imagine

I wrote earlier about my aha-experience with the word imagine, that it offers me the possibility of dreaming realistically. So what have I been imagining lately?

The first thing that came to my mind when I focused on imagine, was “imagine I would become a great shiatsu therapist with so many happy clients that I can do it as a job”. Right away a dream about a job! And indeed, it is even a quite realistic one, as I am currently training to become a shiatsu therapist. Only half way the first year of four, but still, working on it. I have not mentioned it before in this blog as I was trying to avoid subjects related to possible future careers, as this made me panic right away. So now I can start dreaming about it! Time to go to sleep soon, I will try to think about it after I turned out the lights, maybe I can continue dreaming about it in my nightly dreams!

Recently another dream became true, quite unexpectedly. I will not mention the subject as it is too personal. Actually it was the only very well defined dream that I had. That was of course my problem: if you are afraid of dreaming, you stop thinking about what you would really like… And then you don´t know what you want. But in this one matter I knew what I wanted and I got it! Right away I discovered a new dream, connected to the previous dream. So by dreaming I am now moving forward. That´s the way to go!

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empty head

Sometimes unexpected things happen. For the past weeks and months, I have been actively trying to achieve the feelings of success and self esteem. The results were varying from very satisfying to absolutely frustrating. As the summer holiday will soon start here in Finland, focus is slowly shifting from working to relaxation. My project has been rather on hold; I even didn´t finish the planned action of trying out the piano in our local restaurant. I haven´t written anything the last days. Preparing suitcases and buying necessary equipment has dominated my program in that level that I did not have to think about trying to be useful. Wonderful feeling.

Yesterday I reached a state of mind that I have missed for a long time: an empty head. I did not reach it during the yoga class; no, thoughts kept coming up all the time then. It happened very unexpected. I had promised our youngest son to buy him a skate board and protective gear and take him to the skate park. He had been practicing recently with his dad´s old skateboard and he seemed to really get in to it. As the skate board is adult size and he is only eight, it was a good idea to buy him a properly sized board. It was immediately clear in my mind that I would also take the old one, then I could try that instead of just sit there and watch him have fun. I was quite looking forward to it, as I had seen him improve rather rapidly. It made me eager to try it myself. My husband has been a real skater in his teenage years, but he quit shortly before I met him. I have never really seen him in action and I have never tried skating myself.

We went to the park, we started skating and two hours later I had to drag our son out of the park. Only then I realized that I had been thinking about nothing else than skating for the whole time. Just being in the moment, watching what goes on in the park, trying things out, asking advice from my son, being exited about every little piece of progress. No second I experienced fear of failure. An adult woman being on the board for the first time in her life, clumsy and slow, more to extremely experienced kids and teenagers swirling past me. I felt supported by the fact that there were some teenage girls practicing too, clearly already in a more advanced stage than me (less is not possible 🙂 ) but still rather holding back and still learning to really go for it. But even if they would not have been there, I guess I would have felt fine. Learning something from scratch is extremely interesting for me. I love it. Is that the lesson I can learn from this skate experience? That I just need a job where I can start from zero every day?

I never expected anything from this skating, that also makes this experience so great. I simply have not considered it as an activity, it just happened. I pick it up quite easily, probably because I have an excellent balance. In yoga classes or other practices where balance is required, I am mostly better than the teacher. And while I was skating, I was amazed about how close to dancing it comes! At least the simple, basic things I was learning, just moving forward without falling, taking soft turns and going down from very gentle slopes.

Another thing I realized already earlier and has been confirmed now, is how stimulating it is for me to have other people around. I love practicing in a group, but now it seems that simply being surrounded by other people doing similar things is just as satisfying. I just loved the atmosphere in the park, relaxed and cozy. A job being home alone all day is definitely not my thing!

dreaming

I discovered two new action fields today! The session with the psychotherapist was very productive 🙂 I will tell you first about my plan to learn how to dream in a realistic way.

In this post I wrote about my problem of dreaming too big. Inflating a small idea to a huge balloon. I discussed this with my therapist today and got some very interesting and hope giving insights. I found out why I call it too big: the moment I get an idea, I expect myself to realize it; fully, perfectly and as soon as possible. Have to, have to, have to. The perfect recipe for certain failure. Big balloon – small needle; poof, dream gone and one more reason never to dream again.

My therapist mentioned how nice it normally is to dream about what you wish to achieve. I checked if I could imagine that, being simply happy about having a dream. And there it was, the word imagine. Imagine people would like to read what I write. Imagine someone would feel supported by my stories about my project. IMAGINE is the magic word of the day! The moment I add imagine to my idea, it stays a wonderful possibility instead of turning into a monstrous stress. I can keep thinking about the idea without getting frightened about failing. It is just a dream, not more and not less, just like it is meant to be!

I do not know if anybody else experiences too big dreams like I do. For that reason I add explicitly what an immense relieve this change brings. It feels like having studied for a math test for hours on end without having even a clue what it is all about, and then suddenly finding a small piece of information that makes it all clear in matter of seconds.

Imagine… just the taste of this word in my mouth, the sound of it, typing it over and over again, it makes me feel happy.

Thanks to this word I can start dreaming again. I will keep you updated about this adventure!

next step restaurant plan

I had felt quite stuck with the restaurant plan (more about it in this post) for the last weeks. I had asked the owner of the local restaurant if I could play the piano sometime during lunch time for instance. He had said yes, but had not been too enthusiastic. I felt uncertain how to bring the subject up again. I just waited for something to happen to create some movement.

