Music can communicate even across the barrier of speaking different languages. To me that suggests it’s not just about listening to and understanding the words, it’s about the connection people feel to the sound and the emotion within a piece of music. Sometimes music is the way people find it easiest to express themselves, either listening to it or writing their own.
I am a person that struggles to know how I am feeling. When I listen to a particular piece of music it sometimes helps me tap into my emotions and understand better. I can both feel the song’s emotion—potentially what the artist was trying to convey—and also what my mind is trying to tell me. Being present in the moment, listening to the sound, can help pull us away from our wordly worries. This does not mean ignoring those worries but focussing on what’s important, to help our mind think more clearly about the things we need it to. It can help us focus on being in the place we are, listening to music we love, around people that love the music too. This can be a bond that goes beyond the simple composition and arrangement of the notes themselves. (Not that I am in any way trying to say making music is a simple thing, especially a piece that conveys the emotions we’re feeling as well as we want it to.)
As an example of an amazingly positive community built around the joy of music I encourage you to check out the Small Town Titans. They are a band who regularly upload videos on YouTube and are very active on their Facebook page. You will not be disappointed. I recommend starting with their fantastic rendition of “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch”, a showcase of their talent and a song that is season appropriate.
Connection with others is one way we overcome the obstacles we face. We each have our own strengths and it’s a boon to be able to tap into these for the benefit of ourselves and others. We also have different weaknesses, and identifying these helps us know when we’ll need to ask for assistance. If we listened to everything our noisy mind tells us we’d try to fix everything on our own, forever fighting fires, and progression towards our goals would be painfully slow. Just as if we always listen to the same type of music we risk perpetuating the same type of emotion. When feeling a particular way we might find ourselves drawn to music that matches that emotion. In the past I have fallen into doing this, listening to heavy, dark music because that’s the way I am feeling. When I made the choice to actively choose more hopeful music to listen to—even when my mind was screaming otherwise—my overall mental state started to improve. It’s a little thing, but has helped me more than I ever would have thought possible.
In a similar way Christmas can distract our mind from what matters. We can be caught up in the tension of being in a small space with more family members than usual. This had been the case for me for many a Christmas. If I focus on the manufactured parts; the gifts, Christmas trees, consumerist decorations, and rushing around; I lose sight of the real reason for its celebration. The real reason is to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Now whether you happen to believe he was sent to save humanity or not, the season is a time to share the Christmas spirit with everyone. That spirit is to choose kindness and live with love our hearts. Oddly enough, for the topic of this post, Christmas songs can be the cause of the very opposite. We can fall into feeling annoyance at hearing them over and over, and focus on that. The fact shops seem to start playing them earlier each year does nothing to help this!
It’s difficult to let all this go and remember we are blessed to be with loved ones, able to celebrate time together. Speaking as someone living in New Zealand, in the world we find ourselves at the moment, we are even more blessed. We are able to congregate, to physically connect with one another, when many people around the world are not.
Choose kindness. Reach out in whatever ways you are able to those you love. Be sensible, and sensitive, and communicate effectively. Listen to what your being is saying you need and patiently listen to others expressing their needs too.
Thank you for reading, and for being you. Peace.