17:05 Lol. This cracks me up! I am on YouTube.
The mindfulness retreat published a video of the festival that took place while I was staying there. My “dharma family” (the assigned group you regularly gather with to discuss and practice the mindfulness teachings), which had mostly been made up of enthusiastic young women, had, last minute, decided to do a performance for the festival. Within a couple of last-minute sessions, we had decided on a singalong medley, altered the lyrics to suit the occasion, and I’d worked out the guitar chords… and agreed to play “lead” guitar (in this case, the person who sets the rhythm for the singers).
Honestly this is something I could not have done successfully even in my most sporadic drinking days. The irony is that I *only* used to play guitar for singalongs at drinking gatherings, but I also knew that alcohol slowed my reflexes, my ability to truly tune in, and my memory. Thus, it also stole my confidence… I could never have played (especially while feeling so relaxed) “in front of” such a crowd. I had so much low-self-esteem and self-absorbed ego involved that I simply never, never could have put aside that ego enough to just “go up and have fun” playing guitar, even in a simple and impromptu group singalong, in front of nearly a thousand people — no matter how casual and forgiving a crowd. NEVER!!!
I nearly opted out of participating, but the retreat had been so tiring in some respects, and a little voice inside me told me that music, especially playing/singing in a group, was one of my favourite things to do, and this would be a balm for my soul… and funnily enough, it was.
We (well, most particularly I) made tons of mistakes up there on stage, but we laughed and did it together… and let me tell you, that was another thing I could not have done in the past. Participate in a group collab? Are you kidding? Looking back, I must sadly admit that timid as I may seem to some, it must have in part been due to my perfectionistic control freak issues. (Thus again, ego…)
But we all worked together on deciding on the songs, changing the lyrics and so on, and apart from a couple of tense moments (or perhaps, tense moments included), it was just so. much. fun. It helped that these were great people!
All those mistakes I made? I would have been dying with mortification the next day… feeling like the world was ending. That’s how much anxiety I used to have over getting things wrong. But now, I seem to more self-forgiving. “Ah well, not a big deal, it was last-minute, life goes on…” And back then, if it had been published on YOUTUBE?!?!?! Egads. I probably would have asked them to take it down.
One of my fellow group members jokingly said to my younger boys, later: Did you see your mom up there? Your mom’s a rock star! And though I knew I hadn’t by any means *played* like a rock star… I did feel like one, for sure… in that I was aware of how much I had seriously, seriously progressed internally, from wherever I’d been at before. And I believe that’s in huge part thanks to choosing to practice consistent sobriety.
Oh yes, and as far as I can recall, that was also my first time at a festival without booze. Fascinating that it can be done. Who knew!?!?!! 🎉😆