Straining for ease

Spent some time recently with a friend whom I really admire. What strikes me the most is how calm and relaxed I feel around him. His sense of ease is contagious.

He’s not rich. He doesn’t have an inside secret or some sort of special claim to ‘security’. In fact, his ease seems to come from the realization that the idea of ‘security’ is a sham. And I agree.

Once I let go, then I can relax.

From a photo by Nacho Blasco

Admittedly, some of my very best recorded performances on guitar have happened just after I made a mistake. In the microsecond that followed, I thought to myself, “what the hell… this take is ruined anyway. Might as well goof around now. I’ll erase it and do a real take in a minute…” And with that, magic would pour out.

I thought I was pretty clever when, upon recognizing the emergence of this pattern, I decided to try to outsmart myself. “This doesn’t matter, so I’ll just goof around,” I’d say aloud in an otherwise empty studio, to make sure that I heard it with my own ears. But in my mind, I was trying to set the stage for the BEST PERFORMANCE EVER. It was like trying to catch my own shadow. Flopped every time.

The magic can only flow when I truly let go of any sort of attachment to a particular goal or outcome. In a word, “surrender”. (At this point, my guitar chimes in: “Not just cleverly ‘pretend’ to surrender, Mister Smarty Pants.”)

There’s a big part of me that doesn’t like the idea of surrender. It’s the part that believes it is in charge. Of, like, everything.

Of course, it’s not. And when I acknowledge that and sink into surrender, willing to simply watch, listen, and experiment without judgment, I come into contact with magic. The magic that surrounds me 24/7. The very same magic that I could be experiencing in each moment of my life, if only I would close my mouth and set aside my agenda. If only I would stop straining for ease.

How about you, Fellow Magical Architect? How does surrender play out in your art? In your life?

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1 Comment

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One response to “Straining for ease

  1. Michael Birchard

    Hmmmmm, I think it was your father that told you as a child that “when your mouth is open your ears are closed and when your ears are open your mouth is closed”……….a lesson he learned the hard way and wanted to share with you so you would not have to learn it the hard way. It worked……..

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