This post is mostly about my mindset. It’s about where I am, where I’ve been and where I’m at.
This isn’t at all the new year, but I’ll count this as my year-in review anyway. For me as a piano teacher, the year ends with the school year.
The big event that ends all else is Austin Piano Festival. (You can see a video about it here – I’m in there somewhere).
I work day and night to make the festival happen, but a lot of big life changes have happened this year.
- I’ve started meditating
- I’ve doubled my piano studio size
- I actually finished an e-book (that still needs work)
- I’ve taken to daily walks with audio books
I’ll cut the list out but there’s more. The main big change this year is in my psyche. It’s still an effort, a big effort. But I’m more mindful now than I was a year ago. I’m more aware of my triggers. I’m more aware of my (copious) defense mechanisms. I’m not the most centered guy, but I’ll take what I have now versus a year ago any day.
One thing I’ve learned about myself in the last year is I operate very well with constraints and accountability, and very poorly without it. Psychologically speaking this means having someone to make sure I’m working on being mindful and that I’m actively taking charge of my mental hygiene (either a psychologist, life-coach, whatever). It’s worth the money. In fact, the fact that I’m paying makes me do it. Like buying an expensive pair of running shoes makes me run more often.
Other big constraints include signing a contract to lose a bunch of money if I don’t complete my e-book. And the accountability of running Austin Piano Festival is enormous. Hire a bunch of pianists from around the country and set up concert dates, then work like hell because it has to happen.
There’s a lot of hard work in all of this, but the motivation is easy once you put the accountability into place. Just saying “I’ll do it” is one thing, but setting up a system where when you fail it hurts, that’s a whole other ballgame.
This is another big change for me. And one I can do better at. The big thing here has been meditation. I wasn’t sold on it a year ago but I am now. I try to get in 15-20 minutes a day of just sitting still and listening to my breath. Of course my mind wanders but I just let it, and I come back to my breath.
I’m learning that who I am on the inside is what determines the world I’m living in. Most importantly, it determines how I react to the world I’m living in. And that even if I think something wasn’t my fault, I’m still responsible. I’m the one responsible for how I react to it. I can breath, take note of how my body feels, let myself experience the emotion, or I can put up my defenses, fall into an addictive spiral, try to block out reality and close off. Meditation -because it practices mindfulness- makes me more likely to take the positive route.
So that’s where I’m at for now. At the convergence of the inner and outer, and trying to craft both as best I can.
*If you don’t have a shrink, get one. Just do it.
*Want to sign an accountability contract? Visit Stickk.com
*Try just one contract . . . and get someone to monitor your progress
*Meditate every day.