Music Medicine For My Heart

Sometimes when I listen to music my mind gets quiet and my heart speaks up. Thoughts get quiet as I hone in on my heart and I'm suddenly aware that it is always there beating away, tucked away in my chest, keeping me alive. Some songs do this to me. My heart stirs in response to beautiful sounds and the effect of this ripples through my body. Sometimes I feel my belly flutter, sometimes my eyes make tears, sometimes whatever I’m doing slows right down, sometimes I begin dancing (and then sometimes I bump into stuff.)

Music for me is definitely one way in which I am guided to a new perspective. The right song at the right time has the power to remind me of what matters to me and what really doesn’t.

Music, I’ve recently noticed, is also part of the move from one place to the other. When what I call home changes I find myself holding the previous home close through music I’ve collected; listening to it, moving to it, sharing it at home and within my work.

Simultaneously, as I settle into a new house, city and country, new songs are found and build the soundtrack to where I am now. I find time to wander (get lost if I’m lucky) in my new environment, all the while listening to songs that keep me tuned into my heart rather than lost in a constant babble of thoughts.

Having said that, every now and a stream of thoughts and the environment around me is music enough. Daring to be with the silence, sounds around me, my breath and my thoughts can often be daunting but if I can stay with it, can be just the right amount of stimulation to nourish me soundly and help me clear my head.

Music takes me back. Anything by Ludovico Einaudi and I’m right back in ballet class. Practising to live piano each morning; what a joy I didn’t always completely appreciate! The theme song of the movie 'Amelie' 'Comptine d'un autre été, l'après-midi' and oddly I’m reminded of the adventure that was living in New York City and all the memories this city holds for me. Songs sang in arabic and of course I think of Tunisia and though I don’t know what is being said yet, I’ve grown to love the sounds of this powerful and poetic language. 

This week my heart has been stirred by three songs I’d quite like to share. ‘Bread of Angels’ by Stanton Lanier actually reminds me of Einaudi and it helped me see the beauty beneath the daily this week. It has seen me break into a chasse whilst doing the dishes, my heart standing to graceful attention and my body moving in spite of myself.

‘Methusalah’ by San Fermin is beautiful in a completely different way. It lifted my spirits this week and whilst walking I smiled inwardly and gave myself up to the feeling of gratitude for what already is. Gratitude for the tree-filled path that is becoming increasingly familiar to me, for the fresh air and sunshine I was moving through, for the relationships that are keeping me so warm this winter.

True Love’ by Tobias Jesso Jnr caught my attention and made me move slowly so I could listen to the words. It feels reminiscent of a past era and is personal, honest and curious. Any song that makes me slow down and brings my mind to the present is art to savour.

I know I will save save these songs and listen to them one day and be reminded of now *. I also know that these are just the kind of songs that I might share during a yoga class. Sometimes a song and a moment in class connects, like a dance, it is magic, I love when this happens. 

Recently the wise and straight talking Mark Walsh explained to me that the soul needs to be romanced and nourished through beauty and pleasure. The soul, he said, cannot be pushed or bullied, to speak, support or get to work. I have forgotten this in the past for sure; I have demanded of my soul to share, to be creative, to give me something! Soul inspiring stuff I don’t think.

For me, choosing to listen to beautiful music is the opposite of this. This is one way in which I ‘romance’ my soul. This is one way in which I can tune into the soul’s need for beauty and pleasure. This is me stopping and listening to the quiet beatings and speakings of my heart.

*If you are on Spotify these songs can be found at the bottom of my current traveling playlist ‘Travel to a New Home’.