Have you ever wanted to play piano?
I have – all of my life.
But, there was always something keeping me from taking lessons.
Whether it was not having access to a piano, not having access to a teacher, not having the money to pay such a teacher - or all 3 simultaneously.
Finally, at age 66, I had access to all three of these required resources.
So I began taking piano lessons a little more than 2 years ago.
It's been going well for the most part. What I enjoy most is just playing chord progressions and improvising.
The only problem has been that I've expected way too much of myself, especially in the beginning.
It's getting better, but for the longest time, it seemed that no matter what I did, it was never good enough.
That's not what my teacher said, but it's what my own inner critical voice deep inside me was saying with a very loud and dominant tone.
Sometimes I just wanted to give up playing altogether -- well, maybe not really give up entirely, but I wished I could be so much better than I was.
After about 6 months, I started recording my piano lessons. I didn’t want to miss any words of wisdom, tips or tricks that my wonderful piano teacher shared with me so abundantly.
The most surprising thing about listening back to the recordings was not that I’d captured the wisdom of my teacher. Rather, it was the contrast between what my teacher said about my playing – and, what my own inner critical voice said, out loud, in response to him.
On every recording, time after time, when I played back the recording, I'd hear him saying: “Bravo, Sunny! I’m so pleased!”
But then, what I heard next was shocking. Immediately upon the words leaving his lips, I would cut him off, not hearing a word he said -- and I'd proclaim aloud something about how I had messed up, or how I could do it better.
Why didn’t I even hear his praise in the moment? Ever? It was really true time after time that his praise was falling upon my "deaf ears."
Fortunately, I had the recordings to listen to after the lesson, when I wasn't in the “crush” of the moment. That way, I could actually hear what he said, and I could observe my own automatic reaction – that occurred every single time!
Sometimes during those lessons, I felt like a first grader – and sometimes I even broke down with my voice wavering, being on the verge of tears.
What was going on? Why the disparity between my teacher’s words and my own inner critical voice?
The piano and lessons were weekly and sometimes I felt as though I'd made absolutely no progress during the entire week.
My piano teacher is one of the kindest and gentlest people I've ever met! So encouraging! He says that if I were a first grader, he would tell me "Progress is Invisible."
Recently, one of my yoga students observed that as a yoga teacher, in almost every class, I always tell everyone: “Whatever You can do is Perfect for You!”
Then she asked me why can’t I give myself the same self-talk during my piano lessons, that I so generously give to my yoga students in my yoga classes, with total sincerity?
My piano lessons have been going much better now that I'm a couple of years into them, but I'm still fascinated by the relationship between perfection and imperfection.
What if perfection & imperfection are actually the same thing?
What if our Imperfection is actually Perfect for us at that particular time?
How can we remember this for ourselves, and not just for others.
I'm coming to believe that whatever Imperfection we perceive in ourselves or in others - whatever we experience in life, even if tragic, can actually be seen as being Perfect, if we take another look, from a different perspective.
What do You Think?
Have You ever noticed Yourself being Your own worst critic?
Do You sometimes find a Disparity Between Your Perception & Reality?
I Welcome Your Thoughts and Comments. 👀💖
You can write to me at: [email protected]
Blessings to You & Your Loved Ones,
~Sunny ☺ 💕💕💕