March 21

Life is like playing a violin
solo in public, and learning
the instrument as one
goes on.

Samuel Butler


Today's Meditation:

How often have we heard how nice it would be if life were to come with an instruction manual?  How many times have we wished that we could have practiced certain situations before we actually had to go through them?  Well it doesn't, and we can't.  And here's the important part:  that's okay.  It's fine.

I can imagine going out into a public place with something like a violin, that I can't play at all, having to play a solo.  I don't necessarily like what I imagine, but imagine it I can.  And depending on how you look at it, it isn't necessarily so bad.  When we know we haven't had any practice at something, then doing poorly isn't a problem, and other people are usually quite sympathetic to us.  They laugh along with us, not at us, and we all have a bit of fun. 

If we look at life as a series of tasks at which we have to perform perfectly, we're setting ourselves up for some pretty miserable moments and situations.  If, though, we're able to keep our senses of humor and perspective, we just may find that playing a violin solo in public can be a lot of fun, even if we don't know how to play.  And if we remember that life is going to thrust us into situations that will challenge us without preparing us for them beforehand, then we can be a bit more gentle on ourselves when we don't perform perfectly.  We can do our best, but we have to keep in mind that our best at something we're new at isn't always going to be all that great. 

It's important that we be gentle with ourselves.  There will be mistakes and failures and missed notes and wrong notes all through our lives, but as long as we do our best to continue learning, that's all not only understandable, but expected.  You've been called to play a solo without any preparation at all except that which you get as you go along, so be proud of yourself for all that you've accomplished, and for the fact that the music still goes on.

Questions to consider:

If life were easier and less challenging, would we learn as much from it? 

What would you do if someone gave you a violin or a cello or another instrument you didn't know how to play and asked you to play a solo?  How would you feel?

Why do we sometimes feel we should be really good at something even if we've never done it before and never have been taught about it?

For further thought:

There are no classes in life for beginners; right away
you are always asked to deal with what is most difficult.

Rainer Maria Rilke


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