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.

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