My Brain, My Banjo and Me

It’s all about perspective — I told my son last night that I was going outside to work on sucking less at playing my banjo (aka practice) and he looked at me and said, “Mom you play that thing better than everyone in this house – including Dad and he’s a musician. You don’t have the right to say you suck at something when you are better than all of us. Just sayin.” — Man I love that kid.

I’m a horrible perfectionist. I used to think a perfectionist did everything perfectly or at least near perfect. It took me years to learn that being a perfectionist is a demand rather than an outcome. The self-inflicted demand is more often than not the root of a stink weed of a memory and/or fear of abandonment.

I don’t like doing things I can’t do well and if I can’t do it well enough to suit myself, the old me just didn’t keep trying. I didn’t see the reward in trying again. While riding horses last year, I learned that I’d have great days of riding as well as days of great humility. Some days Cowboy did exactly what I asked and other days he just wanted to jack with me.

Learning the banjo is no different. Some days I nail it, some days my picks trip up the strings and my fingers can’t remember their assigned places. On days like that, I have learned to take a deep breath, relax my shoulders and try again.

For those of you who’ve been around all year you know that my word for the year is “breathe.” Oxygen does wonders for a negative brain.  As simple-minded as it may sound breathing in the good and breathing out the negative works wonders.

I gave up horseback riding so that I can afford banjo lessons. While I miss riding, I do love the banjo. Playing is a different skill set entirely and yet the lessons are the same. Sit tall, be confident, keep it fun and BREATHE.

2 thoughts on “My Brain, My Banjo and Me

  1. I play banjo too and plan on having some time this evening during the baseball game on TV to “not sucking so much.” At age 62, if I engage in any sport, I will continually suck worse. But if I practise, I can actually still suck less.
    I play the banjo for our monthly Americana worship service. As I have told the people, they could get a better banjo player for $100, but it would lose the coolness factor of the pastor stepping down from the pulpit to play the banjo. I have rewritten the historic liturgy to tunes that fit with a bluegrass band. I like to say that we are on the cutting edge of liturgical bluegrass.


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