Provision #839: Music Mends the Mind

Laser Provision

In March of this year, 2013, I wrote a Provision titled Music Matters. It’s a great Provision and I encourage you to click through to read it for the first time, if you did not read it then, or to read it again, if you want to refresh your memory. Today I am sending out a fun link to a surprise concert at the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, Israel. Apparently I’m not the only one who recognizes and celebrates the healing power of music. You’ll have some fun with this one, so read on and click through to watch the video. You’ll be glad you did.

LifeTrek Provision

Over the next two weeks I intend to wrap up the series of Provisions that have grown out of my healing process over the past 15 months. That’s a long time to spend on any one topic and it feels right to move on to a new focus and orientation. That’s as true for the writing of Provisions as it is for the healing of my brain. My orientation and energy, at this point in time, can be summarized with five words and an exclamation point: “Let’s be done with this!” It’s even possible to do it in two words: “Enough already!” You get the idea.

If you have stayed with me through this whole ordeal then you know that it all started at the end of August, 2012, with the first of what became an uncountable number of seizures. They got so intense that I had to be put into a medically-induced coma for three weeks to calm down the firestorm in my brain. After being woken up and going through several months of rehabilitation, I began writing Provisions again at the end of November. Since that time I have used my weekly reflections to document my experience and to sort out my thoughts as to what has been going on. It has definitely been a crazy, crazy time.

For all its craziness, however, it’s also been a time of deepening and of healing. I am not the same person today that I was 15 months ago, and there are both good and bad elements to that. My memory deficits, for example, are pretty profound.  But so is my empathy quotient, and I value that part of the equation. Seven months into the process, in my Provision titled Music Matters, I described listening to music as a form of “mental massage”. I still love that metaphor and I appreciate the things that music has done for the healing of my mind. It really has been an integral part of the healing process, both in terms of mood and in terms of memory.

Apparently I am not alone when it comes to appreciating the power of music in medicine. It’s hard to imagine a more fun example of that power than the Tchaikovsky Flash Waltz at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem as produced by the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. Wow! I love the looks on the faces in that SafeShare.TV video, as the musicians and dancer just seem to come out of nowhere, in a totally unexpected time and place. Be sure to click on the link when you will not be interrupted for 5 minutes and 34 seconds, with your speakers or headsets turned on, so that you can hear the music and watch the faces of those who are passing by in the hospital entryway.

One doesn’t expect to find such artistry in a hospital entryway, let alone such artistry assembled in such a seemingly random fashion. That’s exactly what makes it so much fun. I’ve watched the video multiple times and have added it to my favorites. Whenever I’m feeling discouraged or overwhelmed, I click on the link and get a five-minute pick-me-up. Just what the doctor ordered!

Here are a few of the emotions and limbic highlights that can be seen on the faces and in the bodies of the passersby and the performers themselves, identified by how many minutes and seconds they show up as the video goes along:

  • 0:22: Double-take
  • 0:25: Surprise
  • 0:39: Wonder
  • 0:49: Delight
  • 1:11: Joy
  • 1:16: Rhythm
  • 1:27: Smiling
  • 1:33: Disbelief
  • 2:04: Laughter
  • 2:11: Spellbound
  • 2:25: Swaying
  • 2:33: Smiling
  • 2:52: Bewilderment
  • 3:47: Enjoyment
  • 4:00: Remembering
  • 4:06: Connection
  • 4:25: Dancing
  • 4:44: Dancing with Style
  • 5:00: Appreciation
  • 5:13: Acknowledgment

If those attributes won’t facilitate healing, I don’t know what will. They definitely belong in a hospital! Healing is so much more than just chemicals, therapies, and operations. Those things are important, of course, but they don’t have the power, in and of themselves, to mend the deep brokenness of those who are sick and hurt. I know. I’ve been there. And the caregivers and healers who stick out most in my mind are the ones who generated some of those same reactions in me.

Like Malcolm. It’s been many moons since I saw Malcolm, but I still remember his face, smile, humor, and caring. I also remember his haircut, perhaps because it was the same as mine: shorn close, all the way around. It’s hard to find a more low-maintenance hairstyle than that! Malcolm and I laughed together, teased each other, and had fun in a setting where I wasn’t supposed to be having fun. I was sick, after all, and in the hospital. But doom and gloom do not facilitate healing. Malcolm lifted my spirits and gave me hope.

And that, in the end, is as important to healing as all the medicine and procedures in the world. Without hope, the spirit slips away and the body soon follows. With hope, the spirit lives on to fight another day. Or, one might say, to sing another day. The power of music to mend the mind and, in turn, the body is incalculable.

So if your body, mind, or soul need a little rejuvenation, I – as well as my doctor – suggest that you add music to the equation. It’s not hard to do and you’ll be very glad you did.

Coaching Inquiries: When was the last time that you found yourself swaying, smiling, and dancing with delight? What about tapping your toes or heels to the beat? If music doesn’t do it for you, what does bring out these healing, limbic highlights? How could you enjoy more of them, more often, on the trek of life? Who could assist or coach you to make it so?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form to arrange a complimentary conversation.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Form or Email Bob.

We enjoyed your Provision from the end of November, announcing you were taking a week off. Happy you were able to do that. That’s what you need to do, but I know that you are still so happy that you are able to accomplish what you do, that it gives you a great measure of peace and joy. Getting our priorities in the right order, is very important. So happy that you are trusting in God and knowing that He is in control and loves you very much. We are so thankful to Him for bringing you closer to Him and keeping you well and on the way to complete recovery.

I know it must be hard to generate these Provisions with some measure of continuing seizure activity, but they are amazing and really helpful. Thanks!  

May you be filled with goodness, peace, joy, and health.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School
Past President, International Association of
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

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