• Minda Larsen

Learning to Retreat

Updated: Jul 31, 2019

At a lesson earlier this week a student, who happens to be a former Marine, said to me: "I need to retreat."

I didn’t know what he meant at first. I thought he meant actually GO on a retreat to a spa or something.

But he clarified.

“When I was a solider, when things got bad, we learned to retreat…back off. It didn’t mean surrender, it just meant step back and evaluate.”


He added, “When I was younger, I never retreated. I just kept fighting. I paid a price for that.”


He is so right. I once did the same thing. I kept fighting. Even in the many faces of defeat: exhaustion, depression, being broke, or being sad.

I remember once I went to an audition when I really shouldn’t have. I was weary

and sad. Feeling sorry for myself. Feeling like a loser.

I was singing a song and it wasn’t going well. I stopped in the middle. IN AN

AUDITION. And then couldn’t start again. I bluntly said, “I’d like to leave. I’m sorry.”

The casting director urged me to continue, but I couldn’t. And then I cried in front of him. Oh yeah.

You know what, in hindsight, it was selfish. I wasted his time, my time, the

pianists’ time. But I COULDN’T continue, I was too broken.

I should have retreated. I shouldn’t have gone to that audition. I should have taken care of myself in some way and tried to feel better.

I should have retreated. Backed off and evaluated…

To retreat is not to surrender.

I love this! How often do we tell ourselves that if we stop, if we don’t go to that audition, or to that class, we are giving up? We feel guilty, like we aren’t DOING enough. And you know, it just ain’t true!

When faced with exhaustion, rejection, depression, and the overwhelming nature of the industry, why not retreat?

Back off and evaluate.

Do you believe in retreating? How do you retreat? Do you have an example of a time you should have retreated?

Take care of yourself friends!

I believe in you.



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