“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination
and life to everything.” ― Plato
I love country music. (I think Plato would be ok with that.) Truth be told, I enjoy pretty much all types of music, depending on the mood I’m in or want to be in. Country music is often my companion on long runs. I enjoy listening to words you can actually understand and stories about life and emotions we know. While I love the faster, more upbeat tunes, I also enjoy the slow love ballads. Those songs about new love, troubled love, and lost love. Music can alter our moods and amplify our current feelings, so I’ve discovered it is essential for me to select my music, artists, songs, and genres with much greater awareness.
I’ve recently become much more aware of my sense of hearing and the sounds in my environment. Our sense of hearing is one of our most valuable senses and one we all take for granted. It is a direct link with our surroundings and how we relate to others. Imagine if you couldn’t hear and all you would miss in life. In the past few years, when I observe how my mother struggles to stay connected with the world with her very limited hearing, it’s heart-breaking.
Just as we fill our spaces with too much stuff, we often are not even conscious about what sound occurs around us and how it affects us. Having the TV on (whatever the channel), tends to hype me up and can be very distracting. This can be good or bad, depending. Many experts recommend not watching TV in bed or before going to bed due to this hyperactive effect on our brain. Although my husband often falls asleep at 9 pm watching TV, so that may disprove that theory!
A cacophony of unfiltered sounds can rattle our spirit and impact our mood, making us edgy and stressed. Selecting music we love can soothe our soul, melt our heart, and even affect our brain patterns.
Music affects us in many ways. It can take us back to high school angst, our first serious boy friend, and pull up memories of that great love of long ago. Certain songs serve as a sponge of painful, tear stained nights. When I broke up with a man I felt was “the one” many years ago, I was sure Garth Brooks’ song, The Dance, had been written just for me. Even today, over 20 years later, I still tear up when I hear the song, although not when I think of him! The words of that song also helped me realize I was not alone in my feelings of loss, as well as coming to terms that I never would have given up the experience for the pain at the end. And I attribute Creedence Clearwater’s version of Proud Mary to help me run my fastest 1/2 marathon a couple months ago.
Various music genres move us in other ways. I enjoy classical guitar and piano when working. It seems to help me concentrate. Jazz, whether it’s the smooth saxophone of Kenny G or the magic of Miles Davis, they export my spirit and mind to places more creative and unrestricted.
We all have our favorites. What are some of yours? Add them to your playlists if you haven’t already? And let’s not forget the “sound of silence”. I embrace silence far more often throughout the day than ever before. Be mindful of what sounds you allow into your space and your day? Do they enhance your current situation and mood, bring you down, or agitate you? Be aware, and change that tune…it could change your mood.
I am fascinated by how we sense the world and am committed to living a more sensual and pleasure-filled life and help women do the same. I’m reading a terrific book–Brain Rules by John Medina in which the author describes sensory stimulation and how it works in the brain. He’s a molecular biologist and is able discuss complex material in such a way it makes sense to my non-scientific mind. While he primarily applies his research to learning (and by the way, he says we are designed to never stop learning and exploring), I’d like to expand on his insights into the realm of pleasure in our lives.
Our senses evolved to work together–for example vision and hearing are partnered in a learning situation, (which explains why PowerPoint slides and a talking head in the front of the room have become so popular, albeit with shortcomings). He also explains that our brain takes in sensory signals and stores them in parts of our brain to reconstruct them later. However, due to their own unique past experiences, two people may perceive an event very differently.
So what does this have to do with us delighting in our feminine essence? As time goes by, we tend to “forget” the incredible value of all our senses—for example, color, texture, and scent in our homes or wardrobes. Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel catalogs seem to dictate the season’s colors. Very often, I don’t even like the colors. Are they your favorite color? How do you experience those colors? What do they feel like to you? Today’s fashion palette simply may not please you.
Scents, whether candles, air fresheners, perfume or flowers either make us feel better or worse. Notice how you feel when you light a beautifully scented candle you love; or when you wear a perfume you adore; or as you walk into your home and inhale the scent of a bouquet of day-lilies on your table. In these moments I truly cherish my sense of smell.
I always wear perfume even when working alone in my office writing. And I listen to lovely classical guitar while I work. While Mr. Medina doesn’t specifically say that perfume and music make me smarter, I feel that I am and think my writing is a bit crisper and insightful that day. What can you do today to delight your senses….and improve your brain?
Music has the magical capacity to transform our mood and may even change our life. Music revitalize us when we’re tired (think good ol’ rock and roll!) and calm us when we need to dial it down, especially in the evening. It sets the mood for a dinner party or a romantic evening. Music also encourages daydreaming and more creative thinking. Music unlocks memories from years past as well as soothing our parched soul today.Try turning off your TV (or newstalk radio) and put on some favorite music and notice how much better you feel. While at work, I listen to www.pandora.com. You create a music station based on your tastes and moods in music, and Pandora also introduces new artists to the listener. I encourage you take a music break and notice the magic it creates for you.
To magic in your life! Cherryll