Have you ever wondered where music actually comes from? In quiet moments, I enjoy thinking about “musical roots” and how the rhythms of nature helped sow the seeds for what has now become one of our largest money-making industries and the twists and turns it has taken to get there. Music is a fantastic arena to examine the Soul and the Ego scales with curious objectivity. From the perspective of natural progressions, Music’s roots trace back to nature and the seemingly endless sounds it produces. From the most simple stylings to elaborate stage shows, music is both creative and destructive, and it’s growth and development are multifaceted. Each style of music has it’s own set of roots, but deep in the space where they all connect, it’s core magic is manifesting.
We each tend to gravitate towards certain types of music, while other genres don’t “hit” us the same way, and in some cases even repel us with physical reactions. How often have you heard something like “I hate country music” as a blanket statement? I know that I claimed that for myself when I was 10 - probably because I heard someone I admired (hi Dad) say it. I can’t have known enough country music to have a real opinion about it, and since the universe frequently points these things out to me in what I can only describe as instant karma, this happened:
I was soon invited by a family friend to the Missouri State Fair. What I did not understand until we got there, was that the main thing they wanted to do was see Willie Nelson. Not only did they want to see him, they wanted us to wait for hours in the stands so that we could be in the front row. At 10, I had already determined that I was a pretty good judge of everyone and everything, so I’m confident that I complained and pointed out all the things we were missing at the fair, my usual pain-in-the-ass 10 year old behavior….(that probably continued into my 20s, if I’m honest!)
As the sun was going down on the fairgrounds, I heard the first notes of Whiskey River and that night Willie Nelson became an actual god to me. For the next few years I updated my opinion: “I hated country music, except for Willie Nelson”. It took a few more years to begin noticing the crossovers, and how my favorite rock singers had deep blues and country influences. In middle school, it was hard to accept that Shaun Cassidy didn’t write Da Doo Run Run and in high school, I was devastated when I found out English Beat didn’t write Tears of a Clown. Learning the history of those songs gave me a personal introduction into Motown rather than the passing one that was woven into my life. My own experiences with listening to music have set me on a journey that arguably led me to Our Raw Material: a framework for thinking that encourages self-understanding and promotes common sense.
I had a hard time feeling emotion as a child. At times, my emotions make me feel so vulnerable that it can feel unsafe revealing them, even to myself. An intention of the ORM design is to bring emotion to the forefront for integration, because I believe there are many other humans who feel the same way I did when dealing with feelings. For the first 40 years of my life, I felt in control whenever I was one step ahead of my feelings, and I can attribute a lot of that to music.
I created a world in music where I could listen to a beautiful, sad, uplifting, sorrowful, angry, tragic, heart-warming, breath-taking, laughter-inducing, foot-stomping, body-moving, or love song - playing whatever type of song I needed in any given moment, just to feel the feeling that matched my life and mood at the time. How often do we name our playlists with emotions? We have reached a place in time where expression of emotion is both encouraged for our health and discouraged for the effect it may have on others.
We can’t fully know the intentions behind the writing of a song, but we each seem to make certain songs part of our own emotional landscape. Music has the power to connect our fractured pieces, if only for a moment, and makes us feel the true spirit of our wholeness, reminding us who we are underneath our raw material.