The Healing Power of Music
For many years, I have enjoyed singing and music. If you were to peruse through my Ipod your first thought would most likely be Wtf, who is this chick? I have a vast array of live techno sets from Ibiza, Club Space in Miami and the now long forgotten Love Parade in Germany. But hidden amidst the electronica you would find Erykah Badu, NIN, Etta James, Janis Joplin, the Deftones, Jay-Z, The Smiths, A Perfect Circle and many more. I suppose my musical tastes say a lot about who I am as a person. I am girlie, soulful, tough, vulnerable, intense, complicated, sexy and an endless well of emotional depth. My friends usually know exactly what mood I am in by what I am listening to. I see the expression on their faces when they come in to my house and I am jamming to Hole or riding in the car when I put on Fiona Apple. Its one of those days is it? I run to Dj Tiesto and when I was still fighting for a living, the boxing gym could usually overhear 36 Mafia or Pit Bull. That is what I love most about music, no matter what mood I am in or what I am going through in life it seems someone knows exactly what I am feeling and they have put it into words.
Several months ago, I decided that I wanted to be one of those people. I want to write down everything inside me and have it emerge gloriously out of my mouth. I want to share my happiness and my pain. I want to be able to sing a note and have it touch someone else the way that I have been touched by so many artists. So I decided to seek out a voice coach, against my better judgement. You see, all my life I have been an athlete. I was an elite level gymnast until high school, I played volleyball, I boxed professionally and as of last year I am a five time National Champion Equestrian. I have so much confidence in my physical abilities but when it comes to music and other arts I have hidden in the corner. Maybe it is because I feel so much more vulnerable singing, letting people read my poetry and even writing this blog. I suppose that I have always been afraid that I would not be as good at things of this nature as I am doing anything that requires athleticism. For once in my life though, my passion for music and my need to purge all that lies beneath is so great that I have thrown caution to the wind and dug in.
My voice coach is the most amazing woman and I always leave feeling like I am a better person for going. She has taught me that perfection is not only unattainable but unnecessary. She has also taught me that I am my own worst enemy and my worst critic, not to mention that because of her I can hit notes I never thought imaginable. The thing about singing in front of someone is that in that moment of total vulnerability you are you, at your most raw. There is no hiding, no pretense and thankfully for me, no judgment. I am merely told, do it this way or try this and see if it is easier and sounds better. I relish the freedom that I feel there. It is as if when I am there, I can feel myself growing. More importantly, I can feel myself healing. My voice lessons have also lead me to start a band with the help of a dear and extremely talented friend. We began working on our first track last week and it has been revolutionary.
Last night my friend and I started the production on our track as many of the lyrics had already originated from recent journal entries. We sat and played piano and guitar and hemmed and hawed over what the base line would be and what we should do with the melody in the second stanza and so forth. As I struggled to create, I stopped for a moment and thought how lovely it was that in that moment all the suffering that I had been feeling had dissipated. This struck me as particularly odd because the entire song was about my recent break up. So why was I not as upset anymore? I believe that the therapy in this process for me was that while they were my words and my experiences, I was forced to contemplate it in a more analytical way when I transitioned the emotion to music. I felt more removed and more connected at the same time. It was such a beautiful development. For hours, my attention was solely on the music. My mind was not bogged down with the events of the day or the ghosts of my past, just the music. I finally understood why so many people enjoy this process. It is a healing process. It is creation from destruction. It is a light in the darkest corner of my soul. It is that which fills the void in my heart that has been so pervasive. It reminds me to be appreciative.
I am so thankful to have found this new talent and to be supported by all of my friends in this endeavor. I am so thankful to be working towards a better understanding of myself and to end an era of unhealthy self-judgement. I am thankful for all the musical interludes to my pain. Lastly, I am even thankful for the disaster that brought me here. If I had not been completely broken down, I never would have had the courage to embark on this journey. So whether I end up on a stage in front of hundreds, recording in a famous studio or singing for my animals in my living room, I am thankful that someone stripped all of my armor away and left me in such a lowly place that all I could do was be myself and try to heal.
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.