I did this mind map on Sunday (it's now Tuesday) and at the time I was really struggling.

It was getting hot in my room again, and I didn't realise until later, but I was getting a cold. I felt awful and although I knew I what I  wanted, I was didn't have the capacity to do it. I was losing the plot. I couldn't concentrate, I felt weak and fuzzy and lethargic.

I had lost the enthusiasm for driving my bus where I wanted it to go.

The next day was even hotter, and the head cold had really grabbed a hold of me.  I didn't practice and I felt like giving up. None of these great leaps forward felt possible any more.

Today, I played some concerto bits and excerpts to a colleague, and the difficulties of the last few days affected my performance. In earlier times I would have been really hooked into embarrassment and shame about 'not being good enough' and 'OMG that was awful, I wasn't perfect'.

When we started, I talked with my colleague about goal setting for our session today, and I said that my goal for the day was to 'stand up and play for him'. That is all. I could easily tick off that one.

In behaviour therapy, goals need to be achievable. It would not have been a wise goal for me to say 'I want to play really well'.

I can't control that goal. I can only control where my hands and feet go. I can't control the perfect production of hundreds of difficult, fast notes played in quick succession on a mercurial devil instrument like the french horn.

I can't control what my mind does when I miss a note or screw up a scale, or a note doesn't speak. 

From a few years of meditation practice, I have learnt that I cannot control what my mind does. But, I have developed the noticing skills, and I see more often when my mind has wandered off from where it is needed. 

And then I gently and kindly bring it back to the present moment, to where it can be useful to me.

Deborah HartComment