A couple of days ago I came up with an idea to get it going again. First I thought that I could go maybe once in the afternoon, when there are less customers than during lunch time. That felt better, but still not good enough to get me acting. Later I found the perfect solution: I want to go there first at a time when there are no customers at all. Just testing the piano, practicing some songs and see how the owner feels about it. Very simple: instead of focusing on playing the piano for audience in the restaurant, I started thinking about what could make us both (me and the owner) feel more relaxed about the whole plan. Focus on the process instead of on the desired outcome. Of course, that is what my whole project is about, how could I forget!

Today my morning program was still open, and all of a sudden I thought “I could go and practice in the restaurant now, before lunch time starts”. I could feel it in my body that I was acting a bit rushed, but still I picked up the phone and called the owner right away. I didn´t want to wait because I feared I would think too long about it and then the opportunity would be gone.

The phone call was a good lesson. I should have given myself some time to prepare better for the conversation. The main mistakes I made, were only thinking about my side of the story and wanting to go too quickly. It turned out alright: we agreed to come another time.

Now I know that I need to focus first on the “client” and how he would perceive this. For instance: the owner of the restaurant is not interested in my time table, but very much occupied by his. The moment I called him was about half an hour before the restaurant would open. In my eyes: just enough time to have fifteen minutes of practice there. In his eyes: possibly the most stressful moment of the day.

The fact of wanting to go too quickly is one of my typical pitfalls. Pushing final plans under peoples nose does not generally make them too happy. They like to get the chance to have some influence, to negotiate. Instead of suggesting that I could come and play in five minutes, I should have asked him what he thinks about the idea of me coming to practice and when would be an appropriate time. Funny fact: I did consciously try to slow down, only not enough. My original plan was to just jump on my bike, cycle to the restaurant with my music sheets in my back pack, and ask the owner face to face if I could practice right away. So still less gas, more brake…

The owner suggested I could come and try next Monday afternoon, when the restaurant is closed but he is there anyway. I could hear he was still not too enthusiastic, but also found out what his main concern might be. He is not sure about condition of the piano, is it good enough to play. In case it needs to get tuned, he should have a professional over. While I mainly think about the nice opportunity for myself and use the side effect of “it might be nice for the restaurant too” as a sales argument , he sees possible costs and hassle on the front stage. So really good to go there on Monday keeping the first goal in mind: check the state of the piano. After that, the opportunity can open up again.

new realization

Yes, last week Thursday was the concert in my son´s school. It was a marvelous experience! There were about 150-200 people in the audience: all the participating children and their parents. When it was the violists turn to play, about 10 children and the teacher were on the stage. I was sitting behind the quarter wing piano, that was standing in front of the stage.

The parts I played were very easy, but still I had been making a lot of mistakes during the days before the concert. I was a bit worried about that, because it would be rather silly if the performance would suffer from my playing; it would have been better to be without pianist then! Luckily I didn´t have to play immediately, as first some already more advanced violists played a song without accompaniment. Just sitting there and experiencing the wonderfully relaxed atmosphere of the teacher (even on stage) made me calm and ready to play. It went really well! Of course I made some small mistakes but no disturbing ones, and the moments I played alone (start of every song) were flawless. In the end I really started to enjoy the feeling of performing and making music in a group.

I even received a rose afterwards, just like all the instrument teachers. I guess they just happened to have a spare one, but it made the experience of playing for a real audience even more real

water ballet

I know that the official word nowadays is synchronized swimming, but I prefer the name they used before.

It has been years already now that the wish to try water ballet pops up every now and then. The halfhearted searches I made in the past gave me the impression that the offer of classes is limited to kids and youngsters. Too bad if you never tried it when you were young.

But… this week I decided to dig deeper, really ask the different swimming schools about the option instead of waiting until I found a suitable course. Today I received an encouraging email. Next autumn there will probably be an adult starters course synchronized swimming in Helsinki! If they have enough participants. Now I just need to convince all my friends to join me and then the adventure can start in autumn 🙂

If I compare this action field to playing the piano, it feels like an easy one. I just love being in the water, moving around following music, I can swim well enough, and sure I will learn to hold my breath longer. But then I read the Wikipedia in Dutch about synchronized swimming. The list of qualities you should have if you want to start this sport is completely discouraging:

  • the leniency of a gymnast
  • the condition of a swimmer swimming the 400m crawl but with less opportunity to breathe
  • the body control of a figure skater who makes figures, jumps and turns, but then in the unstable water
  • the power of a water polo player to get out of the water as high as possible
  • The elegance, sensitivity for music and feeling for choreography of a dancer

So in short: a combination of five well practiced sportswomen. Of course they are talking about competition, and that is not my plan!

yes, did it again!

There were three violin students attending the “Suzuki first book play through session” today. Plus the teacher supporting and four parents (including my husband) watching. It was a lovely audience to play with/for!

P1310056

me accompanying three young violin players on their first Suzuki play through session

During my own piano recital, the focus was all on me. This time I was only accompanying, so doing the “less important” work. It felt really nice to be part of this musical team instead of doing it on my own. And I felt so useful! Afterwards the teacher thanked me; if I would not have played the piano, she would have, but then she could not have played along with the students, which is a great help for them.

I noticed it was easier to relax in this setting than during my recital, but still I was not able to get the stress completely out. I made these mistakes just because of the stress. Now I am wondering how this continues: does the stress get easier when you practice playing for an audience or does it go on and you just learn to make less mistakes? Curious if I will ever find out…

We are very lucky to have such a wonderful teacher for our son. She is very patient with the children and everything around her feels easy and simple. The pressure to succeed or to be someone you are not is completely absent. Everybody is perfect the way they are. So today also I have been lucky to be playing alongside her and sharing in this wonderful atmosphere, that is so different from the one I experience during my own musical studies.