Music therapy, the human lifespan and beyond
Everybody conscious and here on this earth has a lifespan. All the trees, its leaves, the cells that make it, the bacteria that lives within it and the animals that live on its surface have a lifespan. Even the rocks, the sun and the moon have a lifespan. All of what we know, and all its atoms and beautiful sparkly stuff and the dark holes, which I find hard to fathom and is even harder to translate into words, lives and dies, transfers energy and dissipates into the nothingness only to become something else.
It would be cowardly and somewhat misguided if one did not appreciate and take into consideration the lifespan in which they sit.
But we humans are emotional beings. We sigh and think and dream. We write poetry about the bittersweet ironies of life and we put off thinking about the tough stuff, because, well why would we until we really have to.
In the current world and on this very day, Greta Thunberg is traveling around Europe, speaking at the European Parliament and emotionally telling the truth about climate change. Illustrating horrific pictures of the real problem at hand, whilst a lot of the audience fiddle with their phones. There are people fighting for change on the streets of major cities and children are skipping school for climate: SKOL STREJK FÖR KLIMATET. The thing about Greta is she sees beyond the lifespan of humans and is considering the lifespan of the world itself. She is not cowardly to look at the facts and to do everything in her power to make a change for her children and their children and all the living (and not so living) things on the planet.
This cartoon by Ralph Ruthe, which 15 year old Greta posted to her instagram, offers a good honest summary:
We live in very important, valuable and as Greta points out, fragile times. The balance between good and evil, light and dark, life and death is not just something that might need to be navigated one day. It is an absolute truth that is very real and present in everyone and the earth they stand on.
Focusing in slightly, and moving away from climate change and Greta's wise words, in the human lifespan, we approach developmental goals and milestones and try our best to achieve them with the skills we have. From babies having the innate will to stand up and learning skills such as rolling and balancing, alongside finding the best way to get help from their favourite adults - to learning the skills to cope emotionally, and spiritually with the eventual and inevitable end of life, whenever that time might come.
There are many times where life throws down the gauntlet, and you are left to navigate blindly through. On a personal level: losing a loved one or finding out you have an illness. On a political level: Brexit. On a global level: Climate change. All of the above are challenges we are left to navigate and we have to draw on the skills we have learned to help us thorough.
Focusing in even further. If we humans are emotional animals, and music represents the emotion in us (because we created it, and it reflects our current struggles and a place for us to reflect on our path), then surely music can help us when we are trying to navigate the developmental challenges in life. If nothing else, it can bring us together to share the feelings of being human together and make us feel as though we are not going through this alone. After all, we live such independent, isolated lives nowerdays, how else are we supposed to feel connection and support for one another with the weight of the world on our shoulders? Surely the feeling of helplessness under the pressure of corporations who are ruining this world for us in our name is enough to for us to mentally crack, let alone trying to work to pay bills to pay taxes to survive. I mean, theres only so much we humans can take!
So, whatever milestones you're trying to achieve, no matter how big or little. Remember music can be a helping hand. Meeting with friends and playing along to your favourite songs using pots and pans from the kitchen might spark the shared ideas which allow you to move forwards and make positive change, for yourself, for future generations and for the world. To embrace emotions such as happiness, loss and grief, and to learn to love who you really are through interactions and play. These experiences will build the skills you need to be a bigger, better and more shiny 'you', and it will indefinitely change the way you go about your day to day life, tomorrow and beyond.
Music therapists are trained to use music therapeutically - where words don't need to exist - and can offer assistance with whatever goals you're working towards in your life path, no matter how big (global) or small (tying shoe laces). If you want to know more, follow the links below.
And remember: We're all in this together from the start to the end and around again.
Music therapy further reading:
https://www.austmta.org.au/ Australian Music Therapy Association
https://www.bamt.org/ British Association for Music Therapy
https://www.wfmt.info/ World Federation of Music Therapy
Greta Thunberg Ted Talk: