How we do one thing is how we do everything is a concept I was introduced to in Guitar Craft. Am I paying attention, present with the task I am performing? Can I be aware of my body, mind and heart while playing one note? While playing a piece of music?
For myself the answers depend on my foundational practices. Reflecting on my thoughts and actions in my journal sheds light and insights into my being. Practicing Qi Gong in the morning serves not just my health and spirit but informs how I use my hands. Without my sitting practice I’d be lost in monkey mind and emotions.
Every day I root myself to the Creative Spirit and the Universe with these practices. Then when I open the guitar case something becomes possible.
After breakfast I had Brian Eno’s Shutov Assembly playing as I was trimming my nails and taking care of a couple things. My wife was writing. As I went to practice I was about to turn it off and decided it would be a gentle distraction for me to help get me ready for the gig. As I settled in, I decided to improvise some single line melodies through the ambient soundscape of Eno. Liking what I heard, I got out my phone to record myself. A sweet melody emerged.
Then I moved onto Searching. And decided to video this also. As I brought my hands to the guitar I realized my palms were perspiring a bit. Just like a performance. I out a small amount of talcum powder on. The challenge of Eno in the background was helping my focus. With a quiet mind I was moving through the piece when the thought arose about the difficult phrase coming up. I told myself “let it flow” but playing with those few seconds of anticipation were enough to blow the line. More thoughts arose and it took me a couple breaths to return to the present moment of my playing. Where would I be without my foundation?