"At One" with my instrument.

Yesterday was a personal landmark for me. It was my first time since learning guitar that I confidently played and sang a 20-minute set in front of strangers. I had previously sung one or two songs for mostly friends, but my concentration was always so focused on getting the guitar part right, remembering where my fingers were supposed to be, that my attention felt divided.

But yesterday, after much practice, I had total focus on the song, the lyrics and the performance. I wasn't demonstrating my songs, I was performing them. I was being an entertainer, confident and having a blast. The guitar felt as natural to me as when I play and sing at the piano.

The exhilarating feeling is one that cannot be described. It's powerful to have control of one's instrument, whether it's a piano, a guitar or even just your voice.

And yes, I know I'm too old to be a rock star to anyone but myself, but here in the Bonus Round, where time speeds up and the prizes are better, this was a lifelong dream fulfilled. I could see the audience perk up, sing along, laugh along and I was completely into the lyrics of the song -- meaning I wasn't thinking about the guitar at all during my set. It was just a natural extension of my body and my music.

As I said, all my life, I've wanted to experience this. It took me a full year of constant practice, but even when I dropped my pick, NO BIG DEAL -- I just grabbed it off the floor and kept on moving like it never happened. No nerves. No fright.

Just the pure experience of being at one with myself and my instruments (guitar and voice).

But that's what it takes: Hours and hours and hours of just staying at it, conquering the fretboard, figuring out where the strings are, understanding rhythm and then marrying them together so that they feel whole and natural.
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