The last violin teacher I studied with, Paul Kantor, said something shocking in my first lesson with him.
First, he said, “Sara, you think the violin is about a million details.” This wasn’t surprising—complexity was my entire experience of playing violin—these infinite details that were demanding, or more often, completely maddening.
The surprise came next when he said, “Nope. 95% of playing well is about creating a basic, beautiful sound.”
It really was a shock. I was already a very high-level player; you don’t even get to study with Paul unless you are. But here he was, blowing away nearly everything I thought I knew about playing the violin. And, he backed it up.
For the next decade, I had lessons where he continually focused back on the few, fundamental elements of making a good, basic sound. And like magic, the more consistently I produced this kind of sound, the more all the more peripheral elements of playing just fell into place.
This was my first immersion in the concept that when you address the core, everything else takes care of itself.
I was fortunate enough to encounter this again through studying the Ron Fletcher line of Pilates with Ron himself, in addition to some of his primary teachers. I got to experience that same thing in my body and my Pilates students’ bodies—that by aligning the core of the body through movement in alignment, seemingly complex issues at the periphery of the body (like forearm tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome, for instance) just cleared up.
So, when I recognized that this concept was the basis for the personal transformation work that has now become my life’s work, I immediately knew that it would work well.
When it comes to how our lives work, we usually think it’s about a million details just like my old concept of violin playing. But, actually, it all comes down to how we feel about being ourselves.
Even with feelings, though, we have lots of love, happiness, sadness, depression, anger and so many more. But really, we can simplify being human into two basic feelings: “It’s good being me just as I am,” or, “There’s something wrong with being me just as I am.”
These two basic feelings, stored in our sense of self from early in life, become the generating force behind every moment of our lives.
When the founder of this work told me that the good feeling is actually the natural core of who we are, then I understood that peeling away layers of the bad feeling was the most important thing we could do in order to have life feel and work much better for us. I’ve spent the last 12+ years confirming that this is the case.
Natural well-being is not something that we have to create, but just something that needs to be uncovered and allowed to work us.
When this starts to happen for my clients, they often think it’s a fluke and something that they can’t trust. For the first time in their lives, people are showing them that they matter. Or, their body is healing the way it should. Or, they feel comfortable sharing what they know. Or, they feel comfortable in their own skin. Or, their addictions are loosening their grip. Or, their efforts are actually paying off.
When well-being is the generating force behind these good things happening, sometimes my clients won’t even recognize it, until I point out that they just said something that was the complete opposite of what they had been saying about their lives. Because it happened so much more easily than trying to push that familiar boulder up that all too familiar hill, they can’t even connect it to something generated from within.
As I know from my violin and Pilates experience and now 12 years of seeing it happen in this personal transformation realm, that’s just how it works—address the core and things start falling into place in really great ways.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise