As I write, the new year is two days away. Some of us use the date 1/1 as a starting point to set goals, intentions, or resolutions.
At this time of year I often recall a concept I read a while back: Instead of listing what I want or plan to do, I try listing what I can let go of.
There are many ways in which desire, need, ambition, and appetite can actually be limiting.
Certainly, accumulating “stuff” involves associated responsibilities. These can be burdensome. Everything we own needs to be cared for in some way: Instruments need to be tuned, played, kept at a reasonable humidity, or least, kept indoors. Batteries need to be charged, books need to be read, software needs to be understood. Even throwing things away can be problematic if you’re concerned about the effect on the planet and the environment.
What else that you hold on to could be released? The need to be perceived as a good musician? Ranking yourself, or comparing yourself to other musicians? Self-criticism? Dwelling on past mistakes? The belief that people don’t like your playing? The objective to practice for X minutes a day? The belief that you can’t progress or learn a certain skill? The wish that your life had been otherwise so you could be a great musician like Raimundo the Amazing? The preoccupation with things you don’t know how to do, rather than with things you do well? Fear of working outside your comfort zone?
I’m sure you can find one or two items for a “to don’t” list for the coming year. Try to keep it to just a couple. (Let go of making a list!) Imagine the freedom you’ll have when you can make some of this baggage evaporate. What space will it open up for creativity, inventiveness and spontaneity?
Judy Minot is a musician and the author of the book Best Practice: Inspiration and Ideas for Traditional Musicians.
Judy has played and practiced piano since she could reach the keys, training in classical playing until age 16. She now plays traditional music in various settings on a number of instruments, and gives workshops and classes on Best Practice ideas all over the U.S. and virtually.
Judy spent her working life in broadcast television and digital marketing. She holds a 4th degree black belt in the martial art of Kokikai Aikido and is a certified yoga teacher.
For more information visit: www.judyminot.com/bestpractice