i've gotta be me
Today I pulled out a thick book of audition excerpts - the most difficult sections of orchestral works, cut into little pieces and stuck together in a big, fat pile.
I remember practicing this particular book about 10 years ago, in the same 35 degree heat (my practice room). So of course my mind goes straight back there - hours and hours of practice with my feet in buckets of ice water, sweat dripping, and really struggling with deeply entrenched anxiety. When I go through this particular book I note that there are lot of detailed 'safe' fingerings marked on the pages. I remember being obsessed with being 'immaculate', not ever missing a note.
I was pleasantly surprised that these excerpts that I had struggled with technically then, now seem much easier. I have done the hard work, both technically and mentally and I have deliberately loosened my grip with perfection.
So as I did yesterday, I noticed the clouds, my thoughts, feelings, memories, bodily sensations. Today they seemed to be lighter and more pleasant. But they are still just clouds. They come and they go. I have learnt from ACT to watch these thoughts and not to hold too tightly.
Even when I get a compliment, I notice the unhelpful tendency to get stuck in thinking about the compliment, over and over again, holding tightly.
And the upside of being 'too old' is that I also have lots of these experiences now draw on. I can now look back on the 'me' that did that audition from the 'me' now that is preparing for a very similar audition, with the added advantage of having incorporated some very helpful tools into my practice.
The world is a little easier from this perspective.
But if I take an even wider perspective, I can see the both versions of me, both doing their best with what they had.
I see from the 'me' that that has been here for as long as I can remember.