As much as we humans may fight it, right now – the present moment – is the only moment we have. It’s etched in the words of the philosophers and 12-step programs. “One day at a time.”
My core artistry is music. And I’m often a perfectionist about it. The trick is that my voice may crack, my fingers may slip on the keys or the string may snap out from under my fingers. If this is what happens in the moment, I have choices about how to see it. I can call it a failure. I can see it as a reason to practice more. I can fall into a well of frustration about it. Or any of a myriad of other options, none of which are invalid choices.
The alternative that musicians and artists sometimes miss is that we can also make these part of the creative process. Well, this is the alternative that I often miss. Suppose that I fully accept the cracking voice or the finger slip. What would this look like? This new perspective is extraordinary and expansive. When I incorporated the “mistake” into my musical creation, imagine the new choices that lie in front of me. Suddenly the limiting “failure” becomes a springboard of the muse. The possibilities stretch all the way to the horizon and back again. I can instantly have a new turn of musical phrase or a fresh ad lib. or an impromptu cadenza where there was previously none. Instead of the distracted worry about what just happened, this approach brings me back to the momentum that is happening now.
So, just for now, I will accept the way my limitations and foibles show up in my musical outpourings. I will turn them into something beautiful. And perhaps — just maybe — this musical way of being will teach me something about life.