Did you know that my dad’s a professional tuba player, like that’s his real job?
He literally co-authored The Tuba Source Book, which is enormous. Standing on a pile of pillows (me not him), he taught me how to play the tuba when I was 3 years old.
In elementary school, I found my way to the euphonium, which looks like a miniature tuba and is in the same octave as a trombone.
For almost 2 decades I’ve been a euphonium-player-drop-out. That is until early March 2020, right before we began to shelter in place. I visited Baltimore, got my euphonium out of storage, and had a 15 minute lesson with my dad.
Quality over quantity will win for me every time.
We went over a few intense breathing exercises and the Valsalva maneuver,* which teaches that when you tighten your tummy, your throat tightens up too. So when you relax either one, the other one will relax more as well.
Mind-blowing-ly, those are some of the same concepts I’ve been learning on my healing path becoming a Reiki Master Teacher, receiving pelvic floor therapy, and participating in 100+ group healing medicine circles.
It’s all the same light, we’re just different lamps.
I had no stamina or discipline for practice as a child. And that’s ok. I was very talented, and I was also basically incapable of investing additional focused energy into my talents above the bare minimum.
About 7 years ago, when I embarked on an intentional healing journey, I learned that I’d need to develop some discipline towards living into a more enjoyable life.
Discipline simply comes from the word “disciple” — so we can unintentionally be disciples of fear, laziness, and suffering, or we can be intentional disciples of love, presence, and euphonium playing : )
About 2 weeks ago I habit-stacked** a few minutes of music practice onto my existing morning routine.
I’m having THE BEST TIME!*** I literally feel high after practicing because my blood is so oxygenated after 5 minutes of deep, meaningful breath. And, because listening to live music activates the vagus nerve.****
The results of consistent, incremental practice are magical.
Another place I’m seeing the fruits of consistent, incremental practice is in work + business. I’m sending you an email weekly, posting regularly on my Instagram, and setting myself up right each day to get to take care of my clients.
I wasn’t open to new business in 2019.
In the last 2 months I started working with 3 new website clients.
In the last week I’ve had 5 new inquiries for branding, website development, and business coaching or consulting.
Practice is real.
Where would you like to see growth in your life right now?
All of those sound fun, valuable, and possible to me. One little practice at a time.
With love & care,
* After the medical writings of Dr. Valsalva as interpreted by my dad’s tuba teacher Arnold Jacobs.
** A great example for “habit stacking” would be that you brush your teeth every night, yeah? (If no, we need to have a separate conversation.) Now, if you also want to floss, stack the flossing habit on top of your already existing tooth brushing habit. Atomic Habits by James Clear explains the neuroscience of this strategy.
*** Did you / do you play an instrument? I’m now remembering the brain-breaking that occurs while trying to switch between 4:4 and 3:4 timestamps, the different fingerings for A flat and A natural, and the pleasure of recognizing small little tunes in my beginner’s practice book. What was / is your instrument?
**** Recently learned about the vagus nerve from Eva Clay when she shared on nervous system hacks for expanded pleasure at Amy Jo Goddard’s Fire Woman Retreat.
Running up from our root through the abdomen, thorax, and face into the brain, the vagus is the largest and most complex cranial nerve.
In addition to listening to live music, other ways to stimulate the vagus nerve include: a kitten laying on your tummy, yoga asana practice, breath work, singing.
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