See how polite I can be, after a good night’s sleep? When I’m well-rested, I remember to start out with a greeting — a good, welcoming hello to you, my reader.
Welcoming hellos are something I think about a lot, and have for quite a while. These days, I’ve been thinking about “good” hellos, as I work on making my group-therapy groups “safe enough” for people who join them. (By the way, I think a lot about the importance of “good” goodbyes, too.)
Actually, I’m noticing — right now — that my belief in The Importance of Welcoming Hellos has already made several appearances in my blog this year — for example, in two recent posts about “strangers” who are welcoming and kind to me, whether I’m on vacation or at home.
So, I will declare to the blogosphere, right now, that Heart-Felt Welcomes are a passion of mine. They are important and helpful to me — whether I am The Welcomer, or The One Being Welcomed.
So, now I’m wondering: What else has been important and helpful to me lately?
Posing that question — what helps? — is one I automatically ask these days (of myself and others). I believe that keeping track of what helps is … well …. really helpful.
Sounds like it’s time for a list!
What’s Been Helping, #1.
Oh, boy, does listening to music help me. The more ways I can bring music I love into my life, the better I feel.
It’s really that simple.
I’m not saying that music cures all. But music, for me, definitely does have that oft-quoted power to Soothe the Savage Breast (or Beast, as a lot of people quote that.)
Okay, even though I’m well-rested, I am now going to digress, people, because that’s the way my mind works. Yes, yes, I confess! I have A Digressive Mind. And in This Year of Living Non-Judgmentally (at least for today) I will celebrate that digressive style, rather than judge it!
So now that I’ve warned you about (and celebrated) digressions (essentially digressing before the digression), here’s the digression I had in mind:
I just Googled that expression about music soothing the savage beast/breast, and this is what I found. The full quote, by William Congreve (in 1697!), is this:
“Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.”
And why did I digress in that way, sharing the original quote? Two reasons: (1) I’m interested in famous quotes and how they shift in memory as time goes by and (2) I wanted to make a pun about “soft rock.”
But I won’t.
Instead, I’ll return to my pre-digression point of How Music Helps Me, Big Time.
I’ve been making a concerted (eeek! pun not intended!) effort lately to bring more music into my life, because — more than anything — I know that listening to music helps improve my mood, keeping me happy and healthy. Indeed, it’s one of my most powerful forms of Personal Medicine.
Years ago, (actually DECADES ago), I remember going to the yearly Cambridge River Festival and meeting up with a particular Welcoming Stranger who was at that festival. I can’t remember whether he described himself as a psychic or just a Reader of People, but I always remember what he said to me that day:
“You are a person who needs music. If you ever notice that you’re feeling depressed or sad, think about whether you’re listening to enough music.”
And I remember that quirky, somewhat-raggedy-looking, fortune-telling-type guy very vividly — because what he said was absolutely right.
And here’s something I talk to clients about a lot. Often, even though we know what will help us, we don’t use those things when we most need them. That is, when we’re feeling worse, we don’t do MORE of what would help us feel better … instead, we do LESS.
And, we often feel shame about that “perverse” behavior — that is, taking less of what would cure us, rather than more. Which makes us feel worse. (And we use labels like “perverse” and “stupid” and say things like, “I should know better …” etc.)
So, as you can see, feeling bad can turn into a kind of downward spiral — as we judge ourselves for doing such a “bad job,” regarding our own moods.
And I’ve been “guilty” of that behavior, too. That is, when I have felt depressed, I’ve listened to music less, or stopped listening to music entirely. And that’s been awful.
So, lately, as I’ve been working diligently on reducing judgment and doing Other Things That Help, I’ve been trying to create more and more opportunities to listen to music. For example, I’ve purchased some Earmuff Headphones and declared my love for these beauties, openly and often. And, every day before and after work (if the friggin’ snow allows), I shun the shuttle bus and walk to and from where I park my car, listening to some of my favorite tunes on my beloved Earmuff Headphones.
And it makes a huge difference.
I’m taking a look back at this post, so far. And I see this: What Helps #1 has turned out to be a rather long discussion, this morning. And I feel about ready to end this post.
So what to do — when I start a list like that, write one entry, and want to wrap up the day’s post?
How about this?
What’s been helping, #2.
Balancing my needs with other people’s needs. This has included focusing on what’s going to help me, in the moment.
What’s been helping, #3.
Letting go of mind-reading. That is, why should I assume that you, my readers, need me to extend this list?
What’s been helping, #4.
Letting go of ideas of perfection. Who says that once you start a list, you have to have more than one entry? Who says a list HAS to have a certain number of acceptable entries (like four or five)?
What’s been helping, #5.
Having faith in the process, and losing my investment in the outcome. In the case of this post, it helps to believe that if I follow my instincts, that a blog post will turn out okay, no matter how long a list might be.
Okay! Thanks for reading today. (Hey! I did a polite goodbye, too!) (Boy, a good night’s sleep really helps, doesn’t it?)