LIFE IN THE FAST LANE.
GO THE DISTANCE.
NEVER STOP HUSTLING.
GIVE IT YOUR ALL.
These Ra-Ra sayings are meant to fire you up and get you out there achieving, accomplishing, winning, conquering, and succeeding! Yes! Do it all!
But it is really hard to wake up and win every single day and not feel burned out at some point, or let things fall through the cracks, and ignore important life needs in the quest for awesomeness.
I’ll be honest; I’m tired! Everyday during school semesters I scramble around trying to stay on top of assignments, making sure I’m ready for all of my lessons, practicing for rehearsals at, night, studying, and prepping content for this site. I haven’t had a weekend off since the beginning of January and I barely have time to invest in what I’m doing – let alone do anything extra. And I’m the teacher!!
This year I am devoting my spring break to slowing down.
I’m calling it the Spring Break Slow Down.
Some people go on epic spring break adventures, some people stay home and do homework, and some people just hang out and do nothing. This is not what the Spring Break Slow Down is all about.
I am encouraging all of my students to do the same. If I was smart and savvy about it I would have started some Instagram challenge and given out prizes, crowned winners, and made it a real thing. Bit it is so not about that. It is the opposite. You can’t win this competition.
So what is the Spring Break Slow Down?
A return to the process.
An opportunity to check in with yourself, to listen, and improve without an imaginary finish line.
A return to feeling like things are back under control, in their right place, healthy and whole.
My spring break to do list is limited to a few PROCESS driven activities; practice technique, work on my dissertation, file my taxes (sometimes being an adult just has to get done), and workout everyday. Nice and simple – mind, body, and soul are being tended to and nurtured. Slowly.
I’m back to my tried and true technique regime, I bookend my days with a vigorous 20 minute workout in the morning and a low, slow yoga session at night. I’m giving myself permission have non-social media surfing free time to fill with reading and sunshine. I’m using my dissertation work now to start making connections between readings, and my thoughts by finally putting them down on paper…or a computer screen.
I’m encouraging all of my students to relax, take some time to sleep, recover, and recharge. No, this is not a license to put their instrument away and not open the case for a week. It is an opportunity to practice slowly, to listen to those shifts, the steadiness of spiccato, the length of a phrase and not just frantically scrape away at your violin homework in hopes of passing on to the next etude, scale, or whatever.
I gave all of my students purposely slow tempo markings. I don’t even want them trying to play fast. I just want them to focus on doing it right. The process. If you’ve read any of this post (or my previous posts) you know I am a big fan of the process.
There is simplicity and joy when life isn’t so goal oriented. You have the chance to find the cracks and crevices where dust has built up in life and clean them out. I’m talking mentally, physically, emotionally, violinistically, musically, and intellectually; all of it. There are always little cobwebs growing in the corners of our lives that a good spring-cleaning. Cracks that need attention. Aches that need stretching, and sleep that needs sleeping.
Welcome to the Spring Break Slow Down; An annual tradition from now until forever.