A mind is a terrible thing.
Perhaps you've heard of the concept of Monkey Mind. Even if you haven't heard the term, I'm sure you're familiar with the experience it refers to. It's a very human thing, to have all manner of thoughts scurry through one's head while trying to focus on a task or otherwise keep the mind still. The mind doesn't want to keep still!
Sometimes it seems that the more crucial it is to quiet the chattering and concentrate on an important task, the noisier and more obnoxious the Monkey Mind becomes. I've noticed this while getting ready for my recital. I need all the focus I can muster right now, but my monkey has been kicking up quite a ruckus!
One issue is what goes through my mind while I'm actually playing the piano. You'd think my mind has enough to do just looking at notes and sending the signals to my fingers to play them, but random thoughts do creep in, from whether it's too hot or cold in the room, to that thing that guy said the other day that annoyed me. Or, if I feel I'm playing well, I'll start thinking, "This is going really well!" or, "Dang, I'm good!" which basically guarantees that I'm about to go splat. Chiding myself doesn't work any better -- no point in thinking, "That bit didn't go quite how I wanted" when that bit is in the rearview mirror.
Performing music is a very Zen activity. The only thing that really works is just to take it moment by moment, not worrying about what just happened or what's going to happen in a few minutes. And if something goes less than perfectly, you have to instantly forgive yourself and move on.
I find myself having to keep an eye on my thoughts while away from the piano as well. I can feel myself starting to freak out, and I know that there's no cheese at the end of that maze, so I tell myself to knock it off. I'll tell you what, I'm in favor of all manner of new-age, woo-woo, power of positive thinking techniques right around now. I don't know whether there are atheists in foxholes or not, but I'm quite sure that the Green Room is no place for Debbie Downer!
Here's one funny thing I noticed: I've started having the urge to tie up any and all loose ends in my life. To return anything I've borrowed, to spring-clean the house to within an inch of its life, to make sure I'm good with all my friends and family. Geez, it almost sounds like I'm stepping in front of a firing squad instead of onto a stage! ;) But it's just so I can be free of little nagging thoughts that like to come up while I'm doing something difficult that requires deep focus.
I imagine that high-level athletes training for big events have similar experiences. I think if I were preparing to run a marathon, I would be wrestling with my mind this way, too. (I'll probably never know for sure -- I'll take my runner friends at their word!)
When I shared these thoughts with McDoc, he reiterated that I should give recitals more often. Evidently, there's nothing like assigning yourself a huge task to get yourself whipped into shape right quick!
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Several folks took up the task of sending in Top Comments!
From weatherdude and anonymous:
Trekguy66 posted this comment about a Senate pizza party (or lack thereof) in Granny Doc's diary today, and I can't get over how awesomely accurate it is.
polecat has the Ultimate Apex-to-Zenith Top Comment For The Ages. It has everything in it, including the answer to the ultimate question about life, the universe, and everything; the secret homosexual code (h/t Annieli); and the answer to where I left my keys this morning.
Or maybe s/he just messed up. I report, you decide.
I'd love to type a well-crafted nomination for brooklynbadboy's comment, but I literally can't stop laughing. Enjoy!
In my diary today titled Join our F****** PAC, Kos I included a poll of the best diaries ever, including:
- Delete my f****** account, Kos (ErrinF)
- Ways in Which John McCain is like Ted Kennedy (glower)
- Georgia candidate doesn't think past sex with mule will hurt his chances for Governor (memekiller)
To which I earned this hilariously inappropriate comment from Kossack RumsfeldResign. If that isn't Topcomment worthy, I don't know what is.
xxdr zombiexx succinctly explains a criticism often directed at Democrats.
weatherdude thought he needed serious help because he couldn't stop laughing at this. As I noted in a reply, I think he'd need serious help if he didn't find it funny. So, do you need help? ;-)
RumsfeldResign made an excellent observation about a significant improvement for this country.
