When you find yourself wanting to relax what do you end up doing?
Over the years I've found myself doing tai chi, meditation, swimming, going for a walk, listening to slow gentle music and a whole host of other things. In the last few days I've recently started doing early morning yoga practice again. Some times that I've done these things I've not really wanted to relax! In other words, the mind didn't allow it in that moment. The 'problem' as I see it is that often we think a relaxation opportunity is really a relaxation 'switch', and when we find out it doesn't always work we get confused and start seeking other 'switches' or over practising.
In truth there are no such switches for the mind and nothing to really switch on or off.
I'm pretty black and white about the inside-out understanding but let me be clear: there's nothing wrong with doing things 'to calm you down', all the while knowing that it isn't the 'thing' that calms your thinking, and let's face it - being relaxed isn't always what's needed. Maybe, in this moment, it's just your mind's moment to be anxious for a short while. Or depressed. Maybe it even lasts for a longer while. Maybe sadness is what comes up. Perhaps anger surfaces. But like all states of mind - it is transient if it is not resisted.
There's no need to use 'relaxation techniques' as a way of eradicating unpleasant states of mind - that simply cannot be done. That said, there may be an important place for these activities in your life. They can provide a space. An opportunity. In truth, no more of an opportunity than any other time, but perhaps the one you want in your life. This is one of the reasons I recently returned to my yoga practice - to benefit the body, but also to ring-fence some time each day to look in the direction of wellbeing. Not some time to 'practise' it, because wellbeing never leaves, but to look within.
The calming mind is the only true source of relaxation. Whenever we fall out of the illusion of the separate self. Whenever we drop the illusion that the separate self (unique identity, personality, body, name, or story) is who we are. The illusion of the separate self creates mental effort, separation, struggle, 'problems'. The true self is oneness, inspiration, creation, meditation, love, acceptance, and gratitude.The more understanding of how the mind works, the more of yourself you discover.
Look out for my new monthly Meetup group starting soon in East London!
Like I mentioned last week, I'm about to start a Kickstarter campaign to gain momentum ahead of the book launch - so watch out for more news coming soon!
I'm also delighted to announce that along with my colleague Robin Lockhart I'm running a pilot programme called 'Find Clarity in Performance' at Trinity Laban Conservatoire which is funded by the National Lottery Awards for All Scheme.
I'm going to need your help for the launch of my new book, 'Just Play: The Simple Truth Behind Musical Excellence'. The launch is happening soon and I will be announcing the launch date shortly. Book sales will be used as vehicle to raise funds for Help Musicians UK's mental health campaign, Music Minds Matter.
I will be aiming for a number one best seller on Amazon, so I will need the help and assistance of a great many people and organisations to make that a reality. If you have an idea or would like to help in some way please do get in touch. A number one bestseller will make sharing a message of wellbeing easier and will make it simpler to impact the lives of musicians and other people who are striving for excellence or even just after some peace of mind.
There are several ways you can get involved in the growing community of flourishing, happy, healthy musicians and performers who are awake to the future of performance psychology.
If you haven't done so yet, do ask to join the Peak Performance for Musicians Facebook Group - there you'll find free webinars, interviews, Facebook lives and a chance to ask questions and get support and to network with professional and amateur musicians.
Check out the videos on the Nick Bottini Youtube channel.
Get my Five Essential Tips For Any Musician ebook or share the link with a friend or colleague.
Get in touch about me working with you one-to-one, or with your organisation or ensemble.
Join my book launch team to help me make 'Just Play: The Simple Truth Behind Musical Excellence' become a bestseller when in launches in May.
If you know anyone who would like to receive updates about the book, know any famous musicians who would like to perform at the launch party or know anyone who would be willing to get behind the book launch then please do get in touch with me.