Lights will guide you home. And ignite your bones. And I will try to fix you. – Coldplay
During my whole life, from childhood to what is now around my mid-life point, assuming I live an average life, music has been the one constant that I use to help me in changing my mood and even healing me from a tough time.
For a long time, I thought I was alone in this feeling. For me, music lyrics are so powerful that I can actually remember times and locations for when I first heard my favorite songs and can then, in turn, usually tell you the artist, album, and year that the music first came out (give or take 1 year). But it wasn’t until recently that I learned what a gift of healing music is for me.
Does Music Have Healing Powers?
You see, I was relentlessly bullied as a child and that left me with a few issues that followed me into my adult life, to include stress, anxiety, self-doubt, and even depression. It was during this time, during my recovery from these issues that I realized the power of music in helping me heal. Seems that it’s not just me, as music has been studied in its power to heal us from mental health issues.
For me, I consider music and the lyrics to be modern poetry that I can use when I need to change my thinking pattern, calm myself from stress, and even make myself feel good. Admittedly, I gravitate to songs that tend to have a calming message or about the struggles that we go through in our lives. Much like the idea of volunteering to help someone who has less than you make you feel better about your own condition, music that shares lyrics that show life is good or is even hard can make me change my way of thinking or just calm my worried mind (snuck in a lyric from Eric Clapton’s Layla there, did you notice?)
With this in mind, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite lyrics and songs for different conditions that I dealt with that helped me along my path to recovery and to this day are helpful to me.
Peter Gabriel: Don’t Give Up (album So) – “Don’t give up ‘cos you have friends. Don’t give up, you’re not beaten yet. Don’t give up, I know you can make it good.”
Coldplay: Everything’s Not Lost (album Parachutes) – “When you thought that it was over. You could feel it all around. Everybody’s out to get you. Don’t you let it drag you down? Because if you ever feel neglected. If you think that all is lost. I’ll be counting up my demons, yeah. Hoping everything’s not lost.”
REM: Everybody Hurts (album Automatic for the People) – “Everybody hurts. Take comfort in your friends. Everybody hurts. Don’t throw your hand, oh no. Don’t throw your hand. If you feel like you’re alone. No, no, no, you are not alone.”
Fleetwood Mac: Landslide (album Fleetwood Mac) – “I took my love and took it down. I climbed a mountain and I turned around. And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills.Till the landslide brought me down. Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love? Can the child within my heart rise above? Can I sail through the changing ocean tides? Can I handle the seasons of my life? Well, I’ve been afraid of changing, ’cause I’ve built my life around you. But time makes you bolder. Even children get older. And I’m getting older too.”
The Beatles: Golden Slumbers (album Abby Road) – “Once there was a way to get back homeward. Once there was a way to get back home. Sleep pretty darling do not cry and I will sing a lullaby. Golden slumbers fill your eyes. Smiles awake you when you rise. Sleep pretty darling do not cry and I will sing a lullaby.”
The truth is that I could have been sharing lyrics and music forever. I could keep going because there are so many songs that I have that mean so much to me in both the lyrics and the music. Many times, I won’t hear a song for quite a while, then it will play on the radio and tears will well up in my eyes, because my emotions are touched so strongly. Have you ever felt the same way?
Then, I have to quickly download it and play it again and again. I fill myself with happiness and strength from these songs. The above songs are the ones that help me.
Do you have songs that help you when you need it the most?
Some of the music I love doesn’t have words, like Taoist music that I listen to as I meditate or do yoga. It is a powerful part of my own healing process and I use it as part of my own recovery.
I felt alone when I went through my tough times. No one could help reach me easily, but the music was always there for me. I remember a tough moment during my recovery when I felt lost and thought the best days were behind me. Then I heard “Midnight” by Coldplay. “In the darkness before the dawn. In the swirling of the storm. When I’m rolling with the punches, and hope is gone. Leave a light, a light on.”
I can’t explain why those lyrics touched me the way they did. I knew that Chris Martin, Coldplay’s lead singer, wrote most of the lyrics about his marriage failing. For me, it just said that when I feel that hope was gone in my life, that somewhere, there would be a light on to guide me back to where I needed to be.
It inspired to write my book called “A Ladder In The Dark” about my youth experiences and how I worked to heal myself.
I love it that I am touched by the poets of the music world. Particularly, though, I love that it is part of my healing and now I use it in my life to make it better, so when I feel low or think I just can’t move forward, my music friends encourage me to move forward.
What does music do for you? Is it the one thing that can heal, when other areas fail?