Please note that Current of Life was previously published under the title: Living Your Potential
Miles Davis, as quoted by Adam Shatz in a New York Times Book Review (1), often said that the biggest challenge in jazz improvisation is “not to play all the notes you could play, but to wait, hesitate, let space become a part of the configuration.” Likewise, in a television profile, Placido Domingo commented that one of the singers he most admired was Frank Sinatra because of his talent for phrasing and pausing in between the words he sang.
This musical metaphor is relevant to our every day lives. There must be enough space in our days and in our minds so that we can hear ourselves and access our imaginations.
10 Minutes of Space
Sometimes the very idea of needing to relax can stress you out! Many times when you have a lot going on, it’s easy to fall into the when I have time syndrome. Yet, that is when you need it the most.
Fortunately, the effects of “allowing the space” can be quite significant, even in small increments. For example, making it a practice to take 10 minutes before running out the door in the morning can reap huge benefits. At first you might be tempted to fill these 10 minutes with planning or running down your to do list. And, while those are important routines also, eventually you will find that simply sitting quietly for 10 minutes readies you for the day in a much more powerful and peaceful way than filling up every minute with activity. You may even find that you expand the amount of time to 20 minutes or add it as a night time ritual as well.
Last week, during a retreat I conducted for the staff of a community service organization, several people spoke of the need to have more time in their lives for what they had identified as their main vision and goals. In some cases, the desire was simply to have “time for absolutely nothing”. One woman decided to put an “X” through a number of weekends during the summer, to protect them from getting filled up with plans.
How will you preserve some precious time within your days this summer?
Arrange a few notes, allow for the space in between, and improvise the rest!
Here's to you,
(1) Adam Shatz, “Cool in Every Way,” The New York Times Book Review, December 29, 2002, 11
© 2005, Virginia M. Kravitz and In the Current®. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to reproduce this article provided it is without any alteration, includes the copyright above, and if distributing electronically includes a link to www.inthecurrent.com.
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