by Laura Weiss.
We have all experienced some type of music and art that moved us; that external and cathartic experience that can change us for a lifetime. It transforms us, calms us, reminds us, captivates our soul. Our body chemistry actually changes. Our emotions well up. We feel the ecstasy of loss of control, of handing ourselves over. To the music and the poetry. To the experience. And, we give it the profound permission to change us. What an almost childlike thing to do; a courageous and completely natural thing to give ourselves over to the power of music and art.
But, we’re grown-ups right? Why do we let this happen? I don’t know.
It is so easy to get lost in a song, yet, we resist giving in when we are deep in the throes of a debate. We’ve all been there. “But, I’m right!” I say to my husband. Or we say to ourselves, “They have no idea what they are talking about.”
I think our resistance to backing down comes from our lack of acceptance and openness to who we truly are. Music is the tool that allows John Legend to leave us in a pile of tears or with ridiculously giddy grins plastered on our faces. I mean, this is some kind of crazy power, right?
So what would the world look like if we took the same approach to depth of self? Music transforms by not being stationary. It is moving. It doesn’t need to be right or perfect or solid. It is changing, amorphous and elegant. Music holds the expanse of all human experience as best we can express it within its beautiful palm, and it is still always shifting. And we find ourselves in it again and again like the challenges of life that confront us; yet it is never the same song twice. And we are OK with that! We do not expect how we hear the “Sounds of Silence” today will ever be exactly the same again. Now is the moment and we do not take that for granted.
Music demands that we find beauty in the loss of control – the enjoyment at the edges of our comfort. Each of us is hearing the music differently and if we acknowledge this shared humanity, we will find ourselves eternally at the edges of our neighbor’s front yard. If I am frustrated with someone, I remember that we are still listening to the same song. We are just hearing it differently. Maybe more importantly, we are afraid of the song changing us so we point blame instead. We avoid our “selves.”
It is time to start feeling. We need to heal ourselves first, no matter what the song asks of us, and experience the fall-on-our-knees, cry-like-a-baby feelings that define us. Only then can we start to see that the other we are blaming is just as wounded as we are and that their pain drives actions of anger and fear that frustrate us. And only when we see our own broken and holy hearts can we empathize in a debate and be the first one to step back. To hold a hand. To see that our power rests just as much in quiet love and respect.
So for this moment today, I relish that my sweet brokenness is just as perfect as everyone else’s. So I put on some Joni Mitchell’s “Sire of Sorrow,” open a box of chocolates and just … feel. Because I know if we all did this, good change wouldn’t take so long.