A recent conversation with an adult student got me thinking about being kinder to ourselves.

I was sharing the pre-performance shift I typically experience. Emerging out of the details. Leaning away from perfectionism. Embracing the excitement of sharing music with my audience.

In an attempt to explain it, I mentioned getting fatigued by the details.

“There’s probably a more positive way to phrase that,” I said. “But I’m really just a grump at heart. And I teach mindfulness!”

We had a good laugh. Then her face became reflective.

“I think mindfulness just means you’re more aware of your grumpiness,” she offered.

Acceptance. Non-judgement. Being kind to ourselves.

The tenets of mindfulness are so easy to forget.

I often remind myself that “mindfulness” translates in Sanskrit to “remember.” Our culture is so fast-paced. and We musicians are so busy. Being kind to ourselves gets lost in the shuffle.

My favorite way to remember self-kindness is to ask, “What do I need right now?”

It could be a glass of water. A deep breath. Moving my body. Joy. Inspiration. Facing that difficult conversation. A good cry.

Imagine it: Offering yourself what you need at any given moment. It’s a superpower right within our grasp.

Now imagine what would happen if you asked yourself what you need before a performance. In a practice session. During a busy teaching afternoon.

Would it make a difference?

Would offering yourself this kindness energize you, so that your gifts can shine more brightly?

Recently, my inner grump returned as I complained to a friend how tired I am all the time.

“You’re a working mom,” she reminded me.

Remembering. Being kind.

With much kindness to you,