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Looking inward to capture the joy in music making

The Sensible Flutist: Looking inward to capture the joy in music making

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Looking inward to capture the joy in music making

The labyrinth at Ghost Ranch, a place for quiet reflection
I have taken up a meditation practice, and I had a delicious experience today. I use the quiet time as a chance to draw inward and be with God. If there's a particular thing that I'm struggling with such as anxiety, I'll form an intention to reflect on as I sit quietly. Just like my Super Efficient Practice Hour, this 20 minutes I devote to solitude leaves me better able to handle the day.

Most of my intentions lately have focused on qualities I feel are lacking when I react to my current situation with fear, anxiety and worry. I have a choice about how to deal with the stress, and I have chosen to deal with it as positively as possible. In my very human moments when I succumb to the negative emotions, I return to how I felt during my meditation and I begin breathing more deeply and the negativity releases its grip on me.

My intention today was "presence." The current situation is teaching my husband and me how to live in the moment. I know that I can only do one thing at a time. Instead of becoming overwhelmed with my endless to do list, I would rather stay focused on the present and give myself manageable tasks that feel like progress is being made.

As I sat, I suddenly realized that this was my time and I should relish it. This realization washed over me and drew me deeper into myself in a way I hadn't experienced before. I don't think I've ever thought about the time I've taken for myself in quite that way. I became involved in the present - I wasn't just trying to be present.

When practicing becomes a chore, we can return to a place and motivate ourselves by giving ourselves a gift of time. That gift allows us to not only refine and improve our technical skill on the instrument, but it makes us better people. The more present we are in our performance, the greater our awareness and it enhances our joy. We enter into a real time conversation with the audience that can't exist if we're worrying about what we just played or the difficult part ahead. This is the essence of inclusive awareness.

I'm starting to realize that this difficult situation I'm in has helped me appreciate this time as an opportunity to begin injecting more humanity into my music. I subscribe to Astrid Baumgardner's newsletter, and she included a fantastic article about ways to manage challenges in her April issue. As I searched for an old email this morning in my inbox, the newsletter appeared in my search results. It was perfectly timed. If you're dealing with a difficult time, personally or professionally, I encourage you to read it and use the action steps to make a plan. Her action steps encourage presence by focusing on the immediate, which helps you to clearly articulate the next step.

The lesson here is no matter external circumstances, free the music within by drawing inward and finding the joy that exists in each moment of your life. What's your story?

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