Enjoying a Good Laugh (Today’s Simple Pleasure)

I’ve had several times in the past few weeks where it’s felt like there is little at which I can smile or laugh. Today, on one of my social media feeds, this new song by Randy Rainbow (his real name) popped up and it has made me belly laugh as I watch it on repeat. It is over-the-top in faux patriotism and self-indulgence and I love it. What’s made you laugh today?

Listening to Jazz (Today’s Simple Pleasure)

I am working so much more than I normally would right now and needed background noise that wasn’t distracting or too relaxing. I found a jazz station that fit the bill perfectly. Listening to it helped keep my focus and energy at a level where I was calm as well as engaged. I was very productive! It also made me think of happier times at coffee shops and jazz festivals. What’s help you stay motivated today?

Creature Comforts (Daily Works of Art)

Today’s card draw invited me to make art that would represent home. In contemplating this task, I was drawn to the idea of creating an atmosphere more than a visual representation. For me, the concept of home (not my childhood home but my ideal one) captures feelings of safety, ease and connection.

In attending to my senses, my sense of smell, touch and hearing were the ones that rose to the foreground (along with images of candles burning). Bread or cookies baking are cozy smells, but my physical health won’t benefit from having them circulating on a regular basis. I decided to purchase an oil warmer to gently fill my living space with calming and soothing scents. In regards to touch, I am contemplating textures such as a soft robe that I can add to my environment. In terms of sound, I want to find a cheap way to play relaxing music at all times (rather than having to use the same speaker I use for any media as I don’t own a television).

In sum, the concepts of ideal home and spa are apparently the same thing to me! I like the idea of thinking of art not simply as a visual experience, but also as something that incorporates all of my senses. I’ve been to a few parties lately and cannot believe how much my mood and comfort level shifts when the music starts blasting versus when there is only the hum of conversation. The atmosphere sets the scene and I often attribute my reactions solely to interpersonal dynamics I’m experiencing, instead of attending to how much the place and surroundings affect me. Hopefully, in noticing to the setting and viewing it as a way to represent a concept I crave deeply–home–I can then set the stage for fuller presence. What sensory experiences represent home (in terms of what you’ve like it to be) to you? What does home look like, smell like, feel like, taste like and/or sound like? What is one action you could take today to create it?

A Little Song and Dance (Today’s Simple Pleasure)

I’m not feeling well today (again!), so I decided to play soft music and move my body gently to the rhythm. I’ve found a lot of comfort in recent months with having meditation music playing in the background, especially when I am engaged in creative activity. My dog instantly settles himself as well!

I incorporated physical movement into my relaxation today and found that my physical pain diminished as a result. Simply focusing on my body itself instead of getting lost in the stressors in my mind has a healing effect. I notice my muscle tension often lessens as well. How have you connected with your body today? Which music, if any, appeals to you when you are stressed or feeling ill?

Today’s Simple Pleasure: Listening to Music

I’m decidedly not a music lover, a stance which is mostly likely the result of my auditory processing difficulties. Indoor live concerts are sensory hellscapes of personal endurance after which my ears feel like they are bleeding. Necessarily, my enjoyment of music is found in small doses in specific settings.

My favorite type of song is one that plays well on the open road or in an outdoor setting surrounded by woods and parks. Exploring country roads while blasting alternative rock was a mainstay of my coping methods as a teenager. It fascinates me to revisit songs such as Jimmy Eat World’s The Middle, which felt so full of encouragement to me when I was young but appear now so limited in worldview when I listen as an adult. To me, another of my younger-self’s favorites, Black Lab’s music, seems to have held up better and still makes for a great driving soundtrack.

In regards to music which evokes pagan and deep nature themes, Faun is both haunting and merry, depending on the specific song selection. In my experience, nothing replaces live music with this type of energy. The best band I saw in person (many years ago) was Baka Beyond. I dance poorly and without coordination; listening to them was the first time in my life I felt comfortable moving my body in rhythm in the presence of other people as all of us were celebrating together.

I feel jealous at times when I observe others “getting” music on a level or in a way I can tell I don’t have access. I’m joyful, though, for the experiences I have had where I feel connected to others through the sounds and movements music engenders. What is your relationship with music? What songs or bands are speaking to you lately?