To start with a little self disclosure, after about a 15-year hiatus I recently picked up my cello and began the humbling experience of weekly lessons. The image of “cobwebs” doesn’t quite do this return to the cello justice; I’ve started back at the beginning, relearning my scales and bowing and it’s felt more like trying to scrub off rust rather than sweep off some dust. And even though some of this process has been frustrating, it has reminded me how important it is to work from a strong foundation, something I didn’t really get a grasp on in my earlier cello playing years.
Lacking a solid foundation, I built up “good enough” methods that got me through pieces and performances but required extra exertion and resulted in unnecessary strain. I was always trying to find ways to fix the errors that stemmed from poor form without acknowledging that I had poor form. Now, I’m taking the time to really solidify the basics so that each skill I add on grows out of healthy techniques.
The luxury of recreation is that we can have experiences like mine where we wipe the slate clean and start again from scratch. In other areas of life, the idea of making a core shift feels more inconvenient and may have implications beyond our instructor giving us extra homework…
The reality is that this willingness to actually look at what’s going on underneath all the strain and stress is the core shift. What follows comes from this moment when we turn around and look at our experience with the acceptance of what’s really happening.
Can you think of anything in your life that repeatedly hits a dead end or simply doesn’t work? Perhaps it’s an argument you have over and over again with your partner. It could be that you’ve surpassed your household budget every month for the last two years. With the start of a new school year, maybe you’re being reminded of the never ending homework battle with your tween or teen. Whatever comes to mind may be an indicator that a core shift is in order.
Again, even though you notice and name it, you may not be able to implement changes instantaneously. This is OK and normal and nothing to panic over. What you can do from this moment onward is give yourself permission to stop expecting this fight, this month, or this assignment to be the one that works.You can live in the acknowledgement that what you’re doing isn’t working well and though this may cause your partner to wonder why you’re not fighting back, your spending to feel less fun, or your child to go to school a few times with her homework unfinished, it will free you from some of the strain that isn’t serving anyone, especially you.