Pause

I have been forced to pause and it’s driving me crazy. I was ready with a plan and a lot of hard work put in and now I have to helplessly sit around waiting because of sickness. If my voice doesn’t get better before Sunday all the hard work I put in might go to waste. I mean in the long term, the practice would have helped. But I was really aiming to sing well this Sunday. I had spent hours practising for this Sunday’s performance and in the last week I have not been able to spend even half an hour on it. Singing is like the fuel inside me that keeps me wanting to go on living. And now I feel aimless. Like some big part of me is missing.

What should I do? Should I just let go? And do what?

What if instead of fixating on what I cannot do, I try to figure out what I can do. Like take up a course that makes me better at sound editing or movie making or some other skill. Or practice piano better. But I am fixating and obsessing. It’s my childhood all over again. Instead of focusing on the present and making the best of the things I was getting then, I kept fixating on how I didn’t get to learn and practice music. I still got to read and write. I could have been a great student of engineering or computer programming. That skill could have helped me become a freelancer now.

So much can be extracted from life if we knew how to stay calm and think long term.

Power of identity

I see myself as someone who can produce written content very easily. And with that end in mind, I am planning to have more extempore writing in my life. I see many hurdles here in making this a reality. Unpredictable and busy schedules, volatile moods, etc etc. But I think this needs to be a part of my identity. What I do every day. Write on a topic. Any topic. I can expand this later to include a poem or news comment or something like that. Just to extract more benefit out of the routine. But for now it is a preparation-less writing. To keep that outlet of expression open and active. I don’t want to discover later that lack of use has made it impossible to get anything useful out of my writing without getting a tonne of junk along with it.

I bought one more book on my flight back from Chandigarh. For the thousandth time, I bought a book that I would never read again later. Can you blame me. The book called “Reflections” is a compilation of Swami Vivekananda’s speeches, both speeches by him or about him. But I didn’t finish the book, so don’t take my word for it. It’s a difficult read.

Reading is a bed time activity for me. Yet somehow I fall asleep more with my phone than with my book. That needs to change.

So yes this writing exercise, is around the idea that I attract more situations in my life that revolve around how I see myself. Do I see myself as someone who can write easily. Then I will be presented with more opportunity for writing. Same with singing. When someone asks me to sing a song I feel unprepared and unpractised. Also right now I have very less singing videos online. (You can check it here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGZlBikGn-b1oh1Q6oMFD0A?view_as=subscriber).

But the reason for this is, I feel I have to prepare a lot before posting each video. I want to be someone who can sing off some song every day on demand. So I plan to make videos every day where I sing a song that comes easily to me. That way I’ll slowly have an identity of someone who can sing a song easily.

Of course this means that the quality of my content may seem to suffer in the beginning. But I think it’ll catch up in time. Also I can always keep deleting content.

Keep going even though it seems dark. You have nothing to prove to anyone. You just owe it to yourself to complete what you have already started. Don’t give up just yet!

Perspective

What makes me unique? Despite everything? I don’t give up and I have love in my heart for music. And I am living in misery, some of which I created myself. Yet everyday I drag myself. And if I ever have a family, and if I ever make it to the top, I’ll have the strength. May be. Or may be I need some friends. May be friends are important. They are the anchor that keeps you from drowning. Family is important. When you have an unsupportive family, you will definitely be weak.

So no. I am not strong. Determined yes. But I WILL break down easily. Struggle has not made me stronger. But perhaps it has made me wiser. And I could write a story. May be it has made me kinder. When i do have friends and family, may be I will value them.

May be this is necessary for art. To have a life that’s different. To feel pain and be able to write and sing about it. But I have lost the ability to empathise. I am so lost in my own pain. May be combine my pain with empathy and may be I can write stories. May be if I could view my own life as a story. And be a viewer. May be then I would be able to see. May be then I can step into shoes. Become a completely different person. May be then I would jump quickly from one experience to another, instead of being stuck on one for days even after it’s over.

