It is quite amazing what music does to me; how it makes me move, sing; how it brings up emotions … no, how my emotions respond like they are in a dance with the music. The music calls and my emotions answer – in an instant.
And then the dance begins, often literally.
I am compelled to move once the music speaks to me. Sometimes with poignant emotion, sometimes with just an infectious rhythm that I feel compelled to express myself to. I want to answer it’s call. And so if I don’t move my body, I drum … on something—much to the chagrin of some people around me. Too bad for them I think. On the other hand, I often meet people who are amused and intrigued by my spontaneity.
No question, music is our easiest access to transformation. Without music, most movies would have no emotional impact. Take a look at the video clips that I posted on July 11th and 17th of this year. Do you think either of them would have been noteworthy without the music?
Music literally transforms how you feel in an instant, and for The Practice of Your Life, take note, because how we feel – our mood, our attitude towards things – directly influences what’s possible for us.
Music transforms our mood, how we feel in a particular moment. Music can literally transform who you are in the moments you’re listening.
Want to feel aggressive, happy, sad, angry, determined, passionate, anxious, fearful, terrified, proud etc., etc.? There’s a song out there that will do the job.
The power of music comes from its ability to bring up the entire range of possible emotions in us. So bring your attention to the music you listen to? Consciously categorize the music you listen to by the mood it brings up for you, and use it to transform negative emotions into positive ones, to transform down moods into up moods.
(Disclaimer: I’m not saying that there is anything bad or wrong about down moods or negative emotions. Human beings are meant to experience the full range of emotions, and you’d never know which way was up if you’ve never been down. I am saying that your mood does influence how you think, what you say and what you do. Up moods tend to open up more possibilities in your thoughts, words, and deeds, and down moods tend to shut down possibilities. I am saying that you can consciously choose to change your mood and when you do music can help.)
Happy music for me comes from the Caribbean and South/Latin America e.g. Soca, Zouk, Merengue, Salsa, Samba etc. Most of the songs of these types lift me up and I want to grab a woman in dance.
When I want to feel powerful I listen to Sinatra and sing.
When I want to feel or express sorrow, there’s no one artist for me but there are several songs that bring up a sweet beautiful sorrow like, This Old Man (Kenny Rankin), This Woman’s Work (original by Kate Bush and a really great interpretation by Maxwell), A Day in the Life of a Fool (done by Kenny Rankin and really emotional rendition by Patrick de Santos).
Some songs like And So It Goes (Billy Joel) and Yesterday When I was Young (Charles Aznavour) make me reflect on my life.
Songs like Drown in My Own Tears (Ray Charles) bring up a cheerful, sad, wise optimism about life. Ray Charles, by the way, covers the whole gamut for me. In fact, if I were to have only one Artist’s work with me on a deserted island it would be his.
Lounge music creates a great atmosphere for sensuality, and when I want to work out I look to Rockitwave 8.
So why not take an inventory of your music and start using it for effect. In the same way that you might use music to artfully engineer a seduction, or produce a max calorie burn, you can also use music to set the stage for thinking, reading, reflecting and simply managing how you feel. I highly recommend using music in the practice of your life. And you get to create what that looks like.
Tip: Use whatever feels. 😉