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Music Care Blog

  • The Two-Minute Treatment: Emotional Intelligence Sunday October 13th, 2019

    The Two-Minute Treatment series is for people who are too busy and need help now. As with all treatments, if you need to, please take time to research and evaluate before just jumping in. Otherwise, if you don’t need lots of footnotes and “science,” just go for it.


    Is it emotionally intelligent to stuff your emotions? If you’re using music to change your mood you’re missing the point. By the end of this short article, you will understand the actual superpower you’ve missed and how to access it.


    In The Mood?

    Let’s face it, we all get into moods we don’t like sometimes. And what do we do? We try to change them ASAP. That’s the natural human tendency, right?


    Not really.


    There’s a reason we’re in the mood, whatever it is: swing, blues, anxiety pop, poolside, or lounge. Brain science connects us to emotion in powerful ways that have kept us alive for millennia. But in the last few thousand years, we’ve somehow learned to short-circuit the emotions and moods we don’t like. We stuff them.


    Fortunately, psychology has come along to help us understand that stuffing big emotions isn’t healthy.


    So, let’s ask the question a little differently: is it a natural human tendency to stuff, suppress, or suppress big emotions?


    Answering “yes” may be why so many of us are un-doing emotional and psychological damage, and so many others are anger-vomiting as unresolved big emotion begins to leak out in the form of political, economic, racial, gender, and/or environmental issues,  or as non-clinical depression, distress, or anxiety (DDA).


    We know where “yes” has taken us. What if there was a real “no” option – one that suggests it’s not natural to stuff big emotions?


    Un-Stuff Your Emotions

    As useful as it is to have a practice that allows big emotions, if that practice can also release the unwanted energy of a lifetime of emotional stuffing, that would be better. Best? A practice that functions in those two ways plus offers more than remediation or intervention, such as a gateway to authentic human connection, or a bridge to spiritual insight. What practices do that?


    Lots of practices around big emotions. Which of them allow you to experience a big emotion fully, safely, and with the intentional release of unwanted energy, while retaining the positive energy in that emotion?


    Can you think of any popular practices that transform the “negative,” triggered emotional affect while leaving the positive power of the emotion available for you?


    Which of the popular big-emotion practices offer a gateway or a bridge from empathy and esteem to higher cognition, engagement with the healing power of aesthetics, self-actualization, or transcendence?


    Seriously. Let’s evaluate the answers honestly.


    It’s said that yoga prepares the body for meditation. Together, in that sense, yoga and meditation seem very holistic. It’s not clear, however, whether these practices also facilitate authentic, durable, sustainable human connection, but yogis are known for being enlightened human beings and often lead acolytes in humanitarian best practices.


    Can you think of other best practices that operate physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, plus offer benefits ...

  • What Are Silver Bullet Playlists and How They Work for Good Thursday October 10th, 2019

    You soundtrack your life. Maybe you’re making music regularly. You get the emotional connection between the music you love and the life you live. Maybe you even use music to intervene with moods you don’t want. But something’s missing. That something could be a silver bullet playlist.


    What’s a Silver Bullet Playlist?

    We’ve all got playlists. Sometimes they are hundreds of songs long. I know there are songs in some of my playlists that I haven’t heard in forever, thanks to the non-randomness of most music players “shuffle” feature, that plays some songs more than once while never playing the songs I haven’t heard in a while. Blurg.


    Silver bullet playlists are short: 4 songs tops, less than 20 minutes max.


    The songs you put on your silver bullet playlists are meant to be heard in order, like a short concert.


    Most importantly, silver bullet playlist songs are connected by the primary emotional content they all share.


    How Silver Bullet Playlists Work With Your Emotions

    A silver bullet playlist functions as a satisfying, complete experience of an emotion. Trust yourself: you want that. Why?


    • Instead of stuffing, suppressing, or repressing what we call “negative” emotions, a silver bullet playlist uses your built-in musical superpower to release the negative energy from the emotions you don’t want, returning you to a neutral emotional place where you can choose how to feel next.


    • Instead of reacting when triggered, using a silver bullet playlist that matches specific music you love with the triggered emotions gives you a recovery edge, like a shield that lets you feel fully without experiencing damage yourself, or breaking things and/or hurting people in the process. Who doesn’t want that?


    Those are just a couple of examples of the emotional intervention power of a silver bullet playlist. No emotional intelligence needed; the silver bullet playlist facilitates your built-in ability to release negative emotional energy and find relief.


    Let’s take a peek at how a silver bullet playlist can enhance your physical and mental superpowers.



    How Silver Bullet Playlists Work With Your Physical Superpowers

    One of your built-in superpowers is that you respond to sound and rhythm. Remember how it felt the last time you heard a jackhammer? Or waves crashing on the shore? Or your favorite love song? Your system responds to those audible cues in specific ways, and you can use that knowledge to amp up your performance physically as well as emotionally.


    Through a process called entrainment, our human systems come into alignment with sound and rhythm. This happens naturally. Doctors have used music to help Parkinson’s patients walk with ease – the music simply activates the superpower we all have to connect our feet to the beat, which is very useful for Parkinson’s patients, or anyone learning to walk.


    Athletes are living, breathing examples of entrainment as well. It’s a commonly accepted and research-backed fact that the right music can extend physical stamina, which is very useful for marathon runners. Your workout playlist probably gives you this insight every time you use it.


    So how would a silver bullet playlist change your physical ...

  • The Music Care Inc Value Proposition Wednesday September 11th, 2019

    The Music Care Value Proposition

    Music Care works alongside people and organizations that feel meaningless, lost, or unfulfilled and live in chronic shadow – the “dark night of the soul” –


    to reinvigorate authentic, durable belonging, such that

    resilience morphs into purpose-driven satisfaction

    empathetic leadership breaks through to inspired meaning

    and your deficiency becomes your growth.


    Results? Yes!

    Through this evidence-based, holistic self-care work, you can learn to

    use the energy in life’s stressors for good

    grow through your deficiencies

    achieve purposeful satisfaction

    clarify and strengthen your authentic belonging

    and lead with inspired meaning.



    Need to know more? Contact us!

  • 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?”


    Caine: “No.”


    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 ...

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