The scene ran across my memory like it happened yesterday instead of 10 years ago.
Adult piano lesson in my own living room…
“Slow down! You are playing like you are in a frenzy!”
He actually meant that I was not keeping a steady rhythm as I would get tense and speed up. Frenzy was a fairly strong word for it, but I wonder if that is what I look like in general sometimes. When things in my life get stressful, do I have a tendency to tense up and then pick up the pace?
Do I subconsciously think that if I start moving faster I can get through the issue quicker or perhaps even avoid it?
I’m convinced that those are the times in my life I could benefit from doing the exact opposite.
What if I allowed myself the space to step back, take several deep breaths, and “walk” very slowly, if not just stop and take a good look at the issue?
How could I even begin to understand what is unfolding if I’m doing the 100-meter sprint right by it?
What discernment I could gain if I took the time to take a hike around what’s troubling me and scope it out from all sides? There’s plenty of perspective to gain, but it takes shortening the stride, slowing the speed and of course being willing to yield.
I am pretty sure that speeding up and trying to run quickly by or around an issue is a resistance or avoidance technique and my brain has become pretty good at it. My hunch is you have some of your own ways of resisting or maybe you haven’t slowed down long enough to notice, you just continue to plow through.
What we don’t need to do is beat ourselves up for it, adding even more stress for our bodies and minds to handle.
We can start by simply observing what we are feeling and then take a look at what is happening with our thoughts. As it turns out, my thoughts were the key to my frenzied pace (and still can be if I don’t check them). I respected and admired my very talented piano teacher (and friend). My brain chatter sounded something like this…
“I’ll never be as good as he is!”
“I need to get better quicker!”
“I want him to be pleased with my progress.”
“I want him to be proud of me.”
I forgot to stay in the moment and remember that every time I played (even for my lessons) it was practicing the craft to improve.
My measure was my own playing and my progress was determined by me. I was the judge of where I was on the continuum of my own abilities. And yes, I don’t have the same gifting and ability level as he does and chances are I won’t play like he does, but I don’t have to be him, nor stack my competency against his.
Slow and steady…skill upon skill upon skill…is the key to improve.
I play a heck of a lot better than I used to and I am proud of myself for not letting what I don’t have keep me from using what I do have.