As we are getting pummeled by snow here on the east coast, I feel everyone's energy is low. People are READY for winter to be over. I wouldn't mind a little relief from the cold either. (Today is a staggering 45 degrees... Feels like spring!;)
Amidst the depth of winter I volunteered to play music at hospitals for sick patients through an awesome organization called Musicians on Call.
Their views and understanding about the healing powers of music are completely aligned with mine.
It's perfect for me. I always talk about the power of music, wanting to help, and to give back and here was a great opportunity.
On Monday I headed over to Lutheran hospital to sing for the patients there.
I had no idea what to expect. I knew it was going to be adults. (There are some children's hospitals but they are all far from me) I knew I was supposed to only play uplifting songs. (Not even Help! by the Beatles was recommended).
There is a contact person who goes into the rooms and tells the patients that he works for a volunteer organization and there is a free music show, and would they like to hear a song?
Some people said no. Some people said yes. I went in, sang one song, (sometimes an original but mostly a cover ) and then I left to go to the next room.
Sometimes, it was hard to see if it had any affect on the patients.
Sometimes it was just a feeling that the music was getting in.
Sometimes you could really see that it got in. One guy was actually singing along! One woman turned her head to watch tv but she was tapping her foot the whole time. Another woman couldn't move well but I saw in her eyes that she was smiling.
Leaving there I thought, well I'm not sure how much it affected people but I think and hope it did even if just a little.
I can only assume what being in a hospital all day every day feels like. Not to mention the ailments and pain that some people have. It was sad being there just for an hour and a half.
I saw with my own eyes, the brightness and energy that hearing live music brings. Even in the smallest way. The tap of the foot. The shining eyes, the clapping along.
It was a reminder that we are all so lucky and have so much to be grateful for. Having our health is the number one, most important thing. Enduring the winter is nothing. It will pass, spring will come, and the whole cycle will start again.
Now, does this mean that because we are not in a hospital or homeless or dealing with something horrible that we can't feel down or complain about our lives? Of course not! I know first hand that some days are harder than others-some days it's hard to see the silver lining, to remember that we are blessed. But those are the moments and days to stop, close your eyes, breathe deeply and say all the things you are grateful for.
It also reminded me and allowed me to see firsthand the true healing power of music. It reacts with the chemistry in our body. It evokes all kinds of emotion. It speaks to the soul. And when the soul is healed, the body follows.
All in all it was a great experience and an important reminder to be thankful for the little (big) things.
What are some ways you/me/we can be more grateful for the things in our lives? The people around us, the bed we sleep in, the food we eat, the fact that we have functioning bodies, the process that we're in right now?
I'm going to take a few minutes every day to close my eyes, breathe deeply and say thank you for all the things I am grateful for. I invite you to join me in doing the same thing:)
In Health and music,