Joyous practice

Do you have a hobby or regular activity which brings you true joy?

I’ve always loved playing the violin but particularly playing chamber music. The close connection between the instruments, the interplay of each written part and the bond of shared joy in certain pieces of music and composers all adds to the joy of playing the instrument. Before lockdown, I played for 4 months in a local orchestra and our gig was fabulous but it just didn’t hit that deep soul place which rewards me quite like chamber music does.

Since lockdown, I have hardly played at all. So, it has been quite a re-build to get back into it in preparation for a concert in a church and a very special weekend away. (I talk more about that in my blog on

I felt once again so honoured to be invited stay in a friend’s beautiful farmhouse in the most northerly part of Yorkshire with views across to Ingleborough. She is a gloriously hospitable host and her house is luxurious and it’s like staying in a 5* hotel. I’m seriously grateful to be invited and it’s all part of the experience but, I think I’d gain just as much joy from the music-making if we slept in a barn!

There is a deep connectedness which springs up between players, a need to listen very closely, attend to the slips of another when we get out of place and blend our voices together. When I describe it, it sounds like the kind of harmony we require in our human relationships as well as our musical ones.

I was also deeply moved by the music itself. To have been almost music-less for so long and then to slide back into the familiarity of place with musicians I’ve played with for 15 years and create the joy of Schubert and Brahms, Purcell, Strauss and Lawes literally brought me to tears. It’s like Heineken, it reaches into parts of me that other things simply do not.

I’ve come home feeling enriched, that my cup is up to the brim and filled with a deep satisfaction. I am determined that I won’t take so long to find this space again.

What do you do which brings you true joy? How often do you experience something which fills your heart, makes it soar and feel like it will burst?

Can you think of something which you could cultivate into a joyous practice? It doesn’t have to be high-brow, difficult to master or anything other than joyful. It definitely needs to be absorbing. It needs to bring you out of yourself and your busy brain space and into a different zone.

I’ve heard others reflect that kitchen dancing brings them deep joy. No special training required for that one!!