Nothing is permanent, except change
(Heraclitus – 500 BC)
Many musicians have secret rituals before going on stage. Although I am not exactly part of the club, there is indeed something I like to say to my gang such moments: “now don’t you worry, for something is sure going to get out of our control.” I do not say it in order to be funny or mean. All I want is to keep it real and bring up a simple fact: during a live performance something will happen in a different way than expected. There is nothing to do about it. Accept it, embrace the situation and go with the flow.
Actually, this applies for most situations in life. Last week, for instance, I was expecting funding for a project and I got pretty anxious about it (checking-messages-each-three minutes kind of anxiety). In order to distract myself, I kept working hard. It sounds strange, but it really works), which made me kind of proud of myself. So far, so good.
When the answer finally came out, it was not a good one. My mood changed immediately. All the pride suddenly disappeared, and I think it took a good deal of my vital energy with it. As an obvious result in such cases, the previous week’s “keep your hands busy” attitude has been replaced by a “what’s the point” prostration. Looking back to the situation, maybe I should have allowed myself to grief.
Trying to work further and not being able to, made me feel even worse (“you are lazy and that is why you did not get the gig“, said the voices in my head). The problem with ignoring sad feelings and pretending that nothing happened (“the important thing is to move on, after all a true winner never lets her/himself down blablabla…”) is that, sooner or later, all that pain you tried to throw under the rug will come back, usually bringing reinforcements.
Losses are part of journey of life and learning to deal with failures helps a lot to face difficult times. Trying to abruptly interrupt this natural cycle, introducing a routine of “nothing but winning” is not only a huge mistake, but also an enormous cruelty to oneself.
On the other hand, learning not to be cruel to yourself is a practice to be absorbed over life. And if you, on top of that, manage to be kind to yourself, then you are really lucky, my friend.
Be seeing you!