One day I was driving and I got hit by a random wave of anxiety. I was trying to talk myself through it with all my old tricks of the trade, but I was struggling with trying to focus on driving, making the mistake of trying to get rid of the uncomfortable feeling, and of course being too comfortable with what I know. As I was struggling this image flashed through my mind for a split second. I got really excited because it said so much with such a quick and simple picture, and then peace began to wrap around me.
🔴 What does it mean? In music notation the hanging rectangle is a “whole rest.” It means “Do nothing for this whole bar, just be still and rest!” The double line with the 2 dots (: ) is a repeat. It means, well, repeat! “Go back and do what you just did!” Both together are, in a sense, saying “rest indefinitely!”
🔴 Often we can get so familiar with our tricks and mental remedies that they no longer seem to have the same positive power they once did. But since I’m in the process of learning the language of music, this was a way to communicate something I “knew” in a new way with the same power that comes from discovering it for the first time. “Just rest.”
🔴 What does that look like? Well, what would it look like to a musician who read this on a sheet? “Just sit there and breathe. No pressure to do anything or make a sound. Just rest!” And then what!? Surely I have to do SOMETHING! Yep! See that : at the end? It means do what you just did again (rest). And then again. And then again. Don’t worry! The rest of the band will keep playing their part and the song will go on. You focus on your part, which right now is just to breathe. And when it’s the right time for you to come back in with your part, you’ll be plenty rested, not so anxious and under pressure about the beautiful expression of this piece that is a collective effort of creation, not a solo burden for you to carry alone.
So to whoever needs it, I extend to you the same permission that was extended to me by my friends in high places: Rest, and repeat. Peace to your heart, soul and mind!
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