The first part of the these thought process in finding core values through looking at things I dislike but do anyway can be found here.

Well “having a shower” again is not exactly an experience I dislike but it is something that carries several caveats. I do like the feeling of water flowing over my skin, in fact it can be incredibly relaxing having my eyes close and facing chin up staring at the shower nozzle, and soaping one’s body can be rather nice. What I don’t like is being rushed, entering a wet cubicle, having a damp towel, and being asked to have a shower because I smell. I will admit that there are health benefits too to being clean, boils on the bum can be rather painful (a side effect of immunosuppressants) but I do object to some people’s need to shower more than once a day because I think it is wasteful of resources and bad for the skin because natural oils are removed.

Like the latter topic “learning to play different recorders” may seem like a strange thing to dislike because I do actually find it rewarding to play a musical instrument in groups. It is sociable on the one hand, plus I can celebrate the success of a piece played well and give something that others hopefully will enjoy. People think you can hide when you play in groups but there is nowhere to hide however large or small a group is, aside from not playing at all. Good conductors will know exactly who is making mistakes as will all the players around you. So in fact I am very vulnerable playing in a group to which one can add a live audience and my anxieties level can rise rather extremely.

I have on the whole learnt to trust myself and my conductor but perhaps the biggest lesson to learn is to keep playing and forget about the mistakes. I could make my life easier if I stuck to one type of recorder but no, I am now capable for playing C and F recorders in both treble and bass clef and aside from learning some quirky fingers with certain makes (lower B on a Kung Superio Contrabass for instance). The thing is, it is rather stressful processing all the information when learning a new instrument on a new clef and it has been rather overwhelming for me and being in a social situation didn’t exactly help. So why do it? I guess it is about contributing as much as I can to the group but it is also about learning about the music, being able to play all the parts of the music means I get to the know the music better which in turn allows me to be a better musician.

“Going to a bar which is probably too noisy” is all about spending time with people and focusing on the benefits that being social can bring. Last week my wife wanted to see the film “United Kingdom” and purely from a spending time with her point of view did I agree to go as well. She also invited other friends of which two came, one of whom I hadn’t really met before. We went to a bar afterwards (partly because we could as in our dependents could look after themselves) but I was reluctant because of background noise levels. It wasn’t easy for me, but it turned out that we had some really interesting conversations and I certainly learnt some fascinating things about our friends. Not a life changer perhaps but a perfectly nice way to spend an evening.

Now “taking my kids skiing” is challenging on a number of levels. Firstly, I am the only adult (well I was in days gone past) so it was up to me to plan, organise and justify the cost of the trip; making decisions and interacting with outside agencies isn’t my forte. Secondly, I feel I need to spend time with my kids to encourage them and pick them up as necessary. I am not a natural teacher and often find it difficult to see the problem from their perspective so this can be a rather frustrating experience for both of us. Thirdly I have to try speaking foreign languages if we are abroad which whilst I acknowledge is good for me, again is something that causes great anxiety. However, I love to skill, and I am proud that I have enabled my kids to experience skiing and for them to be able to choose to go with their friends. It is something nobody else in our family could have done and that makes me feel good about myself.

The final case is “asking beggars if they would like something to eat” and perhaps I should have put “buying it for them”. I think this pulls a number of anxiety threads for me. There is the speaking to strangers one, but I think it is worst because in some sense these people are outcasts which are ignored by many people (myself included most of the time) and to talk to them is going against the flow of opinion. I also have to reign in my curiosity about how the person got there and skip any judgement as to why the cant find something else to do. Then there is the guilt that I do so little to help the homeless that most of the time I push out of my mind but which I have to confront if I do even a small gesture. The help needed is endless and I have limited amounts of energy. I guess I don’t want to be in a position to have to say no to a request for help so I do what I can to avoid it, to lose myself to increasing demands made by others.

Okay so what values are coming out of these thoughts? I think that is going to have to be in part three!

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