Recently, I have made some big leaps with my family and professional career. From one type of music therapy work where I had much experience and expertise then suddenly (actually the next day) into a new music therapy work environment. As I turned to face this in the typically human manner with excitement and nervousness; I wondered will I be a good fit? I realized that this is just that type of big life change that impacts so many of us or stuns us for a moment. As a music therapist, expressive arts therapist, and counselor with Music Journey, LLC I meet many people who come seeking help in similar moments in their lives. As this recognition hit me, I decided to write a bit on just those human experiences Transition and Change, and Impermanence.
Transition, for me this transition has a deep personal and family component. Simply by moving from one job to another impacted my experience of both stress and success. These simple work changes really shook me. As I moved from a work place where my feelings of competence and expertise were a normal inner experience for me. I also found myself with new questions of what to do, when to act, who should I ask, and how to I simply improve my work in this setting? I found so many questions and so much to learn. Yet, I feel that these questions guide me to how to respond with awareness to these new parts of my work. As I slowly, answered these questions of what do I do in any particular situation. First, I recall I need to take a breath and return to my awareness, this is very important for such intimate and sensitive work as making music by someone's bedside in a hospital. Next, after breathing a few breaths and deeply listening to the person I feel able to be present and then act out of a larger sense of compassion. Then if a moment comes up that all seems a bit too much, I turn to one the helpful colleagues that have welcomed me aboard and ask for help. Lastly, the notion of striving and working to improve the quality of my work is always present. So much that I have enlisted the assistance of a highly skilled consultant to help me to review and reflect on my work in this new setting of a general medical hospital. This has been hugely helpful for me over the past months of this new work.
Now to consider change, my example comes from my life and work. However, I have met many people who come to me for assistance whom speak of the fears and inabilities to approach make changes they want for themselves or changes that continue to elude the person. For me change can be tough sometimes even when things are full of ease. Sometimes, things just don't go easily. I find that abrupt changes really toss me and I have to reach out to my loved ones and reach inwardly in meditation for real stabilization.
As one of the therapist with Music Journey, LLC , I have witnessed and been present in moments of change for people in many different ways. From realizations that there are ways to manage anxiety that really help ease the suffering to recognizing a pattern in life that has been unhelpful for too long. In my work and life, I aim to make myself available to be present and aware in the moment striving to deeply listen so as to understand the person who has entrusted me with a tiny part of their life.
Finally, the much larger notion of Impermanence is so real for me lately. First the larger human fact that I will die and more simply things seem to always shift and change. Recently, I catch a melody or song floating by in my head. A few times I’ve heard the floating melody from a song the words stating, " do you realize that everyone you know someday die". As I listen to this phrase and reflect on my recent work with people with serious health conditions I recall moments of making music (musicing) with a person who is on the cusp of some major life change, surgery, or death. I feel an emotional tug toward these tender moments sometimes quiet and sometimes boisterous. These moments change me, causing deep listening where I notice the need to slow down and listen deeply as I feel this experience personally and do my work professionally. I attempt each day to make these experiences in music, these sacred moments, special. I attempt to prize my moments with people and appreciate the wonderful present moment.
Real opportunities to experience the impermanence that is this life and to be present in a person/ families life makes this work so sweet. These Moments seem simple and yet enormous fitting as the theme of painting, a poem, a song , or a dance.
Writing this to and from work, I am suddenly slowed down and brought into a mindful moment with breath and words. I hope that something from this writing lends readers a bit of help today or at least a moment of beauty in your own life.