A few weeks ago, I was in a workshop that asked participants to talk about something in their lives that they do for themselves that gets them through hard times. Answers varied and some had trouble answering. Mine was easy: music.
I have vague memories of my Dad playing guitar for me while I splashed in the bathtub and my Mum singing soft lullabies as I drifted to off to sleep. Thinking about it now, I realize that music has played a therapeutic role in my life for as long as I can remember. When I was 11 or 12, I sang in my first talent show and at 14 or 15 I learned my first chords on the guitar. Sometimes when I couldn’t sleep, I would quietly strum notes and jot down lyrics in a book, writing songs that only I would ever hear. I had a tough time in high school and near the end, choir was the only class I showed up to. I’ve played in front of and with people a lot over the years, but music has primarily been something that I do just for me. When life feels overwhelming and hard, singing and playing the guitar makes everything feel simple again.
The more I hear about people’s struggles, the better I understand how important having an outlet like this is. Sometimes it can be hard to think of what it is that brings a feeling of content when everything around you seems like it’s spinning out of control. Try not to be hard on yourself if at first it feels like there’s nothing. Take a deep breath, close your eyes and think about a time when you were doing something and the hours seemed to slip away from you. Maybe it’s walking or scrap-booking or writing. Perhaps it’s baking or reading or knitting. Whatever it is, try to make time for it. Returning to the things that make our hearts feel full can be calming and grounding, enabling us to be there for the loved ones in our lives.
What do you do for you? We would love to hear from you!
Words by Cassandra Van Dyck
Photos by Perry Miotto