May be that’s what is missing. Perspective. The ability to view my life as a story.

Space

Okay so I am writing this post in the capacity of a singer. But I think it applies to any one doing anything creative.

Honestly I couldn’t understand the importance of deep focus. I used to do all my vocal practices, scales, breathing exercises but with a lot of distractions. Would take breaks every five minutes to check my phone or watch some TV show. And I had convinced myself that as long as I am doing the required practices, it didn’t matter what I did in between to keep myself going.

But my attempt today to shut off all distractions and only focus on my vocal practices made me realise how important it is for the creative process. Not to mention, the time I save and the number of things I could do today despite the brief period of depression in which I kind of lost control and switched on my phone. I think being forced to confront your feelings of boredom or fear or past issues can have that effect. But it also made me come out of my default automated settings.

I started thinking about what I was singing and what practice I was doing. I thought about how I could do these things in a better way. I spent time listening to music and observing how each emotion is represented in the language of music by different artists. My mind had the space to think about all these things instead of being focused on mindless entertainment fed from TV shows or mobile applications.

And getting the space to ponder over things and being able to confront emotions and channel them into creation is so important for the creative process.

Look at my blog too. I wrote three posts in one day. Because I have been thinking about things, I have been struggling with emotions and I have been thinking of solutions at the back of my mind. And some of it found it’s way into my writing.

Basically deep focus gives space for us to be human. The difference between human beings and any other animal is the thought and effort human beings put into everything they do. That is what I was able to do with my music, thanks to the space I gave my brain for thinking without distractions.

I think I have made my point now. Hope it helps some people. Have a good day 🙂

Deep focus

I have been fascinated for a while with the concept of deep focus. Giving your 100% to a work, without distractions. Completely isolating yourself. And then I met a guy who does exactly this. That was enough motivation for me to finally try it.

I lasted half a day. Then suddenly I crashed. Pinged all my friends, watched three episodes of a movie series, ordered junk food. Then started going back into depression. It was good till I crashed. I was working on things with focus. But towards the end I started questioning my work, why was i working hard? For what?

I know why I am working hard. For success. To become really good at what I do. But still there is some factor missing in the motivation.

Any thoughts?

Instant Gratification

The rush of dopamine is what many of us live for. I’ll admit, it happens to me, when I post something on social media. I wait to hear what people think of it. But if I am able to surpass the urge. Look beyond instant gratification and keep working. A bigger gratification would come. My way. I know that. That is why it is so important to overcome the temptation.

Saying NO

We have to say no. Have to say no several times. To parties, to people that only waste your time, to “opportunities” that’ll only keep you stuck doing things you don’t enjoy. And it seems as if you are missing out on something great because who would possibly say no right? But it’s almost as if the universe tempts you to fail. The moment you get resolved to do something it’ll present you with temptations. But if your resolve is strong you will say no. Otherwise you are fickle. And the fickle minded keep bouncing around reacting to people around them and blaming circumstances.

Walls

How long can one live in the fear of being hurt. How long can we guard ourselves and think before we take every step.

It’s true that it hurts like hell when we take off all our masks , break down our walls for someone only to be let down again. It takes away all our energy but isn’t it better that we see the truth sooner than later.

If we feel scared of being vulnerable we will be alone forever because there will be nobody, around whom we can be our true selves. If we are looking for that one person to spend our time or lifetime with shouldn’t that one person make us feel accepted for who we are and not some pretend version of us we bring on dates to impress.

We could play mind games or act like we don’t care so that we don’t come across as needy. We may win the battle of impressing someone for one date or few dates but whom are we really fooling here? That person or ourselves? We are trying to say that the real version of us that expresses how he / she feels and trusts and gives his / her all to one person is not good enough. But then how will anyone love us if we are so ashamed of ourselves. Better be alone than in a situation where we have to manage what we say, when we say and how we feel all the time. It is better that we spend some time alone till we find someone who won’t reject us for being emotional and vulnerable around them but will respond to this brave gesture with respect and sensitivity.