When you’re playing a fretless instrument, such as a fretless bass guitar or a violin, it’s easy to be slightly sharp or flat as the note depends on the exact placement of your fingers. While musicians are careful to play with as much precision as they can, it can be fun to play off the note a bit, whether it be in a vibrato (the rapid pulsing or wavering of a tone), in a glissando (a slide upward and downward between notes), or through an intentional (or unintentional) departure from playing exactly on the note. With a fretted instrument, the fret bars keep your playing to those specific notes for that fret. They are certainly easier to play and provide more precision, but they limit the player to only those specific notes.
I recently bought a fretless bass and am having a great time playing with these dynamics. The ability to play expressively when I’m not limited by frets has given me a newfound sense of freedom and has allowed me to play in a way I’ve never played before. It has also made me think about the continuous range of tones being symbolic of how people live their lives.
Some of these may seem overwhelming and carry repercussions that can have impacts for years to come. You may obsess and worry over them and struggle mightily to come up with the “correct” choice. But ultimately, there is no incorrect choice, as everything you experience becomes part of your story and gives you insights into your journey and your path. Something positive comes from every decision you make—you just have to be open to it and allow it to become part of your experience. Regrets can also be part of a decision, but they are also part of the experience and can result in positive outcomes.
I’ve always loved the symbolism of wings. To me, there are many attributes of spreading wings that have analogies in our lives. Starting with making the transition from dependent children to independent people. As children grow up, they spread their wings a little more each time they have a new experience. Unlike birds, however, we humans don’t leave the nest in one dramatic leap of faith, but in many little ones throughout our lives.
Still, wings and flight have always held a special place for many people. Our desire to fly, literally and figuratively, is ingrained in the human experience and highlights our adventurous spirit. Our adventures can be literal forays into the unexplored, or they can be adventures within ourselves as we spread our wings internally and take flight to explore our personal landscapes. But we all need to understand how and when to spread our wings and fly toward the lives we are meant to live.
It’s possible to go through life without really putting your own stamp on what you do. You can go through the motions, do what is asked of you, check all the right boxes, but still not find an outlet that allows you to express yourself. It’s also true that you can live what appears to be an ordinary life, and through your personality and interaction, or your vision for the path forward, you can make it part of you, and in doing so, make your life a little less ordinary. This isn’t complicated, but it always involves a leap of faith—you have to take a chance and make yourself vulnerable. The risks that you take—the risk of failure, of opening yourself up to criticism or ridicule, of opening your heart and soul to the world—are all worth it, as the rewards are substantial. You’ll gain a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment that could not have come as a result of less personal achievements. We are all here to share who we are—don’t lose out on putting your own stamp on the world.
A crisis is a great opportunity to get to know ourselves better.
Some may aspire to great ideals, but when faced with a crisis, they revert to fear-driven behaviors, such as hoarding. It can be helpful to examine how we’re assessing the crisis, in terms of its potential impact both on us and on our communities. It’s also tremendously important to assess our own emotional journeys and thought processes when a crisis arises. We can feel worry, anxiety, and fear during a crisis, and those feelings can be overwhelming. They can drive us to engage in activities that we believe will give us some control over the situation. It takes honest and intense introspection and reflection to understand our feelings, how they drive us to certain behaviors, and how we might redirect those feelings into more constructive behaviors.