interesting thoughts & events

Journal Entry – 06/28/19

Every now and then I’ll remember something stupidly embarrassing that I did… and I’ll feel most of the shame I felt in that moment. I can think of two instances right now, but believe me there were many!

One that recently came to mind was when I was in Scottsdale, AZ at a client site where I was really part of the family. They wanted to hire me full-time, but the owner understood that I wanted, as he put it, “the illusion of independence.” I still laugh at that because it was both manipulative and true.

The owner had once had the choice of either being a professional musician or a Russian Orthodox priest; he chose the latter (but he still played guitar and sang sometimes). I also discovered that another one of the employees had been in a rock band some years back and even had a record contract. Like all bands, one thing led to another and… that band no longer exists.

I play a little guitar (keyboard is more my specialty). I tend to use alternate tunings because standard tuning just doesn’t make sense to me as a keyboard player – each string starts on a different note! So I toyed around and discovered a tuning that worked for my mental block. I later learned that this tuning is centuries old and I’ve heard quite a few recordings by famous bands who have used it. But that’s typical me – insisting on figuring it out on my own instead of learning from the success of others.

One day I purchased what is called a “cut capo” – it doesn’t depress all of the strings, just particular ones. So it’s like playing in an alternate tuning (until you try to do barre chords). For all you non-guitar players, I’m finally getting to the point of the story…

I told my employee friend about the cut capo and he wanted to try it. I brought it to the office the next day and he brought two guitars. At lunch time we went into the glass-walled conference room along the right side of the office to try it out. He used the cut capo, while I used my “special tuning” (DADGAD). We played a few songs softly, but after a while I forgot where I was because I was so into it and my singing started getting louder and louder. Finally, the owner knocked on the door and reminded us it was a place of business. I looked through the glass wall and saw about twenty people at their desks pretending to not notice what was going on.

Now the owner wasn’t judgmental or angry or anything… but I was SO embarrassed and ashamed. And the song I had been singing was a worship song I had recently written, so it was really, really weird for me on a number of levels. Yes, I can still feel that deep emotion… What do you do with that? And how in the world could the “Hokey Pokey Way” help?

Well, what I’m trying to do now is to face my fear of embarrassment rather than feel that cringe and try to think about something else. I’m trying to put my right foot in with writing (which comes easily to me) and put my left foot in as I stare my deep embarrassment in the face and try to understand more of what was really going on… and to maybe even forgive myself. I’m getting it out in the open, out into the light, so I can see things like:

  • No one was angry and most of the people there really, really liked me.
  • The owner was actually quite kind and he and I are still good friends to this day.
  • It’s good that I sing from my heart. It’s noble. But yes, there is a time and a place.

I had no idea what to expect when I started writing this today. But something happened inside during the process of writing… I used my right and left hands to type this, I put my head in and really thought about it… and as I put my whole self in, I forgave myself and I can laugh about it now that the pain is gone.

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