I’ve fallen in love again—with a cello! A couple of months ago, I acquired this beauty, and it’s a wonderful addition to my life. And even though I have a good background in music and played the piano for years, my relationship with the cello has put me on a fresh path of personal development and learning.
The cello is quite a new experience, on various levels. For example, the frequency of the notes is exactly opposite from a piano—on the keyboard the higher the note, the further to the right the hands are. On the cello, the strings further to the left release the higher notes. So I have to think differently and practice, practice, practice to retrain my hands and body.
Beside the occasional pure, resounding notes that somehow come forth from this already treasured instrument, something else that I love about practicing has emerged: I’m experiencing new feelings about myself, about music, and about this particular growth opportunity. I’ve discovered that the more I relax and allow myself to be a complete beginner, making one screeching sound after another, the more I’m in appreciation of the entire experience. Any attempt to rush my progress or to manipulate it in some way has only resulted in frustration.
The take-away lesson here, of course, is that when we try to “make something happen” (in ourselves), we often wind up working against ourselves. Indeed, being where we are is an important part of this understanding. I wasn’t expecting this lesson to come (again!) from the cello, but of course it did—it’s part of my life!
This is a perfect illustration of some of the forces at play in personal development. We approach something new as who we are, but all too often we want to jump quickly to a desired endpoint. We leave ourselves rather than staying with where we actually are. In my case, as someone who loves the sounds of the cello produced by Yo Yo Ma, I was unprepared for the results of my own first efforts. In other words, I began with where I wanted to be, not where I was. I was not bringing my presence to those initial couplings with the cello.
In your life, I’m sure you have similar examples of how we treat ourselves in relationship to our own growth processes. Please journey with me and the cello as I explain in my next blog more about the role of personality in these situations—and how we frequently misunderstand the power of personality as we move forward and develop.
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