Yesterday, feeling tired, tense and distracted, I decided I needed time to “switch off”.
I found my headphones, randomly picked a piece of music that I hadn’t listened to for a while, pressed play and closed my eyes.
I was immediately transported to a time when I had been singing in a choir to this very piece of music a few years ago. I lost myself in the pleasure of being back in that moment, and found a smile forming as I remembered more details about the specific day and who I was with.
Then something else happened.
Alongside the joy, I simultaneously felt sadness for how far away and alien that time was compared to life now – a different world, out of reach and, like all past experiences, gone forever.
But it didn’t stop there.
As rapidly as the joy and the sadness had come, I had an overwhelming realisation that soon I will once again be able to experience the joy of singing and playing music with friends. I felt hope and excitement and energy and wanted to explore what this might mean for me right now.
I carried on searching my music folder and found songs that reminded me of people, places, feelings, hope, change – music that was about my life in the past, but now brought into the present and also helping me identify what I want for my future.
The tension and tiredness and distraction I had been feeling earlier already felt much more distant.
Rather than switching off, I felt like I had tuned in – acknowledging the people and experiences I was missing and craving re-connection with, so that I could set the intent to make that happen again in the future – and again and again and again.
So next time I feel the need to “switch off” I will instead focus on whatever will help me to “tune in” to who I am and what I’m feeling and what I need next.
And my starting point may well involve a mix-tape or two…