many of you are aware of the fact that I play a clarinet in the orchestra at my church. I taught myself to play on a horn I borrowed from my sister over 35 years ago and while I’ve managed to develop a certain degree of skill on the instrument over the years, I know in my heart that that I’m still just a rank amateur.
How do I know this?
Because every year when we do our Christmas musical, we’re generally joined by a few key players who help “round out” our sound, and one of our regular guests is a professional oboe player. That means he’s generally seated very close if not right next to me, playing lines that are very similar, if not the same as mine. But that’s not to say that the music I make sounds anywhere near as sweet as his. Oh no…far from it. Because while we both may have had the same amount of time to practice notes and learn the rhythms for this musical, only one of us seems to instinctively know when to pause… in order to color the notes with passion.
That’s not to say that I don’t think routine is important. Heaven knows, I’ve practically been the poster-child for living by the routine! But here’s the deal…what I’ve finally figured out in the past two years is that if I’m not careful, and if I don’t take the appropriate safeguards, those routines that served me so well can actually begin to enslave me… and if I don’t recognize it, or make a change, they can actually deplete me of my energy, my creativity, and my passion. And unfortunately, you know what usually happens then? I tend to compound the problem by eliminating the one thing… the very thing I need the most…
quiet, reflective time.
Time to dream.
Time to think.
(And maybe time to have a little fun!)
And most importantly… time to contemplate what’s working and what’s not, so that I can change course for the better if that’s called for.
In other words, I forget to pause.
And that, more than anything else, is the change I started incorporating into my routine a couple years ago. I deliberately slowed down (mostly because I HAD to) in the Fall of 2019 & it was about the same time I underwent my first knee replacement surgery (and believe me when I say, there’s very little that can force you to reevaluate your priorities quite like major surgery can). And then of course… along came Covid19 which totally upended all of my carefully laid plans, but what the past couple of years have taught me is that its OK to give myself permission to…pause… to give myself time to think… to create… and to maybe see things just a little bit differently!
So… how about YOU?
What do YOU do or where do YOU go when you need an opportunity to think and reflect? If you have comments or suggestions you’d like to share about this design in general or this sample in specific, please feel free to leave either or both in the space provided below.
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