Lessons in Mindfulness from Typing and Strumming

As I type up my mother’s notebooks of Torah thoughts and lessons, I noticed that I make more typos when I am rushing. Meaning, I am looking at the words that are to come instead of focusing on the current word. Obviously, I need to be looking at the future words to go faster, but when I worked on maintaining a greater sense of focus on the current word I was typing, I had fewer typos.

So too, when practicing ukulele, when I think about, anticipate, or agonize over getting to the next chord, I am less likely to successfully play the current chord. I either mess up in rhythm or strum pattern, or both! Sometimes I’ve even closed my eyes to maintain complete focus on the chord I was currently practicing. This happened when I was practicing the intro chord to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole which has a distinct strumming pattern and rhythm. When I closed my eyes and let the rest of the world melt away, it came out the most beautifully.

I guess that is one reason why I am happier and calmer during and after playing ukulele: because it forces me to live in the moment, to practice mindfulness. Of course, there is also the factor of hearing live instrumental music, which is calming in and of itself.

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