Three Chords and A Blog Post
Last week, when a colleague asked me my intention for the week, I answered “three chords and a blog post”. The answer marks the start of a new path for me.
For my high school graduation, my parents gifted me with a guitar. I thought that it represented the best potential for portable music making. I was off to University and I had images of strumming tunes in my dorm room. It remained an image only in my mind and not in reality. The guitar sat in silence.
And so it sat. It sat in my student apartments. It sat in our first condo. It sat in our first house, our second house and our third. It sat there patiently waiting for me as I birthed three children and figured out life as a mom. When my children were younger, I signed up for lessons and took up my guitar again. While I took the time for the lessons, I did not allow myself the time to practice between them and so the exercise became a bit pointless. The guitar was silent again.
My kids have moved on to University and to their adult lives and I progressed to getting a stand for my guitar. I learned that it was easier to start a practice if the instrument was accessible. Sitting the guitar in its’ stand felt like progress. I chose to put it in our living room ~ this is the label given the room on the floor plan of the house ~ there really is little activity in the room I chose. It did, however, buy me a few more months of justifiable avoidance.
Then I progressed. I moved my guitar and stand into my home office ~ my creative space, my teaching space and I felt hopeful.
Again, time passed and the exposed guitar, rather than inspiring me, served as a symbol of my inaction. It was a silent reminder of my mediocrity and I began to avert my eyes. I threw myself into purging paperwork in my office and my little shredder became the focus on my excess energy and time. And then? Well, the Universe has its own way of getting your attention.
One morning, I glanced over to my guitar and discovered that the bridge had come off of the body of the instrument and hung limply from the strings. How long had it been like this? I would like to think that it had only happened that morning, but I could not be sure.
I felt weepy when I gazed upon the broken instrument. It seemed as though I had a choice to make. Would I get it repaired? Or, was this the end of the dream?
I reached out to a musical friend to get a recommendation for repair. And then, I packed it up and took it off to the music store. They called me with an estimate and I asked them to proceed. Perhaps some additional investment would tip the scale on playing? Nah, that felt too punitive to me. I’d like to play for the simple joy of making music.
That is how we came to last week. I have been learning chords and making up my own diddies to go along with them. The fingernails on my left hand are quite short and my fingertips are tender as they press the strings. I am delighted each time I arrange my fingers in the proper order for a chord. I’ve started with G, C and D and each day I am getting smoother in my transitions from one chord to the next. Right now, it’s gawky and uncomfortable and perfect for me. My dog isn’t sure how to feel about the noise, er….music quite yet. As for me, I am finding that the tenderness in my fingertips serves as a surprising and reassuring tactile reminder of my progress when I’m away from the guitar. It reminds me of the power of making new choices for myself.
What is the lesson in it all? Well, the learning for me was the uncovering of a long held belief that doing something solely for myself carried little, if any, weight for me. I preferred pushing that aside and using my time in service of others. Believe me, as a wife, mother, teacher, consultant and coach, I had gained a rather long list of excuses and distractions, which held great value (in my mind) and allowed me to justify my existence.
It may seem as though playing the guitar is a trite activity; however what it represents to me has a far greater meaning than strumming. It represents choosing me first and that it not a well-practiced habit of mine. I understand it on a rational level and I am even somewhat evangelical about it when I am coaching and teaching others. In the end, there is a bit of a cosmic joke when you realize that you are saying the very thing that you need to hear yourself. I became aware of the distance between my words and my actions. And, when that gap widens in such a manner, one’s integrity is brought to the fore.
I had to own up to that divide and then I had the opportunity to get curious about the belief that lay beneath this one example. Why? Because I believe that when we become aware of a long held beliefs and patterns, we have the chance to look for other examples of it in our life. For me, I need only glance about my creative space to see the evidence ~ jewelry-making materials, my beautiful camera on a shelf, half-finished scrapbooks ~ they all call out to me. This is a moment that can take your breath away with shame and judgment. In this moment, you also have a choice. You can choose to relax into the judgment and stall your movement. Or, you can make a new choice, a simple choice. A step in a new direction.
I chose 3 chords and a blog post ~ that’s all. And, when this is complete, I will make another creative choice. That is it. It is a process. A practice. There is no box to check off as complete. There is merely the next creative choice.
How about you? Where do you see patterns/beliefs in your own life? Are you ready to make new choices? Let your curiosity lead the way!
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This post was written by megan