Let´s sing! (and dance)

A quote that made a huge impact on me when I discovered it years ago (thanks Gleb!) was this:

No music, no life.

Quite radical... And probably quite true.

Because, who doesn't like music? OK, we may not all have the same musical preferences, but we don't necessarily have to, and it's thanks to those differences that there's such a variety of styles. But we can't deny that music has the power to connect us, to make us vibrate, to move us. It's a universal language. And if we add some movement on top of it, even better.

I don't know how to play any instruments (unless you count a few tin whistle lessons back in school and a handful of tunes I used to play on my Casio PT-1 keyboard), but what I do like a lot is singing. At work we are lucky enough to have a choir, and this month we've started singing together again in person, so exciting! 🙂

On the first day of in-person rehearsal, after two years of singing on mute on Zoom and not being able to hear each other, we were pleasantly surprised by the fact that we didn't sound that bad. And on day two, the surprise was that we had to learn a simple choreography for our song... So there you go, double challenge for the brain: singing without looking at the lyrics, and doing the dance steps at the same time! It would have been great to have a bit more space (we were rather crammed while rehearsing) and a big mirror like in a ballet classroom, but all in all, I'd say we managed quite well.

It felt great to get to connect and enjoy the music together again, singing and moving along. We're not anywhere close to being able to perform, but that's not the point (though hopefully it will come in due course). The reward we all take away from each rehearsal is a huge boost of energy and good vibes, plus starting off the afternoon at work much more relaxed and with a big smile.

So here's an experiment for you to try, if you'd like. Next time you feel down, stuck in a problem, or in any way short of energy, just play some music, start some movement, and see what happens 🙂

Violinists in the subway

Life is full of little details, of those details that go unnoticed when we´re lost in our own thoughts, which is most of the time. More often than not, our auto-pilot is turned on, and we´re worrying about the future or ruminating about the past, thus missing the present.

And of course, ignoring as we are all those details that make each day unique and special, it´s no wonder that we feel like we´re living in groundhog day!

But if we get to slow down a little, and focus on being alert and present as the mindfulness practice teaches us, then we start noticing surprising things, amazing things, wherever we are. Because there´s beauty everywhere, as long as we know how to see it.

I recently heard a really cool story related to this (thanks Paz!), an experiment that was carried out a few years ago in the United States. A superfamous violinist, one of the best in the world, set himself up as a busker in a subway station in Washington D.C., playing with his Stradivarius violin during rush hour. He played for almost forty-five minutes, and during that time, only seven people stopped to listen to his music, and only one of them recognized him. All the rest walked by, carrying on with their daily stress and worries… Is that really the way we want to live? Always passing by, only to complain afterwards about how we´re stuck in a rut?

The good news is that we can break that cycle. Each morning when we wake up, we have a choice between turning on the auto-pilot and living one more groundhog day, or shifting our perspective, and letting ourselves be surprised by the “subway violinists”: a spectacular sunset, your children´s joy when arriving home, a chat with a loved one…

Today´s “violinist” for me is realizing that this is the fiftieth post in this blog 🙂 What´s yours?

Conscious songs: Imagine

This morning I heard on the radio that today would be John Lennon´s birthday, he would be 81 years old today. Let´s remember him with this song, which I find both beautiful and profound: Imagine.

And please, even if we have listened to it a thousand times, even if we think we know it by heart, today let´s give ourselves the luxury of really paying attention to the lyrics, immersing ourselves in their meaning, and closing our eyes to imagine how it would feel to live in such a world...

And then, if you feel like going a step further, I propose that you consider which sentence is the one that impacts you most, that confronts you most, and reflect on it a little, because in order to achieve that world that we imagine, everything starts within each one of us :-)

And I leave you with this quote, attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, that´s also very relevant to this topic:

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

Conscious songs: The colour of hope

Continuing with the conscious songs theme, let me tell you about another song that cheers me up and motivates me every time I listen to it, this time in Spanish.

It's Color esperanza (The colour of hope), by Diego Torres, and it's dedicated to those of you who are facing a challenge right now, whether it's something that you chose yourselves, or something that came to you for whatever reason (and there's always a reason, although we don't always see it right at that moment).

UPDATE: The video I embedded when I wrote this post is no longer available on Youtube, so I´m adding here two different videos with the written lyrics, one in Spanish and one in English. Some of the sentences I would have translated differently, but hey... Leaving perfectionism aside, I hope at least the gist of it is understandable 🙂

In Spanish:

In English:

Conscious songs: Unwritten

When you´re listening to music, do you pay attention to what the lyrics are saying? I do it sometimes, and to be honest, I find all kinds of things in there...

Every once in a while I´m going to share with your the lyrics of a song I particularly like. Let´s start with Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield, I hope you like it:

Original lyrics in English:

Spanish translation of the lyrics: