As I spoke with Natural Awakenings readers and friends for this Healing Music issue, I repeatedly heard a similar theme. Most people could remember a time when music was just a natural and normal part of life. Some folks drummed in a rock band in high school or performed in piano recitals. Some of us sang in the church choir or played clarinet in a marching band. Others followed the Grateful Dead, making bootleg cassettes, with a hula hoop dancing around their ankles. Maybe you were the one with the biggest record collection, the one that everyone envied. We were at one time, in our own ways, musical beings, enjoying and making music in a joyous and uninhibited way.
I personally remember that time with sweet nostalgia—belting out a solo in my high school auditorium, standing for hours waiting to see Joni Mitchell… I had a CD tower that stacked up to the ceiling of my dorm room.
The stories I heard also reflected a familiar tone of disappointment when I asked how music played into their lives now. Folks lowered their voices and shook their heads and said things like, “too busy,” and “have forgotten how” and “oldest one in the place.” I sheepishly admitted to them that I also now consider music more a luxury than a necessity. I’m more likely to let Pandora tell me what will come through my headphones than to take the time to make the choices myself. On the rare occasion that I sing, it’s usually huddled around a birthday cake.
I think I’m like many adults for whom a demanding set of professional and personal obligations makes it hard to find the space for creative interests and pursuits. When that reality colludes with our inner critic, the message we receive is that we haven’t the time or talent to make music a part of our lives.
Fortunately, mental, physical and spiritual health experts are urging us to think otherwise. In this issue, we learn the seemingly infinite different ways that music and sound help to heal what ails us, while opening up our creativity for greater spaciousness and wholehearted expression. All of this has been proven to help us live better, longer. In short, singing in the shower and going to concerts isn’t just fun—it’s good for our health!
With that info in tow, “Get My Groove Back” starts now! Thanks to Mysterium Music (check them out on page 30), I’m building a library of new tunes for working, relaxing and meditating. I’ve enrolled in a weekend intensive with kirtan superstars David and Mira Newman. I love kirtan, and according to all the research, it loves me back. When the internal voices start their yammering about all the reasons I shouldn’t go, I’ll be prepared to chant through the chatter until all I hear is sound, and all I feel is peace, with the knowledge that what I’m doing is moving me toward greater wellness in body, mind and spirit.
I hope that what’s shared here will help you, as well, to tune into the music inside you, turn up the volume and find your unique groove.
With you in Awakening,
Karen G. Meshkov