Monthly Archives: February 2013

The long view

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In some of my more difficult periods of life, the issue of ‘time’ has been a pertinent point for me. At its worse, I would sit with clock in hand and watch the second hand turn round and at each 5 mins gone I would be momentarily relieved at being 5 mins nearer to death and I would be grateful that I would never have to endure that 5 mins again.

Though not quite as drastic as that normally (thankfully), the notion of ‘time’ has always been an issue for me. In true ‘dialectical’ fashion- I choose not to wear a wrist watch as it used to make things too much in my face… But equally I panic when I find myself in a room without a clock, as I feel like I am not grounded enough in reality… The unknowing is too difficult. I don’t like looking at the time on my mobile as the temptation to get distracted is increased!

But yesterday I realised that my issues with time are not just the length of time I need to endure, but also the perspective of time… Planning, dreaming, hoping… Taking a long term view. I find this tricky.

One reason is for the practical fact that none of us know how long we have on this earth. Life can end at an moment… And I don’t want to make the mistake of thinking that I have all the time in the world to do what I want to do… I might, but I might not.

The other reason is that historically I have not wanted to face the thought of life continuing… Though I may have coped with the 5 min issues, I have still found thinking in terms of months and years nigh on impossible. Even when I was in a ‘well phase’ the most I could summon up was planning my business for the academic year…

But now i find myself in a position where I need to think in the long term… Do I put myself in a position that in the short term is not a particularly good deal, but in the longer term it could pay dividends. The honest answer is, I just don’t know. This is a new skill that I’m being asked to use and I haven’t had much practise! I don’t know.

I am aware that one of my many weaknesses is my propensity of going for the short term gratification at the expense of the long view. I think often of the story of Jacob and Esau in the bible, where Esau, overwhelmed with hunger sells his birth right for a pot of stew. I have read that in the past and prayed, please God help me not to be like that- as I realise I see more of Esau in myself than Jacob.

Maybe this new opportunity is a chance to quieten the ‘Esau’ and strengthen the ‘Jacob’? Now that would be a character challenge for me!!!!

Thanks for listening.

Joy is …

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DBT focuses a lot on using all our senses- to soothe in distress and to create and bring value into life. Through this process I have discovered very clearly that I am a visual learner and more influenced by visual stimuli than currently any of the other senses. For years, I tried to deny this- I am a musician and I felt that I ‘should’ be an auditory learner… And for some reason I found this difficult to accept… Thankfully I’ve let go of those judgements…

As regular readers know, I am in a process of de-cluttering and beautifying my home- and absolutely loving it! On Saturday I had one of my sorting days with a dear friend. I had ordered these window stickers to brighten my view from the washing up bowl… They are gorgeous. The view is now even more beautiful than it was before and I have flowers in bloom all year round. Yay!

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Pushing through fear

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A little while back a dear friend wrote this post on his blog. http://muddykitchenfloor.wordpress.com/2013/01/15/procrastination-fear/

As he talked about his fears, I began to consider some of my own fears… And this happened to coincide with a time of stretching for me, so all three elements coincided in the synchronicity that is also known as life.

Some other special friends had asked me whether I wanted to play the piano and accompany their daughter for her woodwind exam, grade 7 for those familiar with ABRSM exams. I jumped at the opportunity. It would give a focus for piano practice… A lovely excuse to hang out with my friends… Possibly open up another income stream for me… A challenge… And also a little trip back through memory lane to my classical music training. I duly left their home with the sheet music in my grasp and a new assignment to tackle.

When I set to work on the piano… I couldn’t play it! It was just too difficult. I haven’t played this level of music for a very long time… I couldn’t do it… And I was faced with one of my most powerful inner fears and the aforementioned blog helped shine a light on this fear.

I find it hard to truly articulate the fear. It is not the fear of not being able to do something or that I will let people down per se… It is more the fear of not being able to overcome the fear, if that makes sense. As I sat staring at the music, I could recount numerous occasions where I had let the fear of not being able to do something completely paralyse me- and most of the incidents were educational and music related.

I realise that in many areas of life I am so fortunate to possess a fairly high natural ability. I took to the piano instinctively and progressed very rapidly… But when I hit the ceiling of my natural ability, I froze. As a teenager, I didn’t seem to posses the skills to push through the ceiling. So instead of practising and getting better- I didn’t think that even practise would be able to get me through… So in my self-protection mode, I didn’t practise… And that could be my excuse. The worse scenario would be that I would practise and practise and still not be able to do it… So I didn’t.

And in my log cabin some 25 years later- at my piano staring at this music, those fears came flooding back. I couldn’t play it- it was beyond my natural ability in this moment… And I was faced with a decision- what was I going to do about it? Revert to old behaviours and ‘give in’ or ‘run away’ or was I going to be able to tolerate the pain and push through. In that moment, I decided that I was going to work my butt off and not be beaten by dots on a page. I resolved that I would practise every day for however long it took and I was going to learn how to play these pieces. The temptation to go back to this family and say I couldn’t do it, was there- but I decided that I was not going to do that. If they said to me my playing wasn’t good enough, that was completely fine- but I wasn’t going to give up.

So in the recent snow and cold weather I would go to the piano, set my alarm and beaver away at this beautiful piece of music. And the most wonderful thing has happened… I improved and I can now virtually play both pieces and it feels such a sweet victory for myself. I have deconstructed every bar, phrase and chord… And my fingers are learning the new patterns… And I play with a smile on my face- because I can now do something that I initially couldn’t… Such joy.

I think every one else involved is happy… I hope to get some more work like this… And I will just have to hammer my way through each fear- bar by bar, phrase by phrase and chord by chord. A sweet sweet victory.

Thanks for listening.

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