Old Songs

Tune into your inner radio station. Have you had any songs stuck in your head? Actually dial up that song and listen through a few times. Listen closely to the lyrics and see if there’s more meaning in them than you’ve paid attention to in the past.

Have any songs floated into your head unprompted by anything? I find when a song pops in seemingly from nowhere there’s often a lyric in there that’s super relevant to where I’m at in that moment. Somehow my subconscious knows the gist of the lyrics have an important lesson, but I have to hear it to know what all the words are.

Sing along with the song if you’re willing. Get into the full expression of it as much as you can allow yourself. Really go for it if you’re feeling the groove. It takes three or four repeats at least to catch all of the words to the verses so you can sing along and fully get into it. Lose yourself in song.

Feel whatever emotion is present in the song. If it’s sad, push into the sadness. If it’s anger, let real anger into your voice as you sing along. This is a safe container to feel into whatever is present in the song. Sing it over and over again as many times as it takes to work through the emotions and feel some release. Then transition to music that moves you towards the mood you’d like to be in. If that’s a radical departure from the song you’re in - say you start with Nine Inch Nails’ more - shall we say… lively songs - and you want to be in Debussy’s Prelude to a Faun, it might take a bit of creative segue to smooth into the desired mood. You might need to detour through Johnny Cash’s cover of Hurt and wallow in sadness for a while before being reborn in the frolicking spring grass of Debussy.

Stay in each mood until you’re ready to move on. Your body will tell you if it’s buying the shift in songs. If you try to transition too fast, you’ll feel the resentment rise up. Don’t force a better mood onto yourself. If you put on a happier mood than your unconscious is ready to accept, it might actually drive you into a worse mood. Think how angry Christmas carols can make you if you’re not feeling in tune. Instead of judging yourself for how you should feel, return to a darker sound which better matches where you’re at right this moment. You may well need to go more intense before you can go to the lighter mood you’d rather be in. There’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s better to intensify the dark emotions than to suppress them, as counter-intuitive as that may seem. They contain critical information that you need in order to unstick yourself from whatever issue is hanging you up. Of all of the things you could be paying attention to in this moment, you’re thinking of this, so there is probably something to it. If it truly bores you, move on, but if it provokes a physical and emotional reaction, see if you can get to the bottom of it.