Something about performing music always brings me precisely into the present moment. There’s a difference between expectation and experience. Expectation is what we hope for, what we long for. Experience is what’s actually here. Letting go of expectation so we can stay focused in the present, is the path to happiness. Music does that. Dance and painting and sculpture and other art forms are all expressions of letting go and staying present. Another activity I’ve discovered keeps me precisely focused in the present moment is rock climbing. Even mountaineering and snowboarding, which are inspiring and challenging, leave space with my thoughts to contemplate and build expectations. But music and rock climbing are activities that take me to a place where there is nothing but the notes, or the rock problem, or the vibe with the crowd, or the euphoria of completing a pitch. In the space where my expectations and longings have vanished, and only the present experience fills my mind and senses, those are my happiest moments.