A woman complained to a monk that she was unable to meditate successfully because she only felt anger and anxiety while doing it. The monk replied that meditation is not about achieving a state of bliss, but rather observing what is there in the present moment. The same applies on our road to mastery. Release the need for practice to be fun or blissful, and strive to become an unemotional observer of yourself as you work. To go deeper, you must learn to observe the observer.
March 4, 2021
I’ve spent over 35 years playing music. Through those decades, the focus for my musical passion changed several times: training classically from age 5-19, performing in cover bands in my 20s and 30s, then writing and singing my own music, supporting other artists on tours and in studio sessions, and finally coaching others along similar paths.
Some of those endeavors I pursued because I genuinely loved them, like playing classical piano. No one EVER had to tell me to practice. It was something I did adamantly on my own. Years later, pursuing songwriting was different. I knew I loved playing music and being creative, so it seemed like a natural progression to begin writing and performing my own material. However, I felt a lot of resistance to doing it. It took my friendship with another singer / songwriter, and seeing how naturally she gravitated toward writing daily, to realize this was not what I loved doing. My goals were more about who I thought I wanted to be, instead of what I wanted to do.
A similar epiphany hit when I began teaching, realizing it was work I naturally loved doing – sharing helpful tips, anecdotes and assisting others for years before officially getting paid to do it. This realization occurred again at age 40, when deciding to competitively train as a runner – intensely focusing on an activity I had always naturally loved doing. That was an especially confusing decision initially, because it caused me to choose between working on music or training athletically. Ultimately however, it has led me to some of the most fulfilling achievements of my life. I’m grateful to have allowed myself the flexibility to pursue what I was truly compelled to DO, and not be overly attached to my identification of BEING a musician.