Days 14-29, practicing mindfulness and meditation in an Angela sort of way

February 14th-15th: I have a big performance coming up this week and the reality is, I need to mentally prepare in a way I know will lead to a successful experience. Like any athlete preparing for a sporting event, I need to pump myself up with continuous positive thinking and keep those negative “inner judges” at bay. In order to do this, I listened to the audiobook Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. As a musician, I cannot reach success without facing my fears and allowing myself to fail…sometimes miserably. As someone who suffers from performance anxiety, I can tell you that I often have to rely on my practice and muscle memory during a performance in order to battle nerves. I’m constantly reminding myself to relax, let go, and be brave enough to take risks.

February 16th-17th: After completing Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, I jumped right into listening to Year of Yes, How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes. She is the creator and producer of the hit ABC TV shows Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder. In her book, Shonda talks about being an introvert who decided to say yes to anything and everything that was asked of her for a year, such as accepting invitations to situations that make her extremely uncomfortable. This is perfect advice for someone who is about to perform for a brand new audience tomorrow.

February 18th: My mom’s birthday and performance day…when I’m nervous I get overly emotional and have the sudden urge to cry. What’s the best way to avoid crying? Laughing. This morning I listened to the podcast Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! from NPR while getting ready. It’s silly, snarky and keeps my mind free from nerves.

February 19th-20th: My performance is finished and everything went really well. On one hand I feel free, as if a huge weight has been lifted. On the other hand, after a really long performance day, I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck! Every ounce of my body hurts and I am completely exhausted. On my flight home I listened to the audiobook, 8 Keys To Practicing Mindfullness: Practical Strategies for Emotional Health and Well-being by Manuela Mischke-Reeds. The good news is, I learned that I am already a pretty mindful person. Score!

February 21st-26th: This week I’ve been listening to 10 Mindful Minutes: Giving Our Children – and Ourselves – the Social and Emotional Skills to Reduce Stress and Anxiety for Healthier, Happier Lives by Goldie Hawn. To be honest, when I checked out this audiobook from the library, I noticed the title and completely missed the subtitle. Doh! In my quest for a quick and painless way to complete this goal, I found a source that will help me as a teacher.

February 27th-29th: We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘when it rains it pours’ right? Well, that is my life right now. On my quest to reset, reenergize, and focus on my next goal, I’ve decided to listen to the audiobook, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Nell Scovell and Sheryl Sandberg. I’ve also been working on the Telemann Fantasie No. 1 in A Major as an extra little goal this month. I’m looking forward to a new month and a new goal!