Changing your perspective

The drawing on this card was an attempt to view the violin from the violinist’s perspective. Drawing this card may cause you to take a close look at feelings and attitudes you hold that may be discordant with reality.

I have been learning how to release obligations from the past. When I was younger I made assumptions about what life should hold. Being a very responsible type, I stuck to these assumptions even when it was clear that it was detrimental to a comfortable and fulfilling life. The holding onto of obligation creates a lens through which we see the world.

The analog in violin playing happens when we hear a note that is out of place in its tuning. We are playing a scale and suddenly one of our open strings sounds out of tune. We check on the tuner which shows that the string is in tune. We think – that couldn’t possibly be right. We check again and try tuning all of the strings. We then ask ourselves – how could this be?

It is like the proverbial spot on the wall. We clean it only to realize that the whole wall is dirty. Now we have a much bigger mess on our hands than anticipated. There are many who would advocate for not digging any deeper. Just keep looking through that lens. Why change anything now?

A paradigm shift occurs when we admit that our lens is flawed. Upon examination of those obligations, ask yourself how you came to abide by them? Are they for the greatest good or are they a product of someone’s ego including your own? Are they a misbegotten sense of duty? Instead, ask yourself what would have to change if you were to abandon these preconceived notions? What do you really want out of life?

Fortunately in violin playing, it is much harder to maintain the façade of denial. No one wants to hear a violin played out of tune. A good habit is to include intonation work in every practice session. One’s violin offers easy ways to check in with tuning by listening for ring tones, checking notes with open strings, and verifying pitch with harmonics. In terms of psychology, one could think of this as a daily meditation.

Checking in with our inner world on a regular basis through, for instance meditation, opens us to authenticity. We take stock of and become aligned with our true values and beliefs. It is a gentle way to tune into life.

The Inspiration for Violinists card deck
This “Tuning into life” card is part of a 50 card deck. Every card has a unique image and text inspiring musicianship, mindfulness and spirituality.

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