letting go (sort of)

Today I meet with a Resonance Coaching client who’s exploring the tension between maintaining control and letting go. She’s working on a big project, and it’s tempting to keep her fingers on the pulse of every aspect of it, but she knows she needs to trust her team members to do their part, even if they do it differently than she would.

We get to talking about music, specifically jazz. Do jazz musicians maintain control or do they let go? Are there rules or are they totally free?

Well, both. Jazz musicians (and artists in general) aim for freedom within form. If you work without any parameters, you tend to make a big old mess. If you glue yourself too tightly to your form – if you over-control – you create something rigid and unappealing.

So we try it out. I play a simple chord progression on the piano: I-IV-V-I. First I have her sing the fundamental tone of each chord. Then she improvises. What she creates is beautiful: lilting melodies that work within the chord progression but don’t get bogged down by it.

Improvising in music is a powerful lens through which we can see our lives. It’s not just about seeing our lives. It enables us to hear and feel our lives. It enables us to grapple with that fine line between letting go indiscriminately and controlling too much.

I don’t think my client left with a definitive answer to her current quandary. Still, I think she was able to put aside her thinking as she explored her questions through her voice. She superseded the logical, sequential left-brain and brought fresh right-brained creativity into the equation.

That’s the aim of any Resonance Coaching session: to connect the dots in new ways, and in so doing create a whole different picture.

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