What I’m Grateful For: Trying to Learn the Cello at (Almost) 45
If anyone out there feels like they might be a bit too… proud of themselves, perhaps a little too in love with their own skills and accomplishments, maybe just a touch on the arrogant side…. Just decide that you want to learn to play the cello in the fourth decade of your life, and it will promptly put you in your place.
I have always loved the cello – it’s deep, rich tones just mesmerizing and evocative. The most beautiful instrument on earth, to my ears at least. (Well, when Yo Yo Ma plays it, not when I do! But more on that in a minute). So about a year ago I started taking lessons, excited to finally learn to play this most exquisite of instruments.
EXCEPT – as a beginner, the sounds that emerge from this glorious instrument are more like the howling and moaning of a distraught, lovesick bull married to a dying cat. My fingers hurt. My shoulders are in agony. It’s a long, humiliating process and definitely makes me feel small, humble and generally inadequate overall.
But this is the process of learning an incredibly difficult musical instrument for someone who is not a musical genius. It just takes time. And sore fingers. And practice that often feels like drudgery. Every now and then someone will say, “Oh it must be so relaxing to practice!” And I stare at them in disbelief….it’s pretty much the opposite of relaxing.
But it is …..Deeply fulfilling. I often fall asleep exhausted and dream about playing. It’s rewarding in a way that few other things are in life. Challenging, difficult, and rich. Meaningful. And I’m so grateful for it.
What I’m Reading: I am nearly done with Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday – and I am pleased to report, this is a stellar book. It’s not too long, and each chapter is a short read, but it’s really a good exploration of stillness as a way to discipline, self-mastery and focus. Drawing from Confucius, the Tao Te Ching, the Bible, Marcus Aurelius, the Stoics, and much more, Holiday explores stillness from the framework of the mind, the soul and finally the body. Highly recommended.
Web Tip: Your mobile user experience is so important. It’s more than just being responsive! Is your website thumb-friendly? Which of your digits do you normally use when you are browsing on your phone? If you’re like most mobile users, it’s your THUMB! Make sure that your website has call outs and contact buttons that are in “thumb reach” for your mobile users.
Quote I’m Pondering: “Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.