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January Wisdom

One of the most meaningful translations of meditation is that it means “to remember”. To remember that at our core, we are all connected, all facing the same fears, searching for meaning and sharing the same griefs. It is also to remember that we are beings that have inherent value without actions. We are a being that has never existed before nor will again. This is truly the wonder and magic of life.

Yet, we scroll through social media comparing ourselves and trying to be who others are and forgetting the amazing fact of our own uniqueness. Suffering is almost immediate.

Our minds are mostly on auto-pilot and our default mode is as described below:

“We are constantly murmuring, muttering, scheming, or wondering to ourselves under our breath,” wrote Epstein. “‘I like this. I don’t like that. She hurt me. How can I get that? More of this, no more of that.’ Much of our inner dialogue is this constant reaction to experience by a selfish, childish protagonist. None of us has moved very far from the seven-year-old who vigilantly watches to see who got more.” Dan Harris, 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works - A True Story

This constant stream of thoughts in our heads is quite literally causing us terrible pain and creating a war within ourselves.

One of my favorite quotes on this subject is from Dan Siegel:

If you have a fight with yourself, who can win?” Dan Siegel

Meditation is about learning to notice your thoughts and remember that many of those thoughts are just a default-mode that is not motivating us, it is debilitating us. It is a path to not fighting with yourself.


Take 5 minutes (set a timer) to remember that there is only one you in all the history of mankind. Close your eyes if that is comfortable for you, breathe in the knowledge of your own unique spirit and hold it close. Notice how your heart feels. Notice how your body opens and expands.

Now, open FaceBook or Instagram and scroll but keep your awareness on your breath and body. The first time you see a post about someone else’s performing life, feel your body. What does it do? Many experience the sense of jealousy on the right side of the heart, many experience a contraction of the muscles around the chest and face, many experience a physical weight that is grief. What are you feeling?

Now, ask yourself if this forgetting is useful? Is it really motivating and inspiring? Or, does it shut us down and cause us to lose connection with ourselves and others, or search for ways to numb ourselves rather than focus on what we care deeply about?

Challenge: Take a full week away from any social media sites and do the above exercise again.

Now that we have discovered that our bodies respond to our mental state, we understand that part of body work and movement is for the body to also “remember” its own beauty and uniqueness. Body work helps us discover our own physical default-mode in daily life, in practicing and under the rigors of performing. It helps us remember how our bodies can feel and move when we are not hurting ourselves with inner criticism and comparison.

When the body and mind remember our incredible uniqueness and light in the world, we regain our love of life, music and others. The frightening thing is, we had no idea that we had lost it in the first place.

Music is our passion and vital to each of us. But, if we let it destroy us from within, we lose everything that is wonderful about being alive-including our love of music.

This is what we are focused on at AOS-Wellness. Tools to remember so that we stay able to love our lives while being the best musicians that each of us can be. We provide practices to look deeply into ourselves, our thought patterns, our emotional lives, our bodies. We provide tools that work to optimize the systems of thought, emotion and physicality to improve everything in our lives, including our playing.

Open your heart and expand your possibilities.

Namaste-“the musician in me, sees the musician in you and we are one.”

Laura Dwyer

Tips for healthy social media use:

· Consider watching the film, “Social Dilemma” to get an overview of how you may be affected:

· Consider pausing and checking in with yourself before social media use to note how you feel and why you might be choosing to go on social media sites. What is it that you are looking for? Is there something else that may help you find what you need more accurately?

· Consider social media use only at specific times

· Consider taking social media breaks of 1-2 weeks or 1-2 days per week. Take note of how you feel when you return

· Consider moving or meditating instead of instantly going to social media sites

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