Struggle #1

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I’ve scheduled out this week, starting last Saturday, fitting in three practise sessions each day and the rest of my life around that. But two-and-a-half days in and I’m starting to struggle.

Saturday I was just starting out. Getting back into practise after a break (and before that a period of chaotic and largely damaging panic practise) made me feel a bit rusty. But I was forgiving of myself. Then Sunday I was elated! I’d successfully got through one day, and this second day everything was easy! My flute sound was great, the minutes flew by in my practise session – it was only in the very last one at the end of the day that I slowed a little – and I was excited about my new program.

Alas, today things started to go awry. Whether because I’d overdone it the previous two days, or some other reason, I was tired today. Practise was hard. My stomach muscles felt fatigued, and my blood sugar dipped. It was the first time I encountered that niggling little voice that says “I don’t want to practise”.

Determined to make the day go well anyway, I made my mantra “stay with the discomfort”. I had some success – I did an extra half an hour this morning when I really felt like doing nothing more – but this evening after teaching I failed to pick up the flute again. It stands, glaring at me from its perch. I’m cleaning it and putting it away now.

What happened?

I didn’t waste all my time, I spent it doing tasks that did need to get done: contacting referees for my Lord Mayor’s Fellowship application, looking up accommodation options in Cologne for my stay April through June. But I did get disheartened by little things, like when I went to start making dinner and the kitchen was messy, I just turned straight around and didn’t go back in there. The idea of having to teach (more than the act itself) was a funny kind of draining. I watched the storm and after it was done I took Ernie for a walk in the drizzle and golden sunlight through/under the clouds and marvelled at the sometimes beauty of this city, this street. At a certain point I decided I could do maybe 30mins more practise. But I didn’t (willpower is a finite resource). And I feel kinda sad about that.

Still, tomorrow is a new day. And what can I do, if I don’t feel in to and up to it one hundred percent? I’ve been practising centering, scheduling it in, and I feel it could be super helpful once I’ve really got the hang of it. It could bolster a sudden flash of determination, give it the strength it needs to turn into actual practise. Likewise breathing exercises and meditation and a cup of Holy Maté or roasted dandelion with soy (if I’ve hit my caffeine quota).

Tomorrow is full of hope because there are no appointments or commitments (asides pilates in the morning, kind of relaxing in its own right), just me and some quiet reading time and Ernie B and plenty of flute.

Also, an idea: if I skip a practise session I have to write a blog post, questioning why did I do that and how can I not do it next time? Kinda like this one.

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