The Mindful Miracle of Music
So if you have read many of my posts you know that I often advocate for running and working out without listening to any music.
Going without tunes is a great way to listen to your thoughts, tune into your body, and make exercise a moving meditation. I hope you have all listened to that advice closely and taken it to heart, because I’m about to take the exact opposite position.
You see the other day I was on I-tunes and there were having an amazing sale on some classic hits from the 00’s, the 90’s, and beyond. So I spent a few mins downloading some awesome dance hit’s I remember dancing to when I was in middle school.
What’s funny is that the first time I put this music on I felt so pumped I just wanted to get up and move. The music made me feel alive. It made me feel young. And it encouraged me to go out and enjoy a run.
I realized that while music can easily become a crutch that prevents us from being aware. It also has an amazing power to lift us up and free us from our everyday lives.
Here are a few simple ways to use music to help make your life better:
Get Going In the Morning -
I’ve been a bit of a night owl from time to time, so mornings haven’t always been my favorite. I remember when I discovered Jimi Hendrix and started listening to “Stand Next To Your Fire” first thing when I woke up. It got me excited about my day and about my life.
Now I’ve traded Hendrix in for some rousing classical music, because I like to minimize the words I encounter early in the day. But it still has the same effect of getting me up and ready for the day.
If you have a hard time getting out of bed, try getting up and putting on a pumping jam. It may help you get over the morning blues.
Blocking Out Noise -
Often when I work in coffee shops, there will be people nearby having a really intense conversation. And despite my attempts, I can’t seem to not listen. During these times I use music as a barrier to block out distracting noise, improve my focus, and also set the mood for what I’m writing.
We live in a noisy world and though it’s helpful to be mindful of those sounds sometimes, it can also be important to find some safety in music.
Romantic Evenings -
Whenever I have a date night, I love to put on some classy jazz music in the background. I find this subtle soft music can set the mood as well as provide a sense of safety.
Often it can feel awkward to not talk when you are with someone you care about, but music helps fill the gaps, and may give you the chance to share something you really feel, by making vulnerability easier.
When You Really Don’t Want To Work Out
I still believe that most of us would be better off working out without music. It gives you more space for your thoughts and encourages you to tune into your body. But there are sometimes when getting out the door seems a herculean task.
Whenever I have moments like that, I rely on music to help me get started and keep going. I find that when nothing else works, music can help me stay true to my intentions.
Just To Listen
Perhaps my favorite use of music is just to listen. I used to do this all the time growing up. I would get a great new album, take it into my room, and listen to the whole thing all the way through.
But as an adult, I have mostly lost this practice. Music has become something else to put on in the background to keep the silence and demons away. But from time to time I still like to try sitting down and just listening to music.
I find this act to not only be very refreshing, but it also demands a certain sense of mindfulness that is all it’s own.