May 21, 2014

Music Therapy

One of my favorite things to do, particularly when the weather gets balmy and breezy, is to drive around with my windows open and the stereo on full blast.  It should be noted that the image I’m trying to project here is not quite how I've painted it, because in actuality, this is one of my favorite things to do when I’m feeling not only happy and joyful, but also somber and reflective too.  But, whatever the mood is, late spring/early summer is perfect for this, and there are very few better music-listening experiences than in a car equipped with a good stereo. 

Along with the continued theme of self-soothing, music appreciation is one of the best forms of therapy, incomparable to almost nothing else, besides your best confidant, or perhaps a really great therapist.

Though I’m in a better place than I was a month ago, and therefore a markedly better place than I was several months ago, every so often I’ll take a turn and get hit by a wave of sadness or other somber emotion and wonder why.

As a result, this often cascades into a series of over-thinking and self-questioning, which I realize is "only human."  A wise friend said to me a few weeks ago as we were talking about this particular subject: “Just be gentle with yourself."  Such simple but profound advice, right?

In the race to the finish line why do we expect that if we don’t get through it in lightning speed unscathed and devoid of bumps and bruises that we’re doing it all wrong? Why does the notion of slowing the pace and taking time to tend to our wounds by not slapping a band-aid on them and instead by lapping at them to be a signal of failure?

As soon as I realized that it was okay to be gentle with myself did I realize how this approach is actually more productive than trying to race through the pain by shunning out the sorrow.  But in order to do this we need to learn to be gentle with ourselves, because for many of us being gentle with others to be much easier than being gentle with ourselves. 

Feeling a bit somber tonight, I bought myself two new albums (if you must know, The Roots’” …and then you shoot your cousin” and Lana del Rey’s “Born To Die”), had a picnic (in my car) in the park, and then drove around town with the windows down.  My emotional state matched the flickering moodiness of the albums: the perfect prescription for “being gentle with yourself” and it felt completely right. Contrary to the act of cruising around, I didn't feel the need to race through the momentary sadness or desire for brooding.  I just sat in it with my favorite friend, Music, and practiced being gentle with myself.  And, for the record, listening to a new album in the car is the perfect prescription for almost ANY state of being.  You heard it here. :-)

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