A Lot of Life is Just Showing Up - 060413

Eighty per cent of success is showing up. ~ Woody Allen
You, don't sing too loud. ~ My choir director, from Andrew Weitzen

I went to a new Hustle dance class tonight. For the second week, the only students were me and the instructor's girlfriend.

The instructor was apologetic that more people were not there, but I told him, I was happy to have the personal attention.

I have been stumbling through Hustle, literally for decades, since I was in college, and been pretty bad at it. With these two classes things finally came together, to the point where I actually feel like I can fake like I know what I'm doing. And I almost did not go tonight.

For the last few months, after lunch on Shabbat, I have been going to Libby Brateman's Torah Trope class.

Reading the Torah is serious business, and difficult. For one, you must pronounce every word perfectly. Mistakes are not permitted.

Second, you must chant the words. Each syllable in each word has a specific note and accent. While there are a variety of patterns that repeat, each section has its own unique musical combination which you have to memorize.

Sounds like Israeli dancing.

I have wanted to learn to read from the Torah, but it seemed daunting. Also, where my classmates all have beautiful singing voices, I, on the other hand, am the one my Junior High School choir director used to point at and say, "you, don't sing too loud," which by the way, ended my early singing career.

For the first couple of months, we seemed like a bunch of slackers, but all of a sudden, everything seemed to come together.

I am not a proficient Torah reader or Hustle dancer. I have not put in any hard work or achieved anything special. However, just by showing up, I have managed to acquire a couple of new skills, gotten to know some new people, and had a good time in the process.

A lot of things, including Israeli dancing, are like that. Things may seem too challenging for a long time, but one day, if you keep showing up, your brain makes sense of the mess.

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