I’ve been thinking recently about the idea of escape.
Practice is, for me, often an escape. I go running three times a week in the mornings to clear my head and yes, escape. People do many different things, some may dance or draw, some go walking in the countryside, some do yoga, but a lot of the time they feel like it is an escape. Obviously there are ways of escaping some people use that are not good for them, excessive drinking, drug abuse, or other destructive habits. But maybe their reasoning is the same? Maybe they want to escape to a place where current problems are no longer at the forefront of their minds.
If I’m upset about something, practice is a chance to – as my teacher says – leave all those little niggling things in your mind in a box by the door. You can’t practice effectively while worrying about your bank balance, nor can you practice well while wondering what he or she meant when they said whatever they said. It is a chance to focus the mind and it is a retreat from that voice in your head that tells you you’re inadequate (we all have that, right?)
Practising is like putting yourself in an entirely different mental state, a more creative state – whilst also being on the lookout for what can be improved, enhanced or changed for the better. I never feel like I should be doing anything else while I’m practising, it’s when I’m doing other things that I feel I should be practising. It’s nice to tell that voice to quiet down a bit, too.
Surroundings can matter a lot during practice – I’m not sure why – I cannot practice in a messy room, I just can’t, sorry. The act of tidying the space around me somehow clears my head and makes me ready to sit down and work. If I’m at the harp and all I can see is mess, it plays on my mind til I tidy it away anyway. De-cluttering the space around me de-clutters my mind in a lot of ways. Maybe that’s another escape?
I’m about to embark on week six of a fourteen week running plan with the aim of being able to run for an hour at the end of the plan. I have an amazing app on my phone that tells me exactly when to run and when to walk, and I can listen to my music at the same time (usually cheesy upbeat dance music circa 2003). It’s called 10K runner: couch to 10K in 14 weeks or something like that. Definitely worth buying if you’re into that sort of thing, or indeed, you are looking to get into it. I’ve been using it for five weeks and I love it, running three mornings a week is becoming a habit and one I intend to keep for a long time.
Anyway, I digress, running for me is a complete escape from normal life, at school I was fair to rubbish at sports, and was always near last at the dreaded cross-country races we had to do. But now that I can set the pace and I’m not against anybody, I can just see it as a chance to stretch my legs and get out in the fresh air, I can feel myself getting fitter already and with each run it gets a bit easier to go just that little bit further. It is a complete change in my routine – not that my usual days have much routine to them…
Maybe it’s not escape I’m after, I’m perfectly happy where I am right now, why would I want to escape? I’m doing what I love for a living, I have my health and a lovely family and great friends. Believe me I count my blessings every day. Maybe it’s a change. A change is as good as a rest, or so they say. Changing what we’re doing refreshes the mind and invigorates us with new energy. The last thing any of us need is to sink into indifference, lethargy and mediocrity. Maybe the way to stay on top of things is to keep moving, keep doing new things and pushing ourselves to be the absolute best we can be, and to use our little escapes as stepping stones along the way…