Music of the Soul

“Music doesn’t get in. Music is already in. Music simply uncovers what is there, makes you feel emotions that you didn’t necessarily know you had inside you, and runs around waking them all up. A rebirth of sorts.”
Matt Haig, in How to Stop Time 

If there is one thing I regret about the way I was raised it is the lack of a music program in my life. I was sent to ballet, tap, and folkloric dance, in addition to art and tennis, but never music. This is something I never contemplated until I was in High School, and wished I could have joined the school choirs or bands. Neither one of parents was musically inclined, and this is probably the main reason for the absence of it in my life. Sure, there was music appreciation of sorts, but nothing remotely related to learning an instrument. I would have loved to learn to play the piano or the guitar, or perhaps even take voice lessons, but I suppose it was fate planning out my life in a way. Had I truly gone down the musical path I never would have had time to explore creative writing

I don’t recall where I read it, but I stumbled on a paragraph that pointed out that in order to connect the dots in our life, we have to be brave enough to look back, but when moving forward we should have the courage to make new dots. Hmmm, that had me stumped for a few days. There are so many dots to connect in my life that explain my path to becoming a writer, photographer and resident of Portugal. For example, I never would have considered moving here if I were not an EU citizen to begin with, and to be that, moving to Germany to fulfill the residency requirement was essential, albeit the fact that my original reason for moving to Berlin in 2017 was divorce-related… and so on. Same with music, the Universe did the world a favour by keeping me away from choirs and instruments, because, as I discovered in my early 20s through a voice coach, I am tone deaf! So no amount of lessons would have every made me a prolific musician or singer. Connect those dots!

Fundamentally, my rambling today boils down to my fate of being in the visual and written arts rather than the performing arts. This is not to say, however, that music doesn’t play a significant role in my daily life and spirituality. On the contrary. I’m not sure I could function properly without music. It has always been an intrinsic need to have it as some form of anchor or emotional focal point that helps with my concentration.

Despite my many years (decades even) of practicing silent meditation to calm the body, when the going gets tough, I resort to music first to calm the storms before I can embark on any form of meditation and prayer.

“Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears – it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear. But for many of my neurological patients, music is even more – it can provide access, even when no medication can, to movement, to speech, to life. For them, music is not a luxury, but a necessity.”
Oliver Sacks

I’m sure many of you will understand when I say that when you find the music that speaks to your soul, or reflects the winds therein, you need to be able to shut the rest of the world out. My go-to music is solo piano or cello, and from time to time, certain artists whose lyrics emote something that is difficult for me to express at the moment, regardless of whether it is anger, sorrow, sadness, or confusion.

I leave you today with a shot that may not seem related to music at all, but to me it reflects the balance that we need from it. We harbour an intrinsic need to find that equilibrium between public and private self, and often times we find it in the most unexpected places… only to realise that if we connect all the dots, everything has led us to that precise moment in time.

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