Yesterday, I saw a woman who had never seen a therapist before. Her source of pain: “My 24-year old son has no friends.” Her worst fear: that he would end up alone and unhappy.
As she spoke to me about her son, giving more details about his behaviors, I developed an initial theory. Her son was an extreme introvert, in a family of extroverts.
As an introvert, he valued time alone. As extroverts, the rest of the family valued time with other people. As a result, the family:
- worried about him and
- tried to get him to behave more like them.
I told the mother about a book, which she had seen:
We agreed it might be helpful for her to read this book, to better understand her son.
In the course of our discussing how she might change her interactions with him, I used this metaphor:
It’s like he is speaking a different language than you … as if he is living in a different country. To connect more effectively with him, it might help to understand his language better, when you’re visiting him.
As we talked about what she might do differently (because we both agreed that she could alter only her own behavior, not her son’s), we discussed another metaphor:
When you’re interacting with somebody, you are doing a dance together. People get into habits in how they dance. If you alter your steps, even just a little, the other dancer has to adjust, somehow. As a result, the dance changes.
She left the session resolved to learn more about his language and to alter her dance steps, to see what would happen.
On Thursday night, I saw Pat Metheny, the jazz guitar player, in concert.
The first time I saw Pat play was in the late 1970’s, at the Paradise in Boston.
(I found that image at Wikipedia, here.)
When I first saw and heard Pat play, that night in 1979, I felt as though he was speaking my language, in a very profound way.
Very soon after my first encounter with Pat Metheny, he was in NYC, where — coincidentally — I was visiting for the weekend. I made sure to see him again. I felt the same way, all over again.
From that day forth, I have seen Pat Metheny, countless times, in concert, whenever and wherever I can.
Every concert — every concert! — has been sublime. And that’s an amazing statement for me to write, because — despite the title of this blog — I can be very judgmental (especially regarding music).
For many years, Pat always opened his concerts with the tune “Phase Dance.”
Here’s Pat, in 1991, opening with “Phase Dance” in Portugal:
(thanks to Martin Sepulveda for posting that on YouTube)
This past Thursday night, at the Wilbur Theater in Boston, Pat did some things differently. That is, he didn’t open with “Phase Dance.” That was expected, because he hasn’t done so, for many years.
Pat played for us, with his Unity Group, for almost three hours. That was expected, too. As I told Michael, when Michael asked when I would be home for the concert: “I’m not sure. Pat loves to play.”
The show included:
- The entirety of Pat’s latest album KIN (←→)
- Duets Pat played with each and every member of his group — Ben Williams on bass, Antonio Sanchez on drums, Chris Potter on saxophone and flute, and Guilio Carmassi on many instruments, including keyboards.
- Some of the self-playing instruments Pat has created, beginning with his 2010 project “Orchestrion.”
(I found that 2010 image here.)
The first encore, on Thursday night, was “Are You Going With Me?“ which Pat played with the entire group. I’ve mentioned that song, along my blogging journey, several times before (including a few days ago, here). I love “Are you Going with Me?” whenever and wherever Pat plays it. Each time, it’s expected but also unexpected. That is, the tune is familiar, but with a new, amazing solo by Pat.
For Thursday night’s second encore, Pat returned to the stage alone. He sat down, picked up his acoustic guitar, and played a medley of songs he’s written, each of which was so familiar to me, it was beyond language.
Because I’ve heard these songs very differently before — with a group and with many instruments — I had trouble putting names on some of them.
I had no such trouble with “Phase Dance.” And I followed it, every step of the way.
Thanks to Pat Metheny, to Susan Cain (the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking), to group players and soloists everywhere, and to you — of course! — for following me here, today.