Rest like a cat

When I drew this card today I thought ugh – this one! Now I am laughing because I need this “Practice, practice, practice – then rest” card from the Inspiration for Violinists card deck more than ever. It has been an incredibly busy few weeks since the start of the new year. I’m feeling the work pile up with no end in sight.

I think there is a universal feeling in the world right now of taking on more and more responsibility. As an example of how this happens, there is the saying “no good deed goes unpunished.” The relevance here is that by being good at your job, the reward is – you guessed it – more work and more responsibly. I, we have to find a way to put the breaks on.

The weekend so far
Saturday morning is my favorite time of the week. I take a streamed gentle yoga class in the peacefulness of my condo. Afterwards I go out to breakfast with some friends from yoga at our favorite spot – Dish ’n Dat in Canton, CT. Although since we had a snow storm, we switched to virtual this time. 

The rest of the day involved tying up some vacation plans, a Telehealth appointment, transferring video from last week’s school concert from a camcorder to google drive, household chores including cleaning the cat boxes (one box per cat plus one = 3 boxes for two cats), and printing out the music I will be playing in Hartford Symphony next week. Doesn’t sound like much but it was midnight by the time I got to bed.

Today so far has involved tying up more plans for the same vacation, exercising, and now writing this blog. Still to go, preparing meals for the work week, practicing that music I printed out last night, checking emails, and planning another school concert later this week.

The week ahead
I always say that playing a symphony series is a three-week process. Week one: Getting everything done before rehearsing starts. Week two: Seven days straight of rehearsals and concerts with pretty much nothing else getting done. Week three: Mopping up from the previous week when nothing got done. Today is the beginning of week one which also includes a school concert.

Putting the breaks on
It is obvious that I’m still trying to figure this out. It has been helpful to me to maintain connections with friends and family, eat and sleep on a regular basis, and keep doing fun things. I have resorted to healthy food delivery and using a robot vacuum. It is also important to say no to any new responsibility that only promises to add more work to my schedule.

I have mentioned in previous posts that in the past year I have discovered that I am an HSP (highly sensitive person). Recently I have been taking online courses and listening to podcasts by Julie Bjelland, founder of the Sensitive Empowerment Community, Being an HSP, I have learned that I am more susceptible to taking on too much responsibility.

One of my big take-aways from Julie’s posts has been checking in with myself multiple times during the day by putting my hand on my heart and asking how my “child” is feeling at that moment. When my cognitive mind makes a connection with my inner feels, it has a way of clearing up any dissonance I am feeling. I have been frequently surprised that what I’m actually feeling is quite different from what I thought I was feeling.

Getting more rest
I mention mindfulness because it makes rest possible. Rest isn’t just about sleep and sleep isn’t always restful. I am constantly having to make room in my life so that rest is possible. Rest can be looking out the window at the trees and the birds, going for a walk, reading a good book, watching a movie, or hanging out with friends. How do you make room for rest in your life?

Practice hard on the violin but also practice including rest in your life. Checking in with your inner child will help you identify why you are not giving yourself a break. Remember that your brain needs rest to assimilate information. Your body needs rest for good health and overall well-being. Watch how easily your cat drops down on his side, shuts his eyes and purrs himself to sleep.

The Inspiration for Violinists card deck This “rest” 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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