“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” – Lao Tzu
My 7 year old son has been taking violin lessons for the past 6 months – a complicated delicate task with many components to the learning. Like all beginning violin students, he is learning how to hold the violin with just enough pressure from his chin and hands — but not too much.
In his last lesson, his teacher was using a variety of methods to work with his left hand's near death grip on the delicate instrument. Learning to relax his hand, she said, will allow him to have more physical and musical range, play faster, as well as be able to learn new songs sooner. Without relaxing his hand he could also run the risk of injuring himself long term.
From this experience, I've been pondering the lesson of loosening the grip – not just on violins, but in life – and how doing so can allow us to access more of our potential.
As humans we seem to cling to what we know, fearing what is "over there" in the unknown, that which is yet to be. However, novelty, possibility, expanded range, and yes, even joy also exist in what we don't yet know. In fact, it's known that we can physically hold more in an relaxed and open hand than a closed fist.
As Joseph Campbell said, “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.”
Where do you need to loosen your grip?
What might be possible if you did?