Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Practice--Music and Memory

By Patricia Herlevi
Every song we've ever heard has a memory or memories attached to it.  Some songs remind us of first loves, choosing a partner to dance with at a middle school sock hop, or college graduation.  Some songs remind us of weddings we attended or scenes from favorite movies, while other songs cause our hearts to ache with the memories that surface.

As to be expected, we gravitate towards songs with happier memories or that relax us some way or lull us into daydreams.  But, the songs with painful memories attached claim treasures too.  In fact, they act as a treasure map to our wounded places where we shed new light if we choose.  When we head over to these wounds, we give ourselves the opportunity to clear away old beliefs, patterns and the root of grief and depression.  Perhaps, these songs lead us to the releasing of repressed anger or sadness.

I recommend working with a music therapist when dealing with deep wounds or deeply repressed emotions.  In the meantime, we can listen for the songs that trigger those painful, even tragic memories.  Listen for these songs when they come on the radio or online while we work at our computer.  Listen for these songs playing on movie soundtracks or listen for topics in songs that relate to your wounds.

For instance, anyone enduring a divorce or romantic breakup would do well to listen to ballads by Chicago, Earth, Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder or Carole King.  In fact, Carole King wrote the most powerful healing from a breakup song of all, "It's too Late".



Another way to work with music and memories is to find a particular album that reflects back to a period in our lives.  For me, Astor Piazzolla's Zero Hour comes to mind.  I recall listening to this album in my early thirties when I lived in Seattle's Queen Anne District and I was beginning my journey into world music.

So I listen to this album and write down any memories, emotions, thoughts or physical sensations that come up in my journal or music diary.  I ask myself the following questions:

1) Who does this album remind me of?

2) What events occurred around the time I discovered this album?

3) What successes and failures did I experience during that time?

4) What were my hopes and dreams? Looking back did I manifest any of them?

5) How did the music initially affect me emotionally and physically?

6) Are there any issues that requires healing coming up when I listen to this album?

 

Finally, what feelings come up for you when you hear this famous album?
 

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