Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Monday, February 14, 2011

Escape Into Music

One of my earliest posts was about singing, and how when I am down or in pain I like to put on music that I know all the words to, and I sing.  I can escape into the music, and I feel better, not only while I am singing, but after as well.
Today I discovered a new way I can escape into music.  I have been reading about mindfulness, and trying to meditate several days each week.  Mostly, I have been trying to focus on my breath, and when thoughts come to mind, just notice them, and let them go.  Some days I am more successful than others at focusing, but I am trying, and that is a good thing.
Today, the radio was tuned to my favorite radio station, WILE, 97.7 in Guernsey County, Ohio, where our cabin is located.  This radio station plays oldies, but not the usual kind.  The music ranges from Frank Sinatra, to Barbara Streisand, to the Beatles.  My husband was doing some work downstairs in the cabin, the furniture was pushed together, blocking the stairs, and I was upstairs.  I could have asked him to turn off the music, but I decided to try meditating with the music.
I got myself comfortable in my chair, and closed my eyes. The song that was on was Annie’s Song, by John Denver.  I know all the words to that song, so initially I was singing along in my mind.  I decided that would not give my much of a meditative state, so I switched my focus to the rhythm.  I can’t read music, and I can’t recognize notes, so I was not distracted by them.  I simply visualized the ups and downs of the music, sort of like watching a children’s roller coaster (except it always stayed in front of me, I didn’t have to follow it around).  I did this for about six songs, focusing on my breath in between when the DJ was talking.  I don’t remember all the songs; one was a Ragtime by Scott Joplin.  Some I knew better than others, but they all seemed to work as a focal point for my meditation.
When I opened my eyes, I was very relaxed but alert, and I had not fallen asleep as I sometimes do when trying to meditate.  I looked at my watch and it was almost exactly 30 minutes, which was my aim.  This type of meditation worked well for me, I will definitely do it again.  I don’t know of a radio station I would like to use at home, maybe I will use a CD, and maybe at some point even make my own CD of music that works best.
Different music would work for different people.  I know that when I am stressed, I like either music I can sing to, or quiet music.  Some people, especially younger people, like loud music, to drown out everything else.  That would make me feel bombarded and more stressed.   Give this a try.  Experiment with different types of music, and see what works for you.   

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