Miracles In Practice
Almost like it was yesterday, I can hear the piano in the background. My mother, the teacher, having her students say the notes out loud, then count out loud, and then sing! Brutally strict about what finger you used to play which note, she wouldn’t even be in the room and she’d know I used the wrong finger. I marvelled at how she always knew. My mother, the travelling piano teacher.
What a gift she was given, yet in her life she could only see that we didn’t have any money and so, survival was the thing she focused on. Yet my mother can play. Despite what we were living through, my mother would sit down at the piano everyday and listen to the music. A gift that continued to give for all of her life, it was always an afterthought. She worked all day and then would travel to homes all over to teach kids to play piano. I can still hear her saying to each and every student, “Practice makes perfect, there’s just no way around it.”
In all pursuits to find peace, inner awareness and self-love I read endlessly, searching for answers. A voracious appetite for knowledge, I can always hear the sound of my mother’s voice: “Practice makes perfect.” The art of loving myself and living more wholeheartedly certainly does not resemble the piano lessons I tediously played as a child, but those lessons are embedded on my soul.
When my mother was tired and penniless, she still played the piano. Was this her soul’s calling? Does the instrument of our soul sing the loudest when we have nothing left?
What song would you sing?
In Thomas Bernhard’s novel ‘The Loser’, a character goes as far to say: “The ideal piano player is the one who wants to be the piano.”
I didn’t receive this message of grace, purpose and practice back then, but I witnessed it every day in my mother. Had I known then that “Our hand is only the instrument for a larger and deeper creative reality that is coming through” perhaps then, like now, I’d have longed to be the piano, the instrument rather than the player.
I’ve searched for the ‘how’, my Type A personality starving for specific tools, things to actually apply and use on this pursuit. I’ve read the theory, and now I long to play and practice the art of Self-Love and Self-Care. Perhaps simply turning the attention to the way of my soul will continue a practice of self-care even without my conscious awareness. Every day, my mother sat at the piano, completely focused on those students, ensuring they practiced and listened to the music. Was that the grace that kept her alive without her knowing it?
We hear a lot of ‘busy’ talk: “I don’t have time to practice, learn, read, exercise, be …you name it.” If you start to examine this ‘truth’, just look at the hours in the day. Same hours. 24. Longer work weeks? Nope, still 40 hours. (Yes of the hours you actually work, they rarely exceed 40.) More days in a week? Still 7. So, what in the heck has happened? Where did your time go?
For the next week, log your time. At the end of your day, write down absolutely everything you did with your time. Evaluating it, where did you waste hours on absolutely nothing? Facebook? Twitter? TV? Is it possible for you to take some of your time back to begin a practice on something that makes your soul sing? To learn about yourself? Are you able to just start something?
What are you waiting for? Where in your life are you the piano, rather than the player?