The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

"Spiritual powers and their wondrous functioning--hauling water and carrying firewood." --Layman Pang, upon his realization

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Selling My Guitar

Yes, I'm selling my guitar.
Even writing the above sentence makes me sigh, hesitate.  But it's up on eBay, and several people have already made bids.  Many more are watching from the wings....Why the drama?
Well, there's a lot of ego wrapped up in this guitar.  And it's been an interesting process for me, to observe the emotions and physical sensations that surround the guitar's surrender.
As a child, I had a passion for folk music.  I listened to Judy Collins, Joan Baez, the Weavers, Tim Buckley, Phil Oaches, Tom Paxton, Joni Mitchell, Odetta, Ritchie Havens, my mother and my aunt, and I was absolutely hooked.  
My mother taught me 3 chords--D, C and A, then gave me her guitar while she moved on to other things.  By the time I was 15, the guitar was like a best friend.  I honestly think it saved me from the perils of teenhood--many of my friends were experimenting with serious drugs, having sex with boys they didn't know, running away from home, driving into ditches, leaving school and wandering back.  And it's not that I didn't give some of that a try, or that I was a goodie-two-shoes, but I had a guitar that, when I put my ear to side of the body and strummed, made me feel awesome.  When I sang, I felt free.  When I wrote songs, I felt free.  When I learned something new, I felt liberated.  When I played for others, I felt open.
As a 15 year old growing up in the late 60's, I found a lucky outlet.  I honestly think I kept myself sane with my guitar.  Hours were spent alone in my bedroom, locked away from parents/brothers/the rest of the world, and I learned how to be still, and silent in those hours.
Cut to 20 years later.  I've got some money saved.  I purchase a big, beautiful Guild acoustic guitar, sort of as a wedding present for myself, after remarrying and beginning a new life.  This Guild is everything I've ever wanted in a guitar--big, booming bass tones that make my Heart Chakra resonate, bright high notes that sing, gorgeous spruce, ebony, ivory, abalone--the guitar is really a work of art.  And to top it all off, I adore the way it smells.  It smells like sweet, sweet resin.  Like the pine woods.
Cut to 18 years later.  I rarely play this guitar.  I take it out of the case and strum it, but the reality is, it's too big for me and my strumming/picking arm begins to tingle and fall asleep.  My fingers are sore with the effort of using steel strings, and even though the Guild is easy to play, it's just too hard.  I find myself coming back to my smaller, classical guitar.  But a guitar needs to be played.
Simply true.  It's a crime not to have such a beautiful instrument enjoyed.
So it's up on eBay.  But it seems I've created some impossible hurdles for any potential buyer--I've asked that it be picked up, NO SHIPPING.   I've asked that it be paid for in cash or money order, NO PAYPAL.  And my reserve is too high.  
All of this being the case, I ask myself how serious I am about selling the Guild.  Can I give it up?  How much of my ego in still invested in owning this beautiful instrument?  I truly believe it needs a player, and I know that player is not me, so why can't I truly let it go?

But perhaps I can.  I believe I can.  What does it mean when so much of one's self-identification is wrapped up in an object, in a glorification of the past?  How does one release not only the glory, but also the pain, the apprehension, the frustration and loss?  I am no longer that 15 year old--shy, uncertain, passionately creative and on fire, but somehow I am.  I've learned how to integrate these qualities and find greater balance. And while I may have a sweet nostalgia for those days,the reality is there were many times when I was utterly miserable, as any 15 year old might be. 
For so many years I have closely identified myself with the Guild.  It was after all, my dream guitar.  But I can still play guitar, just not the Guild.  
With an eBay auction, I release the 15 year old Brooke.  She did so many incredible things to keep her head above water--sometimes she succeeded, sometimes not, but she certainly put in the effort.  
With love, I release her. 


Jenna said...

You may want to try listing it on the Harrisburg Craigslist site instead...since it's more local, you might have an easier time filling your pickup/cash requirements. :)

Brookie said...

Thank You Jenna!
It's generating so much activity on eBay, it's kind of scary....turns out it's a very valuable guitar, which makes my blog feel even more poignant.

I think there will need to be a "Selling My Guitar, Part 2"
Thank You.

Anonymous said...

Ebay wants you to give your item away + also use pay-pal. Pick-up is a good set-up. I sold brand new guitars that30% of the time, people change their mind, say its not as listed, etc. Any excuse that some create because of better deals on just plain never picked up the guitar they bought. Bought with-out their own homework. I sold a 680.00 dollar guitar ebay charged 18.00 + Pay Pal was 48.00 dollars. They have ruined the system with their greed. Of corse if you sell many guitars, you have to exspect some problems. But unless you are a multy million business that buys very low + has the back-up, I would not advise anyone to go that way. WE made them + they chew us up like candy. Experienced seller.