A month ago, I bought a guitar. I plinked on it every night for practice and had started to build up a set of calluses on my fret hand’s fingertips. I didn’t mind it. They felt more like a badge of advancement than the loss of someone else’s ideals.
Feeling how the thickened areas of skin modified how my fingers sensed the physical world is enthralling. Each night I would be able to play a little longer before my fingertips ached too much. Each following day I would sound the subtle increases in depth and extent of the calluses with my thumbnail, happy at my private marker of having something just for me.
I have not practiced for the past two days. The first break in practicing since I bought the guitar a month ago. Two days of no practicing has nearly undone the nascent calluses. The fingertips are soft and malleable again, with only a fading thickness on the pointer fingertip.
I now understand why the spirit would repeat his command, education, and refrain of “Continue your prayers and your meditation.” Even when I just couldn’t seem to get the grip around the neck right, I kept practicing until I could. Even when my fingertips were too soft to hold the string against the fret, I kept practicing until I could.
Even when I couldn’t make coherent words to pray with, I kept making time until I could.
After I post this, I’m going to spend time with the guitar. The healing fingertips are going to be more sore than usual and I may not be able to practice for as long as I had three days ago. The key takeaway though is not that I have lost “ground” with my lapse in practice.
It is that I can pick up from where I have “slipped” to and resume moving forward again.
Whether I am picking up the guitar, picking up the mala, or picking up my reasons to continue.