Bike smile 3


Now that I live with bikers, it seemed only a matter of time before this kind of thing would happen. First basic bike lesson, leather clad in boiling sunshine, courtesy of my extremely patient and expert housemate. I look cheerful in this shot, but inside, am a mass of jangled nerves, shaky legs and alien emotions having just got back from 3 hours of my first tentative inroads into riding this beast –  a reasonably lightweight 500 cc Kawasaki, belonging to our other co-resident – who is going to laugh upon seeing this blog post.

First impressions? Extreme appreciation for the surprising turns of life. Gratitude and celebration and sincere respect for the responsibility, power and precision involved not just in riding the bike, but watching my friend teaching a beginner (me) how to do it. I was in safe hands. I found it quite stressful but also amazing. I could get used to the heat and constant smell of petrol. Yes it is a bit like a pushbike, albeit with the instant death/collateral damage factor looming larger. Yes it is really heavy, but because of martial arts training I am really strong – used to lifting people and objects larger than myself. I only fell off once, (whilst stationary – classic huh?) so all in all, not bad. Note to self, next time, got to be less tense. (Breathing helps. I actually teach people how to breathe so…need to apply that!) More practice needed and more relaxation, feeling not thinking, and getting used to ye olde clutche controle.

Seriously…if there is something you’d like to do, do it today – just for no reason other than to expand yourself. Even if you are nervous, especially if you are nervous, or even mortally terrified. Fear is just energy waiting to be transformed into something useful and hopefully, fun. There’s nothing you can’t do. And if you know others with skills, don’t be too proud to let them show you stuff. Let yourself have some spills, cock-ups and silly questions. I remembered some priceless insights today about teaching music, which I intend to apply immediately. I had forgotten what it feels like to be a beginner diving in at the deep end, whilst the person showing you how is swimming in their element of 20 years. I’m even more aware of the fears, blockages and previous traumas students are dealing with as they walk through my door to sing and play for pretty much the first time. I need to allow more time for breaks, whilst each chunk of learning beds down. I can remember to allow students time to get used to new sensations, time to breathe and shake out, relax, laugh. Make it ok for them to ask questions and to make them feel that what they are attempting is normal and doable. And with each small step, to encourage periods of well deserved reflection, celebration and acknowledgement. It’s ok to feel proud and dazed and humble and a bit overwhelmed at various stages of the leaning curve. It’s really worth it. The great thing is that, in the end, we are all, more or less capable, more or less ok, more or less good enough to have a go.

Mastery starts with the attempt, no?

Till next time,

Bye for now…


(P.S. For those that don’t know me, I am  a London-based Nu Jazz singer/songwriter, pianist and guitarist. You can can check out my tunes and videos here, and/or come and like my Facebook Music page. Come and say hi!)



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