Using MuSic to Cope With the MonSter Within
I always find it ironic that when having a discussion, debate, interview, etc., and after the discussion, you thought of so much more you could've or should've said or things you could've said differently. Have you ever been there? I have. I was. And here's a recent example...
The role music plays in my life with MS
I was selected to participate in a podcast and was asked to talk about what role music plays in my life specifically as it relates to my journey with MS. It isn't that I said anything wrong, but because music is one of the gifts included in my 'toolbox' of coping skills that I utilize to manage my challenging world living with this MonSter, it seems everything I could have said would have been on the tip of my tongue. Who knows who it may have resonated with or who it could help? I now have the opportunity to take my time and write my thoughts out. Now, I can feel comfortable that I've expressed myself sufficiently if not then, now. This is what I could have said.
Music soothes the soul
Music is energy, it's vibrational, it's soothing - and it promotes dancing which is good for exercise for those who are still physically able to do so. For me, I can do a mean groove to the beat with my 'Dianne's wave' while sitting in my chair, and that's okay, too. With the pressures MS brings, music can reduce stress and its common negative side effects. Some studies show that it can restore some of the cognitive, sensory, and motor functions of the brain. But aside from the science, music does more than just put us in a good mood. It energizes your mind, eases stress, evokes emotions, soothes your soul, and just sets things right.
The good days, bad days, and everything in between
Some days are great days, others 'okay', and some are more challenging than others in a host of ways. Some adverse days aren't directly related to MS, but MS almost always compounds the matter. At any rate, my trusty playlist is right here for them all. The genres run the gambit. From Gospel to Oldies to Jazz, etc. Here are some examples:
My Gospel playlist
When I need inspiration and feel weary, I can turn to my Gospel playlist:
"Even though your winds blow
I want you to know
You cause me no alarm
'Cause I'm safe in His arms
Even though your rain falls
I can still make this call
Let there be peace
Now I can say go away
I command you to move today
Because of faith
I have a brand new day
The sun will shine
And I will be okay
That's what I told the storm…"
(I Told The Storm" Greg O'Quiin)
There are times when I feel happy and I want to just move, so I might tune into some upbeat R&B:
"You know I love music
And every time I hear something hot
It makes me wanna move
It makes me wanna have fun
But it's something about this joint right here
This joint right here
It makes me wanna... Ooh! ...
Having a really good time, I'm not complaining
And I'm a still wear a smile if it's raining
I got to enjoy myself regardless
I appreciate life, I'm so glad that it's fine."
("Just Fine", Mary J. Blige)
My Motown playlist
Or there are times when nothing's wrong and I just want to vibe to some Oldies. I'll turn my Motown playlist on and hear The Four Tops crooning:
You know that I love you
I can't help myself
I love you and nobody else
In and out my life
You come and you go
Leaving just your picture behind
And I kissed it a thousand times…"
("Can't Help Myself")
Music is powerful
In closing, remember that music can be a powerful gift. In the words of the Mother of Blues, Ma Rainey, "The more music you have in the world, the fuller it is."
...And these are things I could have said when explaining how I use MuSic to cope with the MonSter within.
I have the hardest time with my MS during the following season: