And we notice while practicing.  I know that in order to improve, practice is necessary, but paying attention and noticing are equally importante.  The importance of focus, something I'm not always so good at doing... So everybody is talking about New Year's resolutions right now.  I don't really remember having made any for the past several years.  Perhaps this is because I haven't followed through and have forgotten them.  Perhaps it is because I have in the past made big huge resolutions without keeping them.  Perhaps it is because I'm so busy making little resolutions all year-round.   No importa.  This year I actually decided upon a New Year's resolution back in September or October or something.  I didn't really mean to.  It just came to me.  Something I wanted to do...but didn't feel quite ready for.

Since then I have declared my resolution to certain people and have been preparing for it.  And now I feel ready to commit.

Because I've given myself some time to practice.

And I've seen how it is doable.

And I've noticed, through practice, little tweaks I wanted to make.

And after a couple of months of preparation, I'm still into it.

And when it has worked, it has felt good.

So I wonder, why have I never done this before, practiced for a resolution?  Hay que practicar.  I know this.  I know that before practicing, or along with it, comes noticing and that noticing shows me what I already do well and what I need to work on.  Noticing informs my practice.  And noticing often results in instant correction.  I can watch myself in the mirror, see that my shoulders tend to go up when I make a certain movement, and put them down, por ejemplo.

So, the resolution.  I know, you're wondering what it is already.  Well, originally it was

To start and end classes on time.

Because often times they start late, and often times we go over, and they end late.

So let me go back to the noticing thing for a moment.  Upon declaration of my resolution, I began paying attention to the clock.  I noticed what was happening when in class, how much time I was spending on a particular thing, how easy or hard it was to stop and move on to the next thing.  And doing this, adding just this element of focus, made me better.

Now back to the original resolution.  To a part of me it seemed a bit extreme, the part of me who was born running late, la tardona we'll call her.  She in fact felt a bit rebellious upon hearing this idea, afraid of losing her identity completely.  What if she, for instance, were to become too rigid and could no longer survive when she traveled, por ejemplo, to Spain?

Additionally, it just seemed too easy to break, too black and white.  I think I prefer shades of gray.  So, I'm keeping the idea but have revised it to:

Making it a point to start and end classes on time and to improving my relationship with time.

Which includes so much more.  This allows for the Noticing and the Practicing.  It is about better understanding how I relate to time and using that information to be más puntual.

So here I am, declaring this New Year's resolution publicly and reminding myself that the noticing and practicing that is necessary to improve in flamenco is helpful for everything.

Fijando y Practicando.

I actually have another resolution for 2012, I'll tell you about it later.  I'd love to hear yours, if you have any.  Or how you plan to keep it...  Leave a comment.