Gratitude to compassion

When life is challenging, practicing gratitude helps us appreciate the abundance that exists all around us. Appreciating our colleagues and peers is the perfect example. A stand partner who pencils in the perfect fingering. The colleague with the dry sense of humor who lightens the mood when there is tension in the air. Find a way to celebrate these occasions.

With the practice of gratitude we experience our own good fortune. We live life in joy. We share in the good fortune of others. I’m not sure how it works but gratitude and compassion seem to be flip sides of the same coin. Compassion allows us to objectively witness the struggles and losses of people around us. The objective part is important. It is like putting the airplane oxygen mask on yourself first. You cannot help anyone else if your own life is compromised.

In this new post I want to turn things around somewhat. Living in gratitude opens us up to compassion. You may be sitting with a colleague who is in the midst of overwhelm. Rather than bemoaning this person’s lack of preparedness, why not offer support. This is your opportunity to be the hero of the story.

I play in a regional orchestra that does not nearly offer a livable income. Most of the members of the orchestra have some kind of outside work or full-blown day job. I am one of those musicians. I know that my lack of preparedness at times can be frustrating to my stand partner. Luckily, I play in a rotating section so it doesn’t always affect the same violinist.

Don’t get me wrong, I am always fully prepared by the concert but it can be touch and go during rehearsals. During this time, I am also battling sleep deprivation. Such is the life of a part time performer/full time teacher. For 20 years I have lived this reality. For the most part, my stand partners who aren’t up as early in the morning are aware of the situation and help me navigate my journey to preparedness.

I am not the only one in the orchestra with this schedule. Somehow it all works out and we produce performances that delight our audience. We all try to contribute our best. Gratitude takes the form of appreciating what each of us has to offer the whole.

This is also a call to action for our audience members to support regional orchestras emotionally and financially. It is very hard work and many of the musicians live hand to mouth without a financial safety net. Thank you for your support!

The Inspiration for Violinists card deck
This “Last Supper” 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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