Out of Touch With Self

out_of_touch_with_selfI’ve felt like I’ve been spinning lately. My brain is going a thousand miles an hour most of the day and night, and thoughts about work, in particular, are jumping around up there and bouncing up and down on the relentless treadmill. This happens from time to time with me, but it’s usually not this bad. There’s been more going on at work than usual, but there’s something else at play.

I’m not staying in the moment. I’m spending my time thinking about what needs to happen next and worrying about what’s already past. What’s right in front of me slips away and sometimes becomes one more thing that I didn’t get done. When this is happening I also don’t eat regularly, I sleep even less than usual (which is not much), and perhaps most importantly, I’m not having any fun.

So yes, I know what I need to do: stay in the moment, have more fun. But how?

general music

Letting Go of Cracked Notes

Photo by Sean Nolan
Photo by Sean Nolan
Though I’ve been on a hiatus from performing for a few years now, I’ve probably played hundreds of concerts/gigs in my life as a trumpet player—and I’ve probably played millions of notes—yet I still remember all the major times I cracked a note. Of course what this expands to is how I dwell on mistakes in general. I have a tendency to hang on to not just these cracked notes, but mistakes as a husband, parent, or friend; mistakes at work; and even past seasons of baseball where my batting average or ERA was less than desirable.

In my head I can reason out all kinds of things:

  • I’m only human and humans make mistakes.
  • Nobody’s perfect.
  • Mistakes happen for a reason, learn from them.
  • If you hold onto mistakes, you can’t move forward.
  • The good I’ve done outweighs the bad. Focus on the positive.

I do really believe all these things, but still, old behaviors and ways of thinking creep back in.


A Life-Changing Practice

There are two practices that solve nearly all my problems and because today is in fact Thanksgiving, it seems appropriate to focus on one: Gratitude. The other is being in the present moment, and without going into that too much, I think you’ll see how one compliments the other for me.

Obviously the concept of gratitude isn’t a new one to me, but it has taken on a whole new level of importance in my life this past year. I have to thank my wife for really introducing this practice into my day-to-day and making it something that I do, not only daily, but especially when I’m struggling throughout the day. When I’m disappointed, fearful, angry, frustrated, overwhelmed—you name it—I simply have to take a breath and refocus on what I’m thankful for. It can be people in my life, circumstances, and even things—but not long after I start thinking about what I’m thankful for, my entire mood and outlook changes.