Discover more from Practicing Turned Upside Down - Vanessa Mulvey
What makes you uncomfortable?
Performing? Certain pieces or excerpts? Certain phrases? A crowded room? Covid-19? Confrontation?
We often don’t recognize signs of discomfort, instead, we instinctually react to them. For me, the moment I get distracted as I practice or write is when I decide to check my email, get another glass of water, or realize I need something to eat. I use these tasks to escape the discomfort I am facing. I didn’t even recognize when discomfort arose because my mind is so stealth at getting me out of it before I experience the unpleasant sensations.
A few weeks ago I was exploring a new piece of repertory with a student. The piece was a challenge for this student. I sensed they were ready to say, It’s not that they did not like the music, they didn’t like the discomfort of the challenges, and let doubt deter them. I knew differently, in the split second that I recognized their discomfort, I simultaneously recognized that facing the challenges of this piece is a gateway to growth.
This made me wonder, how many times do I arrive at the gateway each day? How often am I in discomfort and don’t realize it? A lot! In my Parkour practice where the physical demands are great and the consequences are too, I arrive at discomfort often! In my flute practice, I encounter it. As I build up my playing endurance again, I am both physically and mentally uncomfortable. In teaching I encounter discomfort. When a student is uncomfortable, I need to push them, I commit to the fact that they can rise to the challenges and I can guide them through the gate and arrive at their next level.
In each of the areas I describe, there is a process to move through the discomfort and pass through the gateway. Not just one process, but many possible processes to overcome, embody, and confidently execute the challenge.
What are your typical responses when you arrive at the discomfort before a gateway to growth? Do you check your email? Watch a video? Move onto another task? Make a phone call?
This week, look for signs of discomfort, it often comes as a distraction of some kind that diverts you away from the discomfort. Look in both the practice room and in other parts of your life. Recognizing the discomfort as you approach a challenge allows you to employ the curiosity of an observer and dive headfirst into the process of moving through the gateway.
Breathe More Deeply starts TONIGHT!!!! It’s not too late to join!
3 Tuesday evening sessions 7:30 - 8:30pm to get breathing more deeply again.