My Mt. Everest | March 2007 Newsletter

My Mount Everest: March, 2007
Merle M. Singer, Founder

“How use doth breed a habit in a man!”

William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)
The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 5 scene 4

Dear MyMtEveresters,

Hi. It’s March already. I’m skipping February, (it’s such a short month) and going for the March e-letter.

A Lesson Not Learned

I wonder why it takes me so long to figure things out.

For instance, when I was around 9 years old, I took piano lessons- – for a short time. It was scales and songs – very little to show an audience. This was not a satisfying situation to me.

Also, an accompanying issue for me was that I eschewed the names of the notes. Names are only symbols. It’s the note, the sound, the vibration that is the value. The name is the wholesaler, and I wanted to buy direct.

Actually, as I look back, it amazes me what was going on in my 9 year old head.

Yet Again, A Lesson Not Learned

Much later, when I got married, I didn’t’ want a diamond engagement ring at all. I requested a fireplace, a dog, and a piano.

My husband was true to his promise. I had each one within the first year or two of marriage.

The piano was an old Player piano upright; Nathan refurbished the player part of the piano (more or less).

And, with the piano went lessons with Miss Sherman. There were scales again, and this time I practiced them ’cause I grew up to be a good girl, but I never internalized them – didn’t even get the concept.

Yes, I endured the scales better, but it was a test of endurance.

Both times, I didn’t get it.

I didn’t understand the purpose of the scales. All I got from teachers is that it is good to learn. It is the basis for music.

What does that mean? Without understanding, there was no motivation for me. I wasn’t able or didn’t choose to trust the teacher’s judgment. I needed to know a reason that made sense to me. It never came.

When Will I Learn?

It is said that the same lesson reappears in your life (in different forms, perhaps) until you learn the lesson.

So it’s a few years later, actually right now, and I decide to take jiu jitsu. It was touted as a strategy self-defense technique where size and weight were less important than timing and leverage – where the strategy comes in.

I’m a strategy kind of gal so it had its appeal. Besides, the best jiu jitsu academy,, in the world happens to be local (45 minutes away).

As a beginner, I am taking Gracie Combatives (TM) which is a series of 22 moves, equivalent to musical scales. The moves even have names just like the music notes do. These moves need to be memorized so you can do them without thinking, and the names have to be memorized so you can talk about what you are doing.

One Lesson Learned

See, I’ve gotten this far: The note/the move is the actual thing. It gets memorized for yourself.

The names/ symbols of these things also have to be memorized so you can communicate with others and learn more about how to improve or to help others improve or just to share the experience.

Holy Hanna! I think I’m finally getting it.

Memorize the scales/moves, if you really memorize them by virtue of repeated and more repeated exercise crosses space from your brain to your body, and your body memorizes the moves.

So what??

That’s what I would have said as a child.

So this: All the magic happens AFTER you’ve internalized the scales/moves. All that discipline that you put in has brought you the freedom of automatic moves.

If you can play the piano scales so effortlessly that in the middle of a song you can add a part of a scale or reverse the scale or mix the scales, what you get is music that has transcended the scales and become a beautiful, mellifluous musical score.

Cellular Learning is Dynamic

With jiu jitsu, when the body knows each move on a cellular level, thinking about the moves is no longer necessary and you can concentrate on your opponent. You mix and match your moves to meet the needs of your current situation.

Plus the amount of self-confidence you have, and rightfully so, is an additional tool/weapon to heighten the quality of your performance.

I have to tell you, this is big for me. I just never got it before.

Discipline, routine, habit all seemed so confining and restrictive. No one ever explained to me (or I never listened or heard) that it is just the opposite. Every discipline, routine, and habit that you master is a part of your life that you can put on automatic pilot. It’s like having a personal assistant that gets things done for you without you’re having to think about it.

Now you can concentrate on the goals in your life.

It’s Non-Linear

That’s part of why doing all the routines that no one else notices – like how many times a week you work out – increases your self confidence. It’s a promise you have kept to yourself.

I always thought that if you couldn’t get a Pulizer Prize or a Fulbright Scholarship for it, it wasn’t worth my effort. Oh contraire, every habit you purposely plan and develop and carry out, is another scale/move that you have learned in your life skills.

Look around. Look at yourself. Are there people in your life that you can look at, who have mastered the art of routine. That routine is the scale/combative and their life is the skill/art. Are they functioning at a higher level than most?

There’s only one person that comes to mind in my life – and, unfortunately, it isn’t me – yet.


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