" Rather than running from our Stormy First Drafts, we dig into them knowing they unlock the fears and doubts that get in the way of our wholeheartedness."
Alex shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He had me in front of him and his mother at his side.
"Tell Grandma what you are feeling about piano lessons."
" I don't want to play piano."
" Can you tell me why?"
" I don't like the song I'm playing."
"Would you like different music?"
"No", said Alex, "I want to quit piano lesson."
I launched into a litany of examples of how my students handle their practice when things get hard and how adults have unanimously told me they wished their mothers had made them continue.
Alex refused to meet my eyes. His mother nudged him and encouraged him to go on.
"I still want to quit piano."
He shifted again, looking down at the floor.
"You make me feel like I am no good at piano."
"What?" I looked strongly into these brown eyes that I love.
"You gave me an easier book to play from. I hate those songs. You don't think I am good enough."
Somehow, after more discussion we talked Alex into trying again. I pulled out some Halloween songs to win him over. He was fully engaged in the learning process when a smile spread over his face. He couldn't help show the delight he felt from the bouncy, minor staccato chords. I stopped him.
"What are you feeling right now?"
He looked into my eyes. The trust was back. The heart was softening.
"I feel happy."
"Will you please remember this feeling? I will remember it, too. When the frustration comes back, let's pull this memory out of your back pocket. It is a true feeling. The others were true, as well, but, this one needs to stay stronger."
What lessons do we learn from going into the dark cave of our emotions? Tomorrow I want to start tackling the process of integration.