Monday, February 7, 2022

Living Under Constraints

Lately I've been thinking a lot about thriving in different situations. Whether it be health, unfulfilled dreams, or poor circumstances, sometimes we don’t feel like we’re living up to our potential. 

I'm a free spirit, and I like to do things in my time, my way, but I’ve definitely hit some foul balls. And, as much as I hate to admit it, looking back at “mistakes” and learning opportunities, I've seen beauty in the aftermath, through obedience and while living under constraints.

Let me explain….
When I first started playing the violin in elementary school, my bow arm would fly sporadically as I learned to fiddle and "Bile Them Cabbage Down." I thought I excelled until my teacher said I needed to start playing the violin in a corner—with both elbows against the wall where they couldn't be free!

Fiddling in a corner is…uncomfortable. I played like that for months, even when I practiced for hours each week at home. Slowly though, I learned to move my right arm fluidly, so the bow would stay on the "string highway." My left arm gained proper form too, and the violin's sound changed.

One day, my teacher smiled during my lesson and said, "Elisa, your elbow didn't smack the wall at all! You're playing perfectly!"

"Really?" I stepped from the corner and played. At that moment, the sound emanating from my fiddle, completely captivated my soul. My violin became an extension of myself. The sheer power and volume, the rich sound...the way the notes cried out with each emotion I felt, all because I'd learned to perfect small things while living under constraints.

It seems that we all value individuality and unique endeavors; that's beautiful, but there's also something to be said for obedience and understanding the basics so we can build on foundational knowledge.

Maybe this sickness is a moment for me to focus on the small things so I can excel with complexities.

I can hardly wait for the day that I can look back and revel in what I’ve learned! In the meantime, I’m grateful that I can play my violin. Even on the worst days, that instrument somehow brings me joy.

This photo was taken at a gig I played in Park City 
with Ryan Kirkpatrick and Johnny A. Hickman (of the country band Cracker).