Monday, January 9, 2012

The Practice: My Mendelssohn Moment

photo by Patricia Herlevi
My stress levels have shot through the roof lately.  I jumped into self-publishing a book with no idea the amount of hours I would need to put in or the learning curve that it takes to publish for new media.  Recently I gave advice to my writing colleagues to take breaks, even music breaks.  But I haven't been following my own advice.  So now after I complete my morning meditation, I listen to music for 30 minutes over headphones.

Today I gave myself a massage with essential oils sandalwood and geranium in coconut oil.  Then I listened to Bezuidenhout and Von der Goltz "Medelssohn Double Concerto for Violin and Piano," the first two movements.  Since the first movement is lively, usually the case with concertos, I focused on the quick tempo music instead of my racing thoughts.  The adagio movement calmed my mind and I almost fell back to sleep.  For that moment I truly felt relaxed.  But when I returned to my computer with projects and learning curves rearing their heads, the stress levels returned.

What I have learned with music breaks is that you need to focus your attention on the moment and on the music, just like in sitting meditation.  When the mind wanders, bring it gentle back and focus on the music.  Absorb the music into your cells, breathe deeply and follow your body's rhythms if this helps you focus better.  This takes patience and practice. 

If you feel frenzy and frantic, listen to music that starts out at that pace then work your way to music that is slower and more calming.  I'm the Vata-Pitta doshas in Ayurvedic medicine as are many people who find themselves drowning in stress and mood swings.  Therefore the slower tempo, softer music, and boosting the bass just a little will help bring on a calming mood.

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