My Friend Breathes Music

being in the presentDo you have this superpower? My friend is a social worker with a difficult job working on the inpatient unit of a mental health hospital. She has a forty-minute commute to work each day.

I was talking with her about an audiobook I was listening to while driving to my office one day. She seemed surprised that anyone would listen to a book while riding in the car. Her commentary was, “Music is like breathing for me. It’s life!”

That statement would not be so incredible if it were not for the fact that I could literally feel the joy emanating from her as she spoke those words. It was like happiness was dancing in her eyes, putting on a full Broadway production instead of the usual little sparkle that hints at joy.

She told me of some of the difficulties she faces at work and the way the music lifts her up, preparing her mind to embrace what good she can find during each workday. At least, that’s what I reflected back to her as I tried to practice good listening skills.

She corrected me by noting I had missed the point. “You’re close, James, but it’s a little deeper than that. I don’t use music as a tool to change my mental state. I become one with the music. I am the music. It’s my security and it’s my power.”

She went on to describe the way she rides the rhythms and the vibration of the music, experiencing it as a form of harmony or oneness. She explained how she rides that wave of power, security, and energy through the difficult interactions she faces during the course of each workday. All she has to do is let the fresh memory of the music play in her mind.

As I listened to her speak, I realized I understood what she was talking about. I recognized the experience she was struggling to put into words. It’s not something that can be spoken about easily because it has to do with subtle changes in your consciousness and your perspective.

Pondering this conversation later, I realized I had a few experiences of briefly working with a few clients that seemed to have the same relationship with music. It may not be a coincidence that my interaction with those clients was very brief. While they leveraged my skill set to their advantage, they already had the significant advantage that comes with the ability to breathe music.

Here’s the advantage as I see it. Fresh off the high of letting music flow through you, every cell of your body is vibrating with positive energy that comes from joy. Not only that, but you experience a sort of confidence that comes from less self-consciousness. It’s like the music expands your awareness and puts you in a “flow state” in which practical outcomes seem less important (and therefore less intimidating).

Imagine arriving on the scene of a date, having just allowed the music to flow through you in this way. Imagine you had embraced the music and tried to feel the vibration of the music as it moved through your body during your ride.

Now contrast that with the opposite scenario. You’re driving your car on the way to your date. You’re rehearsing what you’ll say as you walk up to him. You’re paying attention to the feeling of worry in the pit of your stomach, anxiously anticipating his reaction to you and your reaction to him.

This second scenario just isn’t as good. One of the concepts I discuss in my training materials is the importance of embracing the present as you interact with people. Music is experienced in the present. Your mind does not skip ahead to the next part of the song while you listen to it. As result, it naturally draws us back into the present moment.

being in the presentI share these thoughts with you in case they have some use to you as you reach for ways to bring out the best in yourself. Through the process of trial and error, I hope you will find several different ways to bring your mind more fully into the present moment while embracing the dating process as it unfolds.


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25 thoughts on “My Friend Breathes Music

  1. Nancy said:

    I cured myself from a 6 month rash caused by stess by stopping all prescribed drugs and listening to music. I became one with the music.

  2. Patsy said:

    I’m a musician and totally understand the power of music – for anyone and everyone. Here’s a very interesting book about the power of music to heal people in intensive care, and reduce pain. It’s called “Waking the Spirit”, by Andrew Schulman, a guitarist who was revived from near death only by his wife playing music on an iPod to him. He went on to become a “medical musician.” Very inspiring book I recommend.

  3. Denise said:

    As a professional singer, it depends on my mood as to how what I’m singing effects me. If I’m in a fun, let’s get crazy mood, then it’s definitely 80’s rock. Then in a quick second, we’ll hit a sultry blues number and I become a sex goddess. Not only is that the essence of a good entertainer, but it’s also how I want my audience to feel. When a great musician performs, they are extremely vulnerable and unknowingly to the audience, they are getting a peak into the performer’s soul. That’s what makes them so fantastic. Anyone can sing a song but not everyone can make YOU FEEL the song.

  4. said:

    Music is the fragrance of our soul…………… like the notes of a beautiful perfume, it lingers long after the last note is played. THolloway

  5. Marilyn said:

    Thank you, James. I definitely will try this–need all the help I can get! Appreciate all your advice.

  6. pam said:

    Thank you James. I absolutely love music! I cannot imagine my life without it

  7. StephanieannStevens said:

    Ironically James my jamming man.. I’ve had a pro career music is the foundation of our relationship.. I’m using it to WAVE him back into my life. Go to sleep with it and wake up with it..Thanks for this post and keep in mind professionally speaking as a musical artist.. music and listening to it uses ALL the brain cheers::!

  8. Elsa said:

    2 of my favorites:
    Queen: Palabras de amor
    Ancient Bards: Through my veins

  9. Josephine Amolato said:

    i really love music..its the language of my soul…

  10. Yasmin said:

    I can so agree with this! I’m a musician and I can’t live without the music. I “use” different styles of music for different situations and moods, from classical music till metal or mantra music.

  11. yes I love musc, like most kind except rap , love classical music to its very sensual , love latin music , very sensual also , puts me someplace else ,,just love music but love thos 2 kinds best , but country is one my faves also ,,got couple on my computer I listen to ,, very relaxing ,,,, when just setting here ,,

  12. Daniela said:

    Long time ago i read about a study about how music the CLASSIC MUSIC influence tbr crops ybe cows milk production the prenatal development of tbe baby s when mothers are listening..i did it during my pregnancy now my son 16 years old tould me thst the clasic music set him in a creation mode..the duscapacitated kids also benefit from such studies..of music…its about ADN compatibility and the notes shower of the classics Schumann. Ravel Vivaldi Tschaikovski aso..the crops with such music exposure are twice compared with withness parcels thissame dimensions and seeds but without music exposure..the heavy metal exposure reduce at half the withness parcel production as comparison..folk music and traditional wedding music are filled with joy also…

  13. ellen said:

    this completely resignates with me….and puts words to feelings i did not know how to express thank you

  14. Diana Roberts said:

    Joy all the way to forever! Thanks Bauer.

  15. Vicky said:

    Some music is for me a stress-remedy, very effective. There are some rhythms that directly resonate with my soul, and bring me closer to my self-identity, without any words or even despite the lyrics!

  16. I agree. When I sometimes tell my friends that at times music can give you such an ecstatic feeling that you feel like you’re floating out of your body, they don’t understand. They think I’ve gone nuts. But because I’ve experienced it myself, I know how amazing it can be. It’s just that on my 3-hour long commute, I have to keep adding to my music library or I have to replay the same songs over and over, and that’s frustrating.

  17. Karen RN said:

    Music is similar to that for me as I commute to and from work. I have n desire to talk on my phone, etc. The difference is that I choose the lyrics, more so than the rhythms, melodies, & harmonies, that will uplift me and give a positive flow to my soul throughout my long night shift as a nurse.

  18. Ludah Gaabinelwe said:

    I think that, it has to work just as well,If you listen positively to your inner-self,because i think that is where the present comes.

  19. Hetty Frederik said:

    Does it apply to any music genre? Or would classical music or jazz be a better choice?

    • James Bauer said:

      I think those styles of music could work just as well. The key is that it activates that creative “right brain” sort of thought and flow in your mind, plus it puts you in a positive mood. If those music styles do it for you…great!

      • Cm said:

        I think sad love songs on pp radio would be a bad idea 😉

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