My 365 days writing challenge is progressing nicely, I’m already close to 60 days of continuous blogging and the habit is starting to stick. Since I’m getting more and more comfortable with it, I decided to give it a little bit of a structure. I already have two posts that I know for sure I will write every month (the guitar update and the writing challenge update) but I believe a weekly post will add more flesh and consistency to my routine.
So, I decided that every Monday I’ll post a “moving forward” kind of post. I named it “Monday Moving Forward” and it may be a personal story, a short tip, an example, something that will hopefully help you to move forward, to get unstuck. Mondays are notoriously slow and clogged, at least for me, so every little kick that I get for making the start of the week more agile is welcome. Without further ado, let’s start the first one.
Tomorrow my monthly guitar update post is due, it will be exactly 6 months since I started to learn to play. Every month I record a small song, in order to gauge my progress. To keep myself accountable, I also post it on my YouTube channel. So, yesterday, being it a Sunday, which usually is a slow and cozy day, I started to work on recording the song, which for this update happens to be a superb piece called Spanish Romance. Recording involves a relatively complicated setup: I have to hook up my acoustic amplifier, the USB interface and the laptop (which is lately showing some signs of old age). I obviously also have to play the song at least decently.
Yesterday this whole process went really slow. And not only wasn’t I able to play at least decently, but when I managed to get close to that, the laptop didn’t record properly, or the volume wasn’t correctly set up, or whatever. To make a long story short, it took me a few good hours to record a 2 minutes song. During these hours I’ve been incredibly frustrated. “Smash your guitar against the walls” level of frustrated. At times I felt like my presence was exuding frustration just like my body exudes sweat after a two hours run. It was very, very uncomfortable.
But, during this whole whirlwind, I remained relatively calm. I didn’t lash out at anybody, nor did I – luckily – smashed my guitar against the walls, which were both things I would do in my younger years. This time I managed to remain calm by applying two simple things: acceptance and non-action. Here’s how they work together.
Accept And Don’t Act On It
So, as the feelings of frustration started to build up, I decided to accept that I’m frustrated. I wholeheartedly let those emotions flow through me, without resistance. “Ok, I’m fucking frustrated right now because nothing seems to work, so that’s it”. I accepted it from an observation point of view, not from an acting one. Which segues in the second part, in which I also told to myself: “Since you’re so fucking frustrated right now, please don’t act. Don’t yell, don’t punch the walls, the laptop or yourself.”
After a few hours of ordeal, I ended up with a decent video (you’ll see it tomorrow) AND with a clear, unclogged path for the rest of the day.
You see, moving forward is often a question of not steering astray, of not jumping the wrong train.
Yes, there are hurricanes at times, but it’s not compulsory to ride them. You can just observe them, accept them for what they are, and try to continue to do your thing. As you anchor yourself in this acceptance space, as you’re rejecting the hurricane invitation, but keep keeping your ground, something interesting will happen: you will slowly move inside of it, in the “eye of the storm”. And that’s a very calm place to be. It’s an area in which you will remain safe, for as long as you don’t act. The moment you start acting, you’re out of that space and the hurricane will take you for a spin.
Sometimes, moving forward is just a question of remaining still, instead of recklessly trying to push through.