We practice our instruments.
Sometimes we even practice our music!
Hands down, the words most-often heard in the company of musicians is, "I gotta go practice."
Yup, we should practice a ton. Unfortunately, so many times we approach practicing like doing our homework. This is a horrible hold-over from high school; we go into the practice room to get our practice done. When we start to do something and our inspiration to do so is cluttered with wanting to just finish doing it, immeasurable amounts of learning are missed. I remember reading a book, "Wherever you go, there you are" and I loved the revolutionary part about, "washing the dishes to wash the dishes."
This was a wild concept I hadn't considered before. Was the author telling me not to do the dishes so I could get to the TV, to the party, to bed, or to my homework, but instead to be present in my actions? I tried this crazy presence thing with simple acts like walking to the kitchen, chewing my food, annnnd washing those dishes. I enjoyed it. From there I went extra crazy and tried doing other things while being present...reading a wonderful book, writing an email, or talking with a friend. It was awesome, to say the least!
I took presence and clear intent into the practice room. Soon afterward, I solved some long-time problems in my playing and won 2 professional auditions in a row. My many-times-a-day decision to focus on where I was, and why I was there, kept inspiring my work. Now I am VERY excited to share something with you that can be a powerful mind-opener and constant reminder of how amazing you deserve to be RIGHT NOW.
This week, we release 7 new audio tracks in our series "Fearless Practice - 10 Minutes to Unlock Your Creative Potential." Saral, the beautiful narrator of "Fearless Practice", shares some thoughts with you now...thank you for letting us inspire you.
Wake up now.
I have a quote above my desk that is taken from a Zen prayer:
"Let me respectfully remind you, time passes swiftly and opportunity is lost. Each of us must strive to awaken. Wake up now! Do not squander your life."
Why do so many of us tend to squander this "one precious life"? What gets in the way of living, performing, and loving fully? After studying many of the world's philosophical, religious and spiritual traditions, I've come to believe that the answer is four-fold:
- Fixed thinking
For the purposes of this "Fearless Practice" writing, I want to focus on Fear.
Fear of what? Fear of failure, success, vulnerability, powerful emotions? It seems we humans can be afraid of nearly anything. So if it's fear that's partly responsible for holding us back from fulfilling our important life-goals, how is it possible for us to not feel it? Even when we have things in our life we want more than anything, fear sneaks in.
And so here's the paradox; fear turns out to be an inseparable part of fearlessness.
It seems we are destined to experience our fears, one or more at a time, so that one day we might be free of them.
How do we get brave enough to do that? How do we walk out on stage when our knees are knocking, our mouth is dry, and we are about to throw up?
We do it, one small step at a time, with humor, passion and love, because it's worth it. Because fear is generally guarding something precious, something worthy of our efforts.
Fears are dragons that need to be tamed into allies. This takes time, patience, diligence, skillfulness. The dragons don't just go away.
But it's not so bad. It can actually be fun! There are lots of tools (Jeff is full of them!) that can help us live our way into a more fearless life, both as people and as performers. There are reflections and techniques that support our courage, provide solace, and inspire us to live and give ever more fully.
DO THIS NOW! There is no time like the present to move towards your dragons of fear with curiosity, wondering: "What is behind that one?" and "How about that one?" This is the kind of bravery that is required if you want to live an ever-more fully expressed creative life.If you want to offer beauty of any kind to the world you'll need to untangle your gift from the fears that restrict its expression. This is simply the work of every artist, and you have countless beautiful resources from which to draw inspiration and instruction.
Jeff invited me to collaborate with him, and be one more resource for you. We've put together a series of audio tracks, each with a five minute talk followed by five minutes of meditation.
These are designed to help you unpack fears that get in your way, both as a person and as a musician. Together we look at navigating self-criticism, creative discovery, vulnerability, spontaneity, passion, play, and much more. All sessions are designed to launch you into more present and fruitful practice sessions.
To see how this would be helpful, you can try listening to the free download of "Diligence."
I wish you the very best on your journey towards fearlessness, toward the courage to feel fear and share anyway.