From yours truly, virgomusic:
siduri tries to make sense of a right-wing troll diary. It's a good guess, I think.
Top Mojo by always-focused brillig!
Top 30 Comments excluding tip jars, first comments and stuff:
1) Well put. by TheBlaz — 154
2) Strong unions make for a strong middle class by pistolSO — 148
3) Goodness. The HCR was one of the most major by Timaeus — 138
4) Hmmm, lets see helped pushed through a stimulus by fromdabak — 136
5) Nice positive message. by TheBlaz — 135
6) JESUS H CHRIST ON A SOCIALIST FUCKSTICK MOUNTAIN! by brooklynbadboy — 112
7) And heckling him at Democratic fundraisers by Southside — 108
8) Sorry you're having a bad day but by anastasia p — 107
9) Damn friggin' straight. by wmtriallawyer — 96
10) Quantifying this, that's over 60,000,000 people by bobswern — 93
11) well thank you for by rexymeteorite — 93
12) Autumn put her safety on the line by pamindurham — 90
13) Ugh...the dichotomy of wealth in this country by OutOfManyOne — 90
14) Do you really think... by The Termite — 88
15) I've learned to not be surprised when the by LeanneB — 87
16) I'm pretty sure it was Wanda Sykes that said by Relevant Rhino — 86
17) Nail it on their freaking door, by Nulwee — 81
18) Of all the things I trust in... by APA Guy — 80
19) I missed the part where... by The Termite — 79
20) Hence the word "liberal" by cruz — 79
21) With all due respect.... by 57andFemale — 74
22) They had to break down the unions by sherlyle — 72
23) excuse me... by pamindurham — 69
24) Tipped, rec'd and tremendously admired for all by MinistryOfTruth — 68
25) I love Ms. Sykes, but I disagree with her here. by Colorado is the Shiznit — 67
26) then let's bust ass in november by Cedwyn — 66
27) Well, I live in NYC by sidnora — 65
28) I wonder when the netroots will wake up... by The BBQ Chicken Madness — 64
29) So let me get this straight. by Same As It Ever Was — 63
30) Excellent diary. by OIL GUY — 62
Top 30 Comments with no exclusions, aka the Tip Jar & Pooties list :-):
1) Tip Jar by The Termite — 555
2) I'm taking that bet. by wmtriallawyer — 483
3) Tip Jar by DJShay — 417
4) Tip Jar by The Electrical Worker — 347
5) Tip Jar by pamindurham — 320
6) Tip Jar by Granny Doc — 320
7) Equality nothing more nothing less. by LaFeminista — 273
8) Tip Jar by No Border Wall — 264
9) Tip Jar by bobswern — 255
10) Tip Jar by A Siegel — 221
11) Tip Jar by Deep Brain Diarist — 214
12) Blech. by Colorado is the Shiznit — 211
13) Tip Jar by nyceve — 155
14) Well put. by TheBlaz — 154
15) Strong unions make for a strong middle class by pistolSO — 148
16) Goodness. The HCR was one of the most major by Timaeus — 138
17) Tip Jar by Femlaw — 138
18) Hmmm, lets see helped pushed through a stimulus by fromdabak — 136
19) Nice positive message. by TheBlaz — 136
20) Tip Jar by KelleyRN2 — 124
21) Tip Jar by Unitary Moonbat — 116
22) JESUS H CHRIST ON A SOCIALIST FUCKSTICK MOUNTAIN! by brooklynbadboy — 112
23) And heckling him at Democratic fundraisers by Southside — 108
24) Sorry you're having a bad day but by anastasia p — 107
25) Scritchie Jar by triciawyse — 99
26) Damn friggin' straight. by wmtriallawyer — 96
27) Quantifying this, that's over 60,000,000 people by bobswern — 93
28) well thank you for by rexymeteorite — 93
29) Ugh...the dichotomy of wealth in this country by OutOfManyOne — 90
30) Autumn put her safety on the line by pamindurham — 90