Music as Self-care

When I was a teen, my only self-care routine was to listen to music. From my early teens into my 20s, when my emotions were full of roller coaster highs and lows, I could always depend on music to soothe and set me straight. Music gave me a sense of belonging to a generation that was powerful, creative, and bold. Back then, Joni Mitchell was pure medicine. Laura Nyro was a Goddess, and there were many bands that I loved, like Weather Report, WAR, Blood Sweat & Tears, anything funky or jazzy, and some Broadway soundtracks like West Side Story, HAIR, the Fantastiks, and a slew of other ones. While I was young, I fell in love with an Englishman who shared with me his passion for contemporary and folk music from the British Isles.  I remain grateful to learn about his favorites. I think my favorite English male singers were Richard Thompson and Steve Winwood. Julie Driscoll, Linda Thompson, Sandy Denny.

As an older person, I lived in Guatemala for two years (2016 – 2018), and each night I listened to a playlist of seven Elton John songs. I didn’t have an ipod or even internet service. I only had those seven songs recorded in my cell phone. And for some reason, there was something in his voice that each time, triggered strong memories and emotions of my youth. The songs were from his earliest album and it gave me all the feels of a summer in Santa Barbara – the air, the waves, the love, and the sweetest little cafe that had incredible musical offerings. It reminded me of living with a bunch of TM meditators just before they opened Maharishi International University (MIU) in Fairfield, Iowa. I remember being with Maharishi and his pundits from India as they chanted in the evenings. And I remember the vegetarian food that was the best I ever had. All those memories in those seven Elton John songs. I didn’t even realize that I liked Elton John that much until I got to Guatemala – funny, that. Every night for two years, imagine. His music felt like home for this homesick woman. I also listened (and continue to listen almost daily) to a lot of Juan Gabriel and Jose Jose, my favorite Mexican singers.

Here in NYC I’ve been to several clubs, big and small, to hear music. I need it so much! As an alternative healing practitioner, I have loads of self-care methods but truly there is no medicine as sweet or powerful as music to heal my heart and make me dance.

What music do you enjoy? What music is the tapestry of your youth? What are you listening to right now? Feel free to comment.

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