This Experiment: Cello Lesson #2


The do’s and don’ts:
Do: get to know your instrument. It’s so beautiful, almost intimidating.
Don’t: drop your iPhone on this said beauty while attempting, what, proof?
That I’m actually trying to learn to play what many consider, the most difficult string instrument there is? Also, I’m a little more than nervous because, this isn’t my cello.
I’m renting it, month by month.

I’d been thinking about this learning to play the cello business for quite some time now. The sound has been lurking at the peripheries…plucking away at my heart.
All of the moments and situations, including movies and TV shows that use cello as background music. All these causes and conditions that led me to YouTube where I discovered Zoe Keating and Jamie Sieber, most recently.

And then, I say out loud what I’ve been thinking inside for months…”I want to learn the cello.” You know that feeling, how you feel, when you decide to say something out loud for the first time? That feeling of, “this is becoming real as I create/define a boundary around a thought”. And then, the thought becomes this series of events that finds me at the local violin shop signing a rental agreement and walking out of the store with a cello in a big black padded carrying case.

And, it’s a week later. Already. Every day I take the cello out of it’s padded home. I carry it gentle as I would hold an infant. Watch videos that show me the proper “bow hold”. I’m surprised at the largeness. Then, questions, doubts. Can I even do this? Will my mind get in the way? Can I physically do this? Maybe I just need a smaller size?

Just what exactly the hell am I doing? There’s not only the emotional and physical investment, there is a fairly hefty financial investment. What I can answer after 6 days is,
I’m following something inside that’s directing me to connect with an instrument that, even with simple open string bowing fills the body with sound, vibration and a sense of embodiment that is new to me. I wonder if this is one of the things I might be looking for?
That playing the cello will bring me/take me/allow me to experience my life, this world in an even deeper, more intimate way?

And then I had the thought, “Maybe this is just a distraction, to keep me from editing my book!” Or, perhaps it’s something to do with, yet another way to create new neural pathways, habituate another healthy habit that takes me out of my mind. And in as much as I need to think, pay attention, concentrate on what I’m doing, this is far different than creating story line after story line.

I’ve gone to bed the last two nights thinking, “well, I’ll know more by the months end, when I need to decide whether I want to continue renting or stop all this silly nonsense.
But, that’s not true either. I know it’s not silly. I’m  wanting to honor what I’m hearing inside. Because, there’s this passion I’m feeling, to not waste any of my present moments, you know? Erin’s’ passing taught me this.
To the degree that it’s possible. To this degree of:
motivation – in Buddhism there’s always this question, “what is your motivation?
for doing
anything, really.
My motivation isn’t so that I’ll be able to eventually play in the community orchestra, create some special sound that I’ll want to package and sell. It’s not even because I”m looking for another identity, so I can call myself a musician now.
(and perhaps any or all of the above!)

No, I’m not looking to call myself anything really. In fact, I’m really walking towards letting go of all identities. All of the things that I do every day; the work, the writing, the photography, all of my breathing in and out.
All things that occur and make up “Mary’s life”, I’m just intending to “be” and continue finding the most authentic Mary at every/in any given moment.
That’s all.
That’s it.
Just this.
This experiment.

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