All of life seems to be leading to the practicing of patience these days. Perhaps, it always has been but I am only just now opening my eyes to the importance of learning how to attain it.  Discovering ways to nurture and breathe into it.  While I have always known I lacked patience, I seemed somehow resigned to that fact, as if this ‘never enough’ and ‘hurry up’ way of life were a curse I could never be free of.  Never considering that patience is a virtue, an art really, one can actually develop.  Funny, simple concept indeed!
         These new thoughts have begun to spider web, brought on by a decision to master the piano, branching out into my life in ways I could not have imagined.

         I have the most incredible maestro for a teacher.  His name is Mario Merdirossian and we have been studying together for just about 6 mos.  He says the most incredible things when he talks to me about how to play.  He watches and listens and can hear the slightest hiccups in my playing so as to explain how and why to correct it.  Gems of wisdom, I hang on every word!  Taking it in, watching him play, showing me how the wrists must move, how the shoulders and arms are relaxed yet have weight, how the pinky finger needs to strike the key in a precise way or it will always be weak and so many, many other nuances I know are building a strong foundation.  One that will allow the ease and grace I want to embody when I play.

         This day my arms were tired, my shoulders were tight.  It just didn't feel good and I was beginning to get frustrated.  “Tension Comes From Anticipation,” he said.  It clicked the second he said it.  “Wait, let me write that down!” And so it is, pinned on the bulletin board which sits on my piano, reminding me to stay in each note.  Not to be ahead in the next phrase or in what’s coming up.  Not to think but just to be, let my fingers play each note led by the wrist and the arms.
         I have suffered under a lifetime of unrealistic expectations.  Imposed by self, by an egoist mind that would have nothing but perfection in every area. Always looking for ways my life or I fall short.  Ever building the ‘if this then that’ mentality, forever robbing me of the moment.

         And here it is, in the piano, I’ve found a place to practice letting it all go.  If I want to play like Mario one day I must learn to have patience.  I must allow that today I am where I am and it is enough.  I must sit down to practice at the level I am today, for no amount of thinking about it will make me better.  It will only come from the doing of the thing.  Mario says that if I find myself distracted at the piano I must get up and walk away, take a break, come back and only play when all my attention is in the keys.  It’s better to play for 15 minutes with absolute focus than 2 hrs with a distracted mind.

         Tension comes from anticipation.  Anticipation comes from the fear of not knowing.  In the piano the fear is will I play it perfectly?  No room for mistakes.  Will I be good enough?  When will I be good enough?  In life, the fear comes from a lack of faith.  What will happen to me?  How will I make ends meet?  Will I succeed?  Will they like my music?  Will I find love?  Will love find me?  Will my loved one heal their illness?  Will my dog be ok?  Will my child be happy?  Will my marriage survive?  Will I survive...whatever this is?  All these things in life that distract me from the present, that all have such importance, more importance than the moment or so I believe.  Ah ha, tension comes from anticipation!  I see! It is such in life too!  And so, I have begun to practice being in each note.  Not in the next note or even the next phrase but, giving each note importance and letting the melody unfold with grace and beauty.  As with the piano, so too in life.

         Rather than spending time anticipating today (a fancy word for being in the future) and thus causing tension, I endeavor to have faith, to let it unfold with beauty and ease.  Life has a way of being more full and awe inspiring when I let it happen rather than trying to determine and decipher it using my small mind that could never imagine such grace.  Already this journey between the piano and I is showing itself to be one of the soul.  And I feel grateful to bid adieu to unrealistic expectations dressed in costumes of anticipation.

Sonata for Piano No. 12 in F Major, K. 332: II. Adagio
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by: Carmen Piazzini

Suite Bergamasque, L 75: Clair de Lune (Orchestral Arrangement)
Composer: Claude Debussy
Performed by: Mostar Symphony Orchestra, Tibor Bauer & Ilmar Lapinsch

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