I have a performance coming up on October 3rd. It’s a rather special one for me: it will be my first performance ever as the soloist for all four of Vivaldi’s Seasons, on baroque violin.
Even though we surely won’t be able to get the piece up to the very highest level possible in just one rehearsal, I’ll do the best I can. I’m really ok with imperfection, and I’m pretty excited about the challenge!
I know it will be so enjoyable to share those exciting pieces of music with an intimate audience: I love the music, I enjoy the experience of playing them, and I expect to have a great time communicating with my co-musicians as we put it all together. In any case, it won’t be boring, that’s for sure!
Soooo….. given that I only have less than two weeks left to prepare, why do I keep procrastinating on my practicing? I definitely want to do my best, so what’s holding me back from giving it my all every day from now until October 3rd? And why am I here writing about this phenomenon instead of actually practicing?
Here’s why I’m not practicing:
- Actually, even though it seems like it, I know that I’m actually not procrastinating. I’ve come to know myself well enough that I know this is part of my “style” – I’ve had enough experience to realize that I do well under pressure. I’m also newly-convinced that I have an inner “priority-GPS” that tends to steer me towards what my whole self needs most in the moment, as opposed to what my controlling mind thinks I “should” be doing.
- I have a high level of trust in my own system – my inner wisdom. I trust that it will all come together in good time. I practice a bit every day – and it’s enough. Actually, I miss some days, and that’s still ok. If I practiced a lot more, perhaps the end product would be better in some respects, but I don’t believe that the most essential aspect would be. The most essential part of music-making is something that emerges from the whole of me – not just the “violinist-who-practices-the-violin” me. My best performance is an expression of my whole self – my whole life – so it is my whole self who must steer my choices about how to spend my time in any given moment.
- So, how could this blog be a higher priority for me than violin practice, given the upcoming performance? For several reasons: writing helps to clarify my thinking. Expressing what’s going on in the moment for me is one of the best ways I know to process things when I’m feeling stuck. Clarifying my thoughts means clarifying my body, too, because the mind and the body are NOT separate. As I write, I notice that my body is starting to unravel and come up a bit out of a little slump I’d gotten into before I started writing. When I’m ready to start practicing, I will be coming to my instrument with less tension, which will make everything work better.
- Writing is therapeutic for me, and I feel the need to take care of myself before diving into my practice session. I really DO want to practice, but I realize that my practice session is going to be less effective today if I just force myself into it without clearing myself of extra emotional/physical tension first. This writing is part of that clearing process, though not all of it.
- I’m aware that I haven’t written a blogpost for awhile, and I do like to keep my posts more or less regular here, so keeping this up IS a high priority. My Art of Freedom practice is very important to me, and I want to do the things that are necessary to make my business thrive. Writing is one of them – and it makes me happy, too!
- I enjoy sharing my process here, in case there are things that might resonate with my musical readers. After all, I’m sure that just about every musician on the planet has encountered this problem before: “I should practice, but I don’t want to… should I force myself or wait until I really want to? But I want to….” It’s an internal tug-of-war that nobody wins until it’s acknowledged and processed with conscious awareness.
So, that’s why I chose to write instead of diving into my practice session.
But there’s one more thing I need to do before picking up my violin:
I need to step away from this once I’m done writing, and lie down to rest a bit. I will stop, and take care of myself. I will observe myself at rest, and notice whatever I notice. Especially the good things. There’s nothing like a healthy dose of gratitude to get things going in the right direction again!
On an even more personal note, I’ve been going through a challenging situation with a family member lately (health-related), and it has started to affect me again today. I am generally a very positive person, but sometimes I fall victim to worry, like most people. I’ve just noticed that starting to happen recently, in a very subtle way. Worry, however, is a complete waste of energy, and an energy-drain. It eats away at us in insidious ways, and it’s making me tired. I have been worrying without being completely conscious of that, and I am adamant that I wish to stop!
Now that I’m aware of it, I am applying my Freedom Directions to myself, in order to release the worry and its physical expressions out of my system. I want to spend a bit of time working through this now, before picking up my violin. My violin is my closest partner for Vivaldi, after all, and I don’t want to contaminate it with my worry-tension!
So, I will now go practice Constructive Rest, and process the worry for a few minutes. THEN, only if and when I really feel drawn to pick up my dear violin, I will do so.
When that happens, the Four Seasons will shine out and express my soul even more clearly and deeply than they would have if I hadn’t taken care of my whole self first. Win-win, all around.
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