Daily practice ritual

Daily practice ritual

“Fortunately the practice involved in working with form is not just hard work. It also helps us to relax, give birth to new qualities of being and realize new inner freedom. 

The more a musician practices his instrument, the more fully and freely he can express himself, without having to struggle with the limitations of technique. 

Through his practice and devotion, he masters not just the technique, but more importantly, himself, developing the inner confidence and sensitivity that will allow him to interpret music in a masterful way.

This frees up our energy to explore new areas, to cultivate deeper qualities of our being and see how to bring these more fully into our daily life.” William James

Daily practice is such a chore isn’t it. We know we should be doing something every day. But what stops us from doing it? There are always many many reasons. It can start off so well, and then….

I set regular practice as part of my speech therapy programs.  I do tailor the amount of home practice according to the individual. I ascertain how much they are likely to do. It is a much better to feel we are fulfilling the practise than never achieving it…Reminds me of my clarinet practice when I was younger. 30 minutes felt like an eternity.

When my clients return, I can tell when they don’t tell the whole truth about their daily practise/home program. Some are honest about it and state the many varied reasons why it was not possible to achieve it. Some reasons are perfectly valid and some are veiled as our attempts to sabotage ourselves from improving. I see myself as a “barrier-remover facilitator”. I work out ways to see if the practice can be incorporated easily: in the car, while the kettle is boiling, in the toilets…(yes, there). And every little bit counts towards a real improvement. Slowly, as the barriers are removed, change can occur.

I had a conversation this week with a new friend, where we discussed the fear of success is often more daunting than the fear of failure. And so it may seem many times that we stop ourselves from doing something for fear we might actually improve. It is almost as if we say to ourselves “Well, what then? What if i am successful?” A delightful sensation to explore when it arises and find where our true resonance lies. 

This fear of success can happen to anyone, yet many creative and sensitive individuals I know, both personally and professionally, seem to run into these barriers earlier than others. Success means we need to make ourselves vulnerable, and this can be emotionally confronting, perhaps terrifying!

Brene Brown in her “Ted” speech talks about vulnerability being the key to successful relationships. (If you don’t know about TED, do yourself a favour and check it out!”)

‘Relationship’ also being the one we have with ourselves. How do we keep honest with ourselves, connected to our truth and our desires, as opposed to our ego’s desires or those around us, real or imaginary? This is where daily practice can come in. It reminds us of where we have been, where we are, and where we want to be. In a mindful and clear way, it engages us on all levels: mental, emotional, energetic and physical.

I have often read the above quote. It inspires me to consider my daily practice. And consider it again. I used to have it on the wall for several years as a constant reminder of where I was heading. My intention: Semi-supine, vocalisations, voice exercises, body awareness, mindfulness, master of my emotions and thoughts. It inspires me to be more of a musician. More of a craftsman of my vocal instrument, exploring all it can do, pushing it to its limits. Not just range or volume, but also in its flexibility and uniqueness. I am always finding subtlety and nuance in what it can do. It surprises me constantly, which is a beautiful feeling. And only achieved through experimentation, improvisation and play.

After a ritualised daily practice, I seem to find I am able to tap into that connected feeling more organically. It seems that I am then able to be more spontaneous throughout the day. It enables me to be more present. More available to myself. 

Mastering the craft, I know this as the place where true possibilities arise.