- The Music Care Inc Value Proposition Wednesday September 11th, 2019
The Music Care Value Proposition
Music Care works alongside people and organizations that
experience lack of meaning
feel lost or unfulfilled
and live with chronic sadness – the “dark night of the soul” –
to reinvigorate authentic, durable belonging, so that
resilience becomes purposeful satisfaction
empathetic leadership breaks through to inspired meaning
and your deficiency becomes your growth.
Through this evidence-based, holistic self-care work, you may expect to
reinvigorate your life
achieve purposeful satisfaction
clarify and strengthen your meaningful belonging
lead with inspired empathy
and grow through your deficiencies.
- How To Get Your Happy On Saturday August 10th, 2019
Imagine: you have spent years educating yourself in science, technology, engineering, and math. You’re making stellar contributions in your field. You’ve earned respect from colleagues and peers, and the world sees you as successful. But something’s missing. Something huge. Let’s admit it: all that education and brilliance and you’re still trying to learn how to get your happy on.
Fear not, young Grasshopper. You are at the portal beyond which happiness waits for you. Let’s go there.
The Wisdom of Listening Deeply
Kung Fu Master Po challenges the novice Caine: “Close your eyes. What do you hear?”
Caine responds: “I hear the water. I hear the birds.”
The Master challenges: “Do you hear your own heartbeat?”
Master Po: “Do you hear the grasshopper which is at your feet?”
Frustrated, Caine responds: “Old man, how is it that you hear these things?”
With the wisdom of experience, Master Po asks Caine: “How is it that you do not?”
In your daily life, what do you hear? What would you hear if you really listened? Would you hear the novice at your feet, seeking your wisdom? Would you hear your own heart as it beats, the sound of your breath?
Your Opportunity for Deeper Perception
When happiness and joy elude you, you are called to live more fully in to the more basic, grounded, life-affirming world around you. Instead of just sight, use your ears. That is, the opportunity is more like this:
- to perceive less with the eyes;
- to analyze less with the mind;
- to open your heart far beyond the grinding aerobics of the limited but brilliant work you perform.
In this analogy, the Master encourages you to deeper perception, deeper connection. Your doorway into happiness cannot be seen. It must be “heard.”
So, how is it that we do not always “hear” what is right before us?
Sometimes we are so focused on “seeing” one course of inquiry that we miss the obvious because we didn’t listen for it.
Your Slice of Enlightenment Awaits
There is an old proverb that says:
“Before enlightenment, chopping wood, carrying water; after enlightenment, chopping wood, carrying water.”
Perhaps you’ve seen the small, carved figure of an Asian monk with an axe, a bundle of wood on his back, and a skin of water slung over his shoulder? The smile on his face and the tears in his eyes are meant to illustrate the enlightened paradox of sadness and joy.
To meld this proverb with Master Po’s lesson to Caine, we might say:
What you see as sadness, young Grasshopper, can be heard as joy.
Please don’t overthink this! It’s just an invitation. The dissatisfaction you feel means you are ready for the enlightenment that opens you to the music of joy.
It’s Easier Than You Think
Enlightenment is often intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. All we really want is to walk through the door to joy, right? We don’t have to be rocket scientists to go there. But, like Caine, we do need to be willing to allow ourselves to hear what we have previously only seen.
Hold on to the analogy, ...
- Is it More Important To Be Right Or To Be Human? Tuesday April 30th, 2019
Individualism has reached a breaking point. Convinced of their own right-ness, individuals have destroyed sacred buildings, attacked and killed religious celebrants, shunned homeless people, hidden unfavorable aspects of their own lives behind assumed power and privilege, and, in some cases, bragged about all of it with impunity. Why? Because they feel it is more important to be right than to be human.
We can see the results of this kind of thought and action in troubled sovereign nations such as North Korea and Venezuela. Other recent examples from the last 100 years include Iran, Iraq, and the Balkans. Germany and Japan have reversed their pre-World War II destructive tendencies. Being right in those cases and others have had a high cost in human life as citizens and soldiers pay with their lives for short-sighted individualism. America and “the West” are not immune from this needless loss of life just to be on the “right” side of history.
Collective individualism – many people who share the same opinion – often guides responses to natural disasters and wars against rogue states. It’s easier – more “right” in some ways – to join together, put some of our individual preferences on hold, and step up when a righteous war or fire, tornado, mega-quake, volcano, or tsunami creates suffering. How about climate change? Will that natural disaster be resolved only when the majority of voters decide that their individual aspirations are so compromised that they must work together instead of in competition? Will individuals put what’s “right” for themselves aside in service to a greater humanitarian good?
The downside of collective individualism
Policies based on the majority opinion often go awry. Consider Brexit. Or the Trump administration. Or the War on Terror. Unintended consequences aren’t often apparent to voters. It’s for this reason that representative democracies – whether capitalist or socialist – function better than dictatorships or government by popular opinion.
When civics were taught in my grammar-school days, we were instructed to vote our personal choice: what is best for me. While that’s a respectable way to make choices, it ignores the possibility that what’s best for me – what’s “right” for me – may be wrong for someone else. Instead of voting my individual preferences, these days I tend to vote on what I think is best for others, too. This is why, as a Libertarian in America, it makes sense to support policies that help more people move in the direction of social responsibility, which is often at odds with collective individualism.
