This past week I had the opportunity to attend the concert of a singer I really appreciate. Working a traditional schedule makes being out late on work nights a challenge because of the consistent early mornings. However, it was something that I really wanted to do and none of his subsequent tour dates coincided with my travels. So I went and had a good time. I had listened to this particular artist for most of my life and it was great to be at a concert where I knew all the songs. While I sat up in the rafters (literally) I could see everything and had a great view of the stage. It always amazes me how easy it is to have specific memories whether good or bad to be associated with a song. Whenever you hear a certain song you can be transported to years prior and remember all the emotions connected to a specific memory. When I worked in a nursing home I remember how much music time meant to the residents because it brought back memories of their younger years. It wasn’t uncommon to see a few tears shed as they reminisced about the “good old days.” One of the reasons why I think music therapy can be so effective for people is that it really is a universal language that conveys the human experience in a way that everyone can relate to.
Lately I’ve tried to make it a priority to be more social and have new experiences. So far this endeavor has been fairly successful. I’m someone who is pretty introverted at times. And while I wouldnt go as far to say that I’m anti social, I do enjoy being around people I know instead of making small talk with perfect strangers. There are a few situations that I’ve been in where I meet people and they are instantly my friends. These are rare occasions. Needless to say, I dread new social situations. And the word “dread” is a nice understatement. While I’m mature enough to recognize them as opportunities to grow, one hundred percent of the time I’d rather not be bothered. However, it is necessary to push beyond my feeling and just jump in feet first. I know many other people who feel the same way. Some push themselves and others just retreat further into their shell and never venture out. While I would much rather talk to a stadium of thousands than make small talk with a neighbor, I recognize the importance of making these connections. So the goal of new experiences and social situations remains but at least I’m making some kind of progress. At the end of the day, that’s what matters.
Like millions of people everywhere, I own a car. I know people who have names for their main mode of transportation. They baby their cars and have them washed and detailed on a weekly basis. I’m not one of those people. Ever since I can remember, I’ve hated car washes. I can remember my parents singing to me to keep me from crying when I was little. While I don’t cry hysterically as my car is being doused in soap in water, I do sing at the top of my lungs to distract myself from the fact that I am trapped in a moving vehicle in less than ideal conditions. And just in case you’re wondering, this post does not end with some profound thoughts or wisdom related to car washes and daily life. No, I have not figured out why I don’t like car washes. It’s probably attached to some bad experience hidden in my subconscious. I endure them when I must and consequently my car is currently in need of a good washing. Basically my point in saying all that is to say this: being comfortable and being safe are two different things. As a therapist, I’m pushing people out of their comfort zones and challenging them to change their behaviors and thought patterns. That’s uncomfortable. But simultaneously, I’m also creating a safe space for them to be themselves and to not be judged for their weaknesses while they are figuring out the next step. That’s safety. While I am extremely uncomfortable being trapped in a car with water and soap splashing everywhere, I’m still (relatively) safe. Plus, the end product is a cleaner looking car. Similar to the way that being emotionally vulnerable ( a.k.a. uncomfortable) can have good results.