Release. I’m all for it. Finding those things in our lives that feel stuck and ferreting out ways to unstick them.

I loved preparing for my CD release concert last Sunday. It was not only a release for a project I’ve held in abeyance since my teen years – but also a release of an energy and spirit I’d lost track of – the me that loves to front a band.

My performance just barely resembled the hours of practice before my 4’x4’ mirror by myself. I had forgotten how it feels to sing with a full band of great musicians behind you. Last time I was back in the 80s with Cruise Control, a five piece Top 40 band. One thing I’m beginning to learn now, though, with experience behind me – release comes from diligent, focused work.

I took our youngest to a trial trumpet lesson with a new teacher – as his old one (all of 24 years old!) departed for Virginia to boot camp and a career job as a marine corp trumpeter! While we knew him, he went to a few auditions and came in second (out of many applicants) after each one. He persisted and reaped his reward. This new teacher seems to have very similar qualities so we might be looking for another after a year or so as well!

Following the lesson, this fellow emailed exercise sheets over to me for Sam. Each sheet had a quote printed on it. The quote that resonated most deeply with me was ‘We are what we repeatedly do – Excellence is not an act but a habit’.

That was an ‘Ah ha’ moment for me. Another time I might wonder why it felt so revelatory. I realized that as I build the habit of calling up excellence (not perfection) from myself in what I do I am building toward freedom and release. And for so many years of my life I viewed practice as a cage. And now I see it is release. I’m all for it.