Society – perhaps worldwide – is discovering the downsides of collective individualism. How does it feel, for example, to be a Palestinian or Israeli living in the shadow of terrorism? Is either nation more “right” than the other? Citizens of both are, first of all, human beings, and their governments’ disagreements, though ancient, don’t serve the larger world in any way.
Symptoms of collective individualism appear as racism, homophobia, misogyny, nationalism, sexism, and religious fundamentalism. The ghosts of Nazism still haunt us. Many nations offer civil ...
- The Two-Minute Treatment: Meetings Saturday March 02nd, 2019
The March monthly meeting of the San Diego Veterans Coalition was effective. Several Partners told me they left more energized than when they arrived. For collaboratives, which are often fraught with competition and anxiety over funding, politics, and limited resources of all kinds, that’s a big win for this Coalition.
How did it happen?
Did money magically fall from the sky? Did representatives from each sector of Veterans Services suddenly get invigorated to work more closely together? Did a high-ranking government representative praise the Coalition’s efforts on national media?
None of the above.
In fact, the meeting was just like all the other meetings except for one important difference: music.
How it went down
Coalition meetings normally start with a flag salute, and this meeting had an additional feature: a powerful rendition of The Star Spangled Banner. The gentleman Veteran who led the singing had such a resonant voice that very few could resist joining him in song. It reminded me of watching the commissioning ceremony Marine Corps Officers, where the great hall of the National Museum of the Marine Corps resounds with The Marines Hymn.
But there was more.
After the opening formalities, a solo trumpeter played the songs for each of the five branches of United States military service: Army, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, and Air Force. Veterans of each service were asked to stand during their branch’s song.*
Following the music, the meeting proceeded as it normally does.
It wasn’t until the meeting ended that people began observing the difference in energy that took place. It was tangible and positive. People were standing taller, looking happier and less stressed, moving into the networking section of the meeting more invigorated. The bonus? Let me spell it out for you: positive intervention with distress, depression, and anxiety. Who couldn’t use that?
All it took was the intelligent application of music. No explanation needed.
How can you do this too?
If your meetings lack the kind of energy you want your team to have, take encouragement from this. It’s just not that hard to add music where it matters most. Yes: it’s easier in a purpose-driven collaborative with national/patriotic roots, but if your team has a strong purpose too, why aren’t you taking it to the next level?
There was a time when employees of corporations like Ford and IBM regularly sang their company songs, just like university fight songs. Think about it: why did that work? Could music work for your team today?
Want to know more? Bounce ideas around? Drop me an email or give me a call. Wander through my YouTube channel for additional ideas.
You could spend a lot of time learning the science behind why this works. My contribution to the general knowledge is a course that teaches these things, but you already know what to do, if you’ll just allow yourself to think outside the meeting-room box.
In music –
* I’ve had family members serve in every branch except the Navy, and as a ...
- How Could Music Care Help Methodist Church Face LGBT Choice? Thursday February 21st, 2019
(Published just prior to General Conference weekend)
Jess Glynne has a hit song with a timely message for the United Methodist Church delegates at this weekend’s conference: Hold My Hand. This music could help the Methodist church face a significant historical moment as it decides how will it treat its LGBTQI+ believers who are called to be its pastors.
Here’s how that works. And not just for Methodists…for you.
Music Care for Your Mind
Mentally, the lyrics of Hold My Hand invite at least two levels of understanding. First, the words cry out for resilience after a breakup. But deeper than that, don’t they also ask for reconnection to what matters most: human being? The tension between what was lost and what comes next is the mental paradox grounding the whole song. And because the paradox cannot resolve one way or the other, it can only be – must be – embraced by innovation. This is the great Christian mandorla in real life.
Music Care for Your Body
Hold My Hand is a song that won’t let you sit still. You just gotta move. It does this with perfect rhythm at exactly the right beats per minute (around 120bpm). Instant aerobic entrainment – for most of us – toward energetic motion. This breakup song isn’t about moping around in depression; it’s driving ahead, fully forward-focused. Powerfully realistic.
Music Care for Your Heart
Powerful music is music that aligns completely with our emotions. Hold My Hand owns us, mind and body, but that’s not enough. You can find the same magic in the music. Most of the melodic lines rise…dramatically. Except for a very short, quiet bridge, the music is literally uplifting. All those rising melodies just pull our emotions upward with them. Physiologically, we can’t help it: we were made this way.
If we are emotionally grounded, we can rise higher. Solid foundation means taller, stronger building. That foundation is right there in the music, 120 times each minute, unmistakable: kick drum. Reaching out to help your heart beat, and you want that because these emotions are intense and they feel, strangely, really good.
Music Care for Your Soul
All that energy – mental, physical, emotional – is there for a reason: human connection. Hold My Hand isn’t about going solo; it’s about the longing for a togetherness that only can come spiritually, at the level of the soul. Being close, cared for, safe, trustworthy, “all in,” – those are spiritual attributes of human connectedness. They feed us at the level of the soul – or, to use scientific terminology, as pleasantly-necessary increases in neurotransmitters and hormones related to heightened positive physical, mental, and emotional states.
Hold My Hand invites us to be all in: mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s a song for you: will you take the singer’s hand? You don’t have to walk alone. Now you know why ...