Imprints of Perfection

The Rub

I’m terrified. 
Truly. I know it might surprise you. 
Playing classical piano in front of people in a performance environment makes me super nervous.

Last year I made a commitment to my Higher Creative Intelligence. Any time I’m asked to perform, I'd answer yes.

I’ve made new friends at the Bolsa Chica Wetlands. Besides the birds. The sacred morning spot, where I sync with Divine Creative Intelligence, has gifted me some fantastic women last November (and a few men). Coincidentally I met Tania, the first of these friends on a Monday—the Monday after the weekend in which I made my divine agreement to generously share more music.

Suffice to say, I smiled serendipitously, on a recent morning, when Steph pulled out her digital calendar to schedule and lock in a date for a concert in my living room, around the piano.

I said yes. The date is set and my clock of unrealistic perfection is ticking. Incessantly.

At home, panic bursts through the front door: “OMB! Beethoven’s not ready and my fingers are rusty. Really rusty!”

Little do the ladies know I started plunking away nearly three years ago. With a plan to perform Beethoven’s 25 Sonata, in its entirety, from memory, at a concert, around my piano, in my living room. Just not yet, and especially not in three weeks (now it's less than two).

What if my memory and fingers don't cooperate like they once did as a child?

What will the audience think? Am I a classical-fraud? Will they be diappointed if I can’t play Beethoven semi-perfectly? Do I switch my repertoire?

What to do? What to do? What do I do? 

A Whisper: "Practice. Train. Perform to the best of your ability. Open your heart. Have fun. And let the rest go."

Ten days ago I sat at the piano and played a preliminary concert for my mother and her best friend. My best screeched to a sudden stop mid-song, when I threw my hands in the air, gasped, giggled, and then confessed: “I don’t remember the next part." We all laughed. But interestingly enough, they were both filming with their devices.

Maybe vulnerability is sexy to observe.

Welcome to the current climate in the pipeline of my creative intelligence. 

I curiously ask myself: “Why are you doing this?” I could easily skip the hours of practice and fill them generously with money making activities, important relationships in my life, or rest, relaxation, and fun. Truthfully I don't enjoy sitting at the piano warming up my fingers for almost 45 minutes, before I practice over and over and over and over and over and over the various sequences of Beethoven.

The Motive

An uninterrupted stream of creative intelligence lives deep within me. Within all of us. It’s always been there. When I was five years old I repeatedly asked my parents for nearly 18 months: “Can I take piano lessons?”

I’m conscientious, and mindful of my ego now, more than ever, and waking up to an illusive craving I sometimes have for attention. Which doesn’t seem to shrink as easy, with the ever growing trends and practices of social media.

With piano, for me, it’s clear-cut, and unattached from ego. It’s about generosity and duty. A sort of holy calling, to honor a spark of the Divine which ebbs and flows against the shores of my creative existence. 

Waking up requires generosity, especially when asked. 

My Course of Action.

I reach for a magic lesson: my copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s, Big Magic, and find an answer.

She expounds on words from the private diaries of the second-century Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius: “Do what nature demands. Get a move on—if you have it in you—and don’t worry whether anyone will give you credit for it. And don’t go expecting Plato’s Republic; be satisfied with even the smallest progress, and treat the outcome of it all as unimportant.”

I relate whole-heartedly to Liz’s personal confession: “It seems to be the case that if I am not actively creating something, then I am probably actively destroying something (myself, a relationship, or my own piece of mind).”

If you’re wondering how I’m dealing with discomfort and pain in my life this Winter. I'm sitting on my piano bench practicing regularly.

What about the imprints of perfectionism?

Boring. So 1983! How predictable and totally unimaginative of me. Rebecca Solnit sings, “So many of us believe in perfection, which ruins everything else, because the perfect is not only the enemy of the good; it’s also the enemy of the realistic, the possible, and the fun.”

Fun! I’m throwing a concert and I’ve given it a name. MASTERMIND: Lessons of Music on Mindfulness. If I don’t make it through Beethoven the first time around, you better believe I’ll “pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again.” 

Funneling my propensity for perfection into daily practice, I sit at my piano with a whole new attitude. A kind of warrior pose, meeting practice with wisdom, and fun. Scales and scales and scales. Focusing on a new found form of moving-finger-meditation. Each session, I envision an audience, gathered in my living room. I see your faces and sense your hearts. I submit to the Divine as we plan a program for the collective group. It’s coming together. A melody of courage certain to meet us that day and soften our creative fears.

At one point yesterday I became an observer suddenly moved to tears. The beauty and harmony in sound stopped me mid-song, this time it was subtle. Quiet and sacred. Grateful I bowed my head, pressed fingers to brow, and communed with an internal imprint from the music itself.

On rare occasions as I receive such a gift, I count my lucky stars. Oh to be an instrument as I sit and tickle the ivories of one!

Are you interested and available to attend this special concert? Would you like to be my special guest? There are a couple seats still available.

Sunday February 7 |  2PM-4PM
Huntington Beach, California

If you’re the recipient of a lucky golden ticket, be prepared to share a few thoughts, at the round-robin following the concert. We’ll explore two extremes: your creative intelligent dreams, and the stories of fear you’re continuously singing to yourself.

As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.
— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

You're welcome to email me directly and request a ticket:

Name *

Catch Up!
Season III, Viral Mindfulness Monday
A Winter's Mindfulness

Meet My Sklog