A Karmic Connection to My Cello

Sprained wrist, sprained bicep…what’s next? I have no idea, all I know is that ever since I’ve picked up the cello and started performing again, I have had more injuries than when I was training in martial arts (and that was for 5 years!).

 It hit me all of a sudden, as I went to hug a friend goodbye and quickly retracted my arm in pain, that I have been expiating a lot of my negative karma via music.

Case #1: For my very first performance on the cello as part of an ensemble, and years after my last recital (a traumatizing and life scarring moment where I froze for what felt like ages before the piano keys stopped swimming before my eyes), I was SICK. Real sick., and it came out of nowhere. But I was determined. It was my very first performance on an instrument I had been dreaming of playing for years, and within six months of my first lesson I was about to perform! So I loaded up on medication and worked through it.
But then….
Case #2: Within my Buddhist organization, SGI, I joined a performing group called the Fife and Drum Corps. Now even though I started on the cello, it was decided that it was a bit tricky to work a string instrument into the music with the other mainly wind instruments, and so I picked up the flute. That itself was a major challenge for me, because I had finally taken the steps to fulfill my dream of playing the cello and paying for lessons. Looking back now, that experience of learning a new instrument allowed me to develop my skills on the cello, as well as undergo quite a bit of human revolution, so now I can say I am thankful for the opportunity.
And so I played the flute, albeit with a slightly broken heart. This happened to coincide with a pretty dark point in my life where I lost sight of a lot of things, lost my cello teacher, put off finding a new cello teacher and didn’t touch my cello for days at a time. This led to a slight decline in my attendance at rehearsals…and after a major performance in which we auditioned for a national competition, I completely shut down in a way I hadn’t ever before. I was an automaton, just going through the motions, being overworked and underpaid, and simply at a loss.

 Fortunately for me though, as I struggled to drag myself out of the pit I was in, I was asked to perform with the group on my cello (YAY!) for a meeting, and from there, after realizing I had to speak up for myself and explaining my deep desire to seriously connect to and stick with my beautiful string instrument, was heard out and understood by my amazing Kayo sisters, and allowed to bring it back into the mix!  Victory!!!

 Until…

 Case #3: We are once again competing to make it to a national competition, but step one in that process is making it onto the competitive team. In conjunction with this, I was heading the planning of our local district’s talent show, for which I wanted to play a piece on the piano with my best friend and district leader who is a bass guitar player. Wouldn’t you know that one day maybe a week and half before my talent show and audition (which were one day right after the other), while unwittingly trying to pick up a large stack of books one handed, I sprained my wrist.

 Seriously.

 So once again, I loaded myself up on medication, worked through the pain, and auditioned for the team, and uneasily played my way through the song on the piano (my first performance on the piano since that horrifyingly embarrassing piano recital all those years ago).

 I recuperated in Germany, and with the thrill of a a new adventure, the relief from the stress of work and some love and care, I was back in action and ready to start my new year fierce.

 As noted in my previous entry, Breaking Free, as my determination to get to Spain and have the most fantastic time grows, so does the number of my struggles trying to hold me back. Within the span of a week I was slapped in the face with issues I had brushed under the rug and long forgotten and refused to confront, and later on that next week, I hurt my right arm so much that I cannot bow. How it happened, I honestly have NO clue, and while I waited to see if it would heal on its own, it simply hasn’t…it’s actually gotten worse. And unfortunately, my injury is such that no medication is going to allow me to bow freely. Oh, and did I mention that we are filming our audition for the national competition this Sunday?

 Expiating negative karma through music, baby.

 It’s fascinating really and it makes a lot of sense. Even the amount of times that I flip flop about my determination in dedicating myself to music I think really is representative of what I need to work through via music. But what’s even more incredible is that, when I first picked up the cello, and even now once in a while, I wonder if I should pursue learning this instrument. That self- doubt kicks in…can I really do it? If so, why the hell do I keep injuring myself? Why do I feel like I’m not getting better? Why can’t I just sit down and practice some days? How can I possibly get better if I can only bring myself to practice 30 minutes a day, if that? So why is this incredible? Because I know it means I’m on the right path and that the cello really is my instrument in a way deeper than just being an instrument I will hopefully one day become extremely talented on. It is my instrument on the most fundamental level because it is allowing me to break through so many things in my life.

 I mean really, not tooting my own horn here, but I’m an awesome pianist. All of my piano teachers would chew my head off if I told them I stopped playing. It is an instrument that comes quite naturally to me. So why not simply stick to the piano and further succeed and probably go far in the field of music with that? Because the draw that I have long felt to the cello isn’t simply because of it’s resounding, deep, achingly melancholic sound…it’s karmic.

 So I will keep up the good fight. Everything right now is telling my to cave in to my doubts, my anxieties, telling me to give up my cello so I can travel freely (do you have any idea how much I want to travel, but how hard it is to go to half the places I want to go to with a cello?), and while my body very clearly is resisting compliance and not feeling what my heart feels for the cello, I am sticking it through once again. Though medication won’t help me work through this upcoming performance, I am reaching deep down for the conviction that my faith will.

 NMRK.

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