Sunday, September 22, 2013

Part 1: The (Healing) Power of Music

My choir director said singing in choir is like mindfulness. It took me a moment to comprehend her statement - I thought she meant meditation - while contemplating instances where music brings me to the present, to the sheet music, listening to others sing, hearing harmonious notes, and the like as she said, namely being aware and present. (My apologies for this outdated picture; however, it's the one that best captures the essence of this posting!)

I believe that dancing and walking, at times, are my primary forms of meditation. However, I can see that singing can be as well, during choir at least for me, as so often I sing while doing something else. For example, I may sing while I work (more so in past) or walking or bathing. This is why it took me a moment to understand her comment.

I have always loved music, have felt its deep and powerful influence – it’s no wonder I didn’t become a music therapist – as music moves me figuratively and literally, the latter as I have a hard time sitting still while listening to music, whether I am part of an audience or not. My body cannot help but to move while I sit, even if it is only my head nodding slightly or one foot tapping. I question how people can sit like a rock, especially when listening to infectious or contagiously happy music.

Does your body feel inclined to move when you hear music or not? (There is no right or wrong answer here by the way.)

Music moves me emotionally as well, primarily to the two seemingly extreme opposite emotions of joy and sadness. I say that as there is actually a fine line between the two. (One place I experienced this was in David McMurray Smith’s clowning class, If you haven’t experienced this personally, you probably witnessed it. For instance, young children and infants in particular can cry one moment and then laugh the next, and vice versa.

I have been moved to tears more often than not as a cathartically healing expression of music, sometimes to tears of joy as a result of such exquisite ethereal-sounding music, usually instrumental or classical. At other times lyrics strike a resonant chord within me, especially when they imitate my life which fuels teary eyes.

What I have come to notice over the years is that I tend to, almost always if not always, hear the music first. If I like it – I’m drawn to the beat first and foremost – then I’m inclined to listen to the words. It’s rarely the other way around. Besides, quite often music drowns out the words in songs.

Do you find that you too tend to hear the music before the words in a song?

Music is so healing, isn’t it?
It can be a vehicle for emotional catharsis whether you are releasing or uplifting your spirit. And it is such a collective universal soul experience: one common language we have as a race of people on planet earth.

What types of music do you find healing? Is there a particular genre that soothes and calms you? Settles and grounds you? Inspires you? Buoys your spirit?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Part 4: In a Funk - How I Got Out!

Though the causes of my depression aren’t as important now as they used to be, I’m (still) curious. However, I believe it’s important for me to pose the questions - see previous blog post, August 25th - since I don’t have concrete answers, as someone (or some of you) might be able to relate upon reading this, thus connecting the dots for you and/or for your loved ones.

In my August 25th posting I wrote, “More recently, could I have felt blue due to two work colleagues who left within the same week, and the director the following week (and all the ramifications associated with that, too many to mention here)? Could I feel like my soul isn’t growing like I’d like it to? Could I feel sad ‘cause I feel to blame and bad about my dream or vision not being fulfilled?

I suspect these points, especially the last one is closer to the truth for me for feeling downhearted as I remembered that I felt somewhat similar last year when my non-traditional, co-creative children’s choir didn’t come to fruition. I truly believe that the expectation(s) and the potential downfall, i.e., fear of failure brought me spiralling down. Yes, even before I realized that at least two children had registered

Through a coaching call that I had made two days prior (July 3rd) to my previous post, I became aware that the same feeling and situation occurred about a year ago when I attempted to launch my dream then! Ahha, there’s the culprit!

It was also pointed out to me through questioning during this call, that my state of funk was most likely due to me not living my passions. Other than my creative writing for my blog which I thoroughly enjoy and singing at choir practice - my heart hadn’t been in it for a few weeks at least - I wasn’t singing otherwise or dancing, another of my top passions.
Do you ever feel that way, i.e., like your heart and soul just can’t get into your passions? And what do you do when you get that way?

If you ever feel depressed or blue, do you ask yourself questions? If not, what questions could you ask? Could they help you to understand and overcome your state? Or what else could you do?