• Matthew Kaufman

The Beauty of the Kalimba

The Kalimba is a beautiful little instrument. The sounds it can make are pretty distinguishable and it is pretty simple to play if you already know piano or a string instrument. As someone who works by typing and tapping away, getting to apply my hand speeds to a musical instrument is refreshing and soothing to my soul. But perhaps the most beautiful thing about a kalimba is how readily accessible and tiny it is.

Say you’re sitting at your working from home desk and you’re waiting for that file to process or for the transaction to go through. Perhaps you’re playing a game instead and are waiting for the level to load. Regardless of the circumstance, you’ve got a solid little time gap of say, forty-five seconds. There’s scant things you can do in those short forty-five that would seem productive.

Now take that situation and add a kalimba. It is sitting right there for you to play. There’s no need to turn on any electrics or amplifiers for it. There’s no pick you have to find or case you have to dig it out of. It’s right there waiting to be played at all times. During those forty-five seconds, you decide to pick it up, play a little, and maybe come out with a fun little melody. After that, it’s back to business, even if that business is gaming. But how beautiful is that forty-five seconds. For an incredibly brief moment in your life, there was simply you creating and playing music.

People often say that the most important things in life are the little things. It’s the stopping to smell the flowers on your way to work, enjoying a splendid spring day, or maybe it’s taking a moment to just breathe and relax. While it’s certainly not good to get lost too much in these tiny distractions, these little happinesses are also what can help put you in or keep a good mood going. This idea extends far beyond the little joy that is a kalimba as you can tell.

As someone who has been treated as a working solely from home expert as of recently by my friends and family as I haven’t really been to an office for about 5 months now, I cannot express how vitally important it is to still embrace these tiny distractions. With everyone out there self-isolating and quarantining themselves away, it is only natural that our minds want those tiny little distractions now more than ever. From my own personal experience, I can tell you how easy it is to get into a slump when you only ever work from home and seldom leave your home. It drags on you mentally and you begin to think wistfully about how you’d love to run outside and smell the flowers or just enjoy the nice weather. It almost generates this feeling of cabin fever.

This is where the kalimba, or whatever form your small distraction takes up, comes into play. If you’ve got a small amount of dead time in-between tasks, take a moment and embrace that small distraction. For that short brief reprieve, fully immerse yourself in something else. Whether it be music or something else, let yourself be spirited away into a more zen state of just enjoying that tiny distraction. It may feel like you’re constantly at rest because you’re stuck inside, but rest isn’t just physical, it’s also mental. These little distractions provide that mental rest. For me, it’s my kalimba, but whatever it is for you, make sure you keep it close to your desk and make sure it’s something you can pick and put down at a moment’s notice. If you can’t enjoy the little things outside, then enjoy the little things inside. Even a monk needs respite.

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