du Monde. Our weekly gatherings began in January, and a wonderful community of music improvisers has formed. I can’t wait to improvise with you all again! (Yes! We are sneaking in two Wednesday evenings on July 10 and 17 from 7pm to 9pm! Registration will open soon!). 


Irene Feher and a group of musicians with their instruments at Centre des musiciens du monde
After the June 15th Jam at the Centre des Musiciens du Monde


On this eve of summer, my wish is to spend more time with my family and friends. Someone very close to me was recently diagnosed with stage four cancer, and life feels very different now. As the shock begins to diminish, I contemplate how precious and fragile life is. How we live every single moment is what matters. I can’t help but think of a term I heard in a podcast a few months ago:  “bright sadness”. I did a little digging around and learned more about it. In his book “Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life” Richard Rohr describes bright sadness as a state where we are able to hold both joy and grief accepting both the good and the bad with “creativity and less anxiety”. It is about appreciating the richness of the present moment. We see it most vividly in the smiling face of an elderly person. 


It is odd how I can find myself in a complete state of flow improvising, teaching a lesson or singing, and then in a moment I return facing a painful reality. 


It feels strange to walk around feeling numb and alone in a bubble of sadness as the world buzzes around me. 


The hospital and all the incredible people who work there are now a part of daily life. I can’t imagine the pressure a doctor must feel as they treat and communicate with patients and their families who are looking for any sign of hope. Through acknowledging nods and glances of compassion, care and encouragement, I feel somehow connected with other hospital visitors, people I don’t even know sharing the same experience as I. I am blown away by the patience of nurses, personal care workers and orderlies who give so much of themselves. I wonder about the fatigue, frustration and sense of helplessness they must sometimes feel as they navigate a myriad of demands while trying to offer care. I am especially touched by the volunteers who are always willing to help us get from one place to another. I wonder about their stories and what brought them to the hospital. 


I leave the hospital feeling a combination of guilt and relief that I can step back into my life. 


I am ever grateful for the people in my life and the inspiration they bring. 


I am grateful for the music, and I am looking forward to next week’s presentation of L’entre-Silences, Music for People’s Art of Improvisation, and more exciting creative projects this fall, including a cover band and collaborating on improvised art songs with Olen Hsu and Josée Allard. 


I wish you a peaceful and relaxing summer filled with laughter, sunshine and love. 

Savor each moment 

Take a deep breath


“Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday” 


Release! 


A wooden wall hanging with the inscription “To-day is the to-morrow you worried about yesterday”
A wall hanging I kept from the house I grew up in


This will be the final blog post until late August, but you can stay in touch via Facebook Irene Feher Living Your Music. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel 




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