This week has been like no other, I’m sure that can be said by all of us. As well as having to radically shift the way I operate my business and accommodate my people, I’ve also experienced huge loss. But, as my father once said to me many years ago, ‘when one door closes, another opens’. This saying often comes back to me, especially in times of adversity. There is a requisite step to this saying, though, that is the hardest action to take; actually walking through the open door.

The steps through the doorway are hard, because it is impossible to attain a perspective of the other side until you are actually through the doorway. This lack of perspective is uncomfortable for us, and as it is a human characteristic to seek comfort, familiarity and to avoid failure – often at any cost – this can be all it takes to stop us from wanting to progress any further.

For me, stepping through and beginning to experience the ‘other side’ that has been presented to us, as a result of the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, has so far offered a huge learning experience. Firstly, I have learned a lot about responding to defeatism, understanding more about my own defeatist attitudes and where those attitudes come from. I have had to learn to be comfortable with discomfort. I have had to learn to be a beginner again. I have learned to feel ok with feeling naive and with not having the right answer right away. I have had to learn quickly about the advancements in the technologies available to me to help me continue my work. I have to respond quickly and effectively to feedback. I have begun the process of evaluating my former personal and professional actions, and why I wanted to achieve what I thought I wanted. I am thinking about my time, how I have previously used my time, and how I could best use my time now and in the future. I’m reflecting on the number of occasions in the past that I have wished for ‘the time’ to do things. I’m thinking about why I wanted what I wanted, in terms of personal and professional gratification and materialism. I’m thinking about the importance of personal and professional relationships and now people really value us and what we do in times of crisis. I’m seeing opportunities for personal and professional development. I’m aiming to see the truth. I’m aiming to emerge from all of this as a better, more experienced individual.

Over the last week, a huge focus of mine – aside from directing and developing my teaching business to enable it to float – has been to reconnect with my guitar, all of my influences and rediscover my musical voice; my purpose. I have taken the opportunity – albeit perhaps unsurprisingly, given my vocation – to spend quality time on my guitar and learning to play the music I love again, and most importantly to fall back in love with music and my guitar. This might sound crazy given I currently make my living exclusively as a guitar teacher, and the fact I had my hands on a guitar for a minimum of 8 hours a day most days of the week. But, I now realise how much I taught and cared for the goals of others, and as a result how little time I left for myself to prosper musically. My work life was clearly imbalanced, and I realise that has to change. This lack of balance has caused me to loose touch with what I love about music and my guitar, and I realise that I’ve lost my focus. Yet, the reason I teach is to help people develop their love and find their voice as a musician. How can I properly achieve that if I’ve lost my own voice? How can I help people find their voice if I can’t find my own?

So, over the last two days I’ve dug out my Japanese Fender ‘62 reissue Stratocaster, and I’ve stuck my head back into blues guitar, specifically the style of Stevie Ray Vaughan, which is forming the first phase of my reconnection to the guitar. I’ve set myself an initial goal to finally learn to play ‘Scuttle Buttin’, and it feels absolutely amazing to be indulging in my ‘self’. It feels amazing to be reconnecting to music, and a huge part of my life and identity. I’ve captured part of this journey for you to see in the video beneath.

I’m beginning my journey on the ‘other side’.

An improvisation and my interpretation of the style of Stevie Ray Vaughan.

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