I need to get off the computer and pick up my guitar. Right now. But I don’t want to–just not yet. See at my last lesson my fabulous, kick-ass, rockin’ guitar teacher pushed it up a notch. He gave me new stuff. Hard stuff. After weeks of steady improvement and lots of positive feedback from that ego critic inside, guitar is getting hard again.

I have been in a comfortable place for a while now. When I first started playing guitar this fall, I was so timid when I held her in my lap. I couldn’t make my hands work to make even the simplest of chords. But now, I have a few songs that I play and are easy and fun and get me all sorts of positive encouragement from my community. I am a mini rock star and I like the confidence I have playing these few little songs.

Which is why this particular set of homework is tough. I am back at the beginning with chords that make my hands twist into all sorts of uncomfortable positions. My notes sound muddy. I am not a rock star. I am in beginner mode once again. And one thing I learn about myself playing this instrument is how uncomfortable I feel in beginner mode.

What is it about not being immediately accomplished that gives rise to insecurity? What is it about the journey of learning that seems to kick up the willies for me? Is it as simple as the fear of not being good enough? Is it the need to be perfect? Is it the shame that I am not living up to my own unrealistic expectations?

Playing guitar has become a kind of yoga for me. I stretch myself and do things that are hard. Not just the chords–but things like putting myself in a space where I know nothing. Doing things I am not good at. Wow–this is NOT easy. When I put myself into this beginner space, all my stuff comes up and I notice it. If I listen closely I hear all the ways that I secretly find to tell myself I am not good enough, talented enough, nimble enough.

But I love playing guitar. I love the music that I can make. I love playing with others. Playing guitar gets me high in a way that seems silly for a girl who only knows 4 songs–it does and so I push through. And I try letting go of all the ways I have to stop myself from even starting.

Truth be told, this is so uncomfortable for me because I would like to think that I have already let go of all the insecurity. I like to think of myself as fearless. As someone who is comfortable being new. I am not sure what is more uncomfortable–the words that come up from this little gremlin in my head or the realization that I haven’t completely gotten rid of her ages ago. Letting go of that discomfort–the realization that I am still uncomfortable in my imperfection seems to be a big one.

And so I practice. I practice my chords, the easy ones and the hard ones too. I practice letting go of the negative mantras that haunt me–the thousand ways my ego has to torture me, all the ways I get in my own way. I practice being beautiful, being brave and being bold.

I practice.

One Response to “Practice”

  1. GreenishLady Says:

    Christine, one of the other bloggers I visit posted a piece from her horoscope recently. This post reminded me of what she’d shared:

    “AQUARIUS: The composer Stravinsky had written a new piece with a difficult violin passage,” writes Thomas powers, quoted in the book Sunbeams. “After it had been in rehearsal for several weeks, the solo violinist came to Stravinsky and said he was sorry, he had tried his best, the passach was too difficult, no violinist could play it. Stravinsky said, ‘I understand that. What I am after is the sound of someone trying to play it.” Keep this story close to your heart in the coming week, Aquarius. It will give you the proper perspective as you, too, go about the work of doing the best you can at a task that is virtually impossible to perfect.”

    Great story, huh?