learning to surf
It is a bit of a cliché, ripe for the inspirational quote poster and Instagram pic, or as one of my younger clients call them, nana memes -
You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf
but I vividly remember the moment when I first really experienced this for myself.
I had just started playing after three or four years of complete horn retirement. I had spent those years working intensely on my mental sanity and physical fitness.
I had a fairly big concert that night with a very difficult, exposed entry that is a bit legendarily scary in the horn world. It had gone pretty well in the rehearsal, and in the first performance. I was walking out of a doctors appointment where I had been telling him what I was playing that night and as I walked out the door, thinking about the concert that night I felt an enormous cold wave of anxiety wash over my body.
It was visceral, tangible and for once I was able to name it. Describe it. Watch it come and watch it go. And then come again and again and again over the next few hours. I can't really remember how that concert went, but that day and that realisation was a gift.
Now every day I am learning more about surfing.
Learning to surf means noticing the waves of lethargy, disinterest; riding waves of thoughts like 'I don't want to practice', 'this is boring', 'everyone will think I am stupid' or 'I'd rather be watching Scadi Noir' and head towards developing a life that I care about.
Instead of being taken off into the rip by those waves I just watch them come and go, ride them out.
And wait for the next one.