The Happiness Of Those First Few Notes

Have you ever woken up in the morning feeling joyful, only to find that a few seconds later your mind is flooded with dreaded thoughts such as “Oh yeah, I have an appointment for a root canal at 9am!” or “Oh yeah, my car blew up last night.” It’s as if your natural state is happiness and then thoughts, which are created by your mind, swoop in and ruin everything. Why do our hearts have to be filled with dread, when we could just enjoy the moment? (If we insist on dreading something, why not just dread it for the very short time that it actually hurts?)

Similarly, when I’m playing music, the first few moments of a show are so fun and feel wonderful! Then quickly my mind starts to come up with reasons why the gig is not ideal- maybe because I play a wrong note. If a wrong note lasts only for a second or two, why does it cast a pallor over an entire gig? Why isn’t it possible to just say “Darn!” and forget about it and move on?

If I come home from a gig and Nancy asks me how it went, I usually judge the gig on how well I performed- if I played some wrong notes, then everything seems ruined.

But that doesn’t make sense: does it really matter whether one musician messed up a few notes? Didn’t people still have a great time? As a human, don’t I deserve the right to be imperfect and be forgiven for it? Why can’t the happiness of those first few notes last forever?

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