We all know that life has its ups and downs, peaks and valleys, or as I like to refer to them, peaks and pre-peaks, but when you’re in that deep, dark valley it can be challenging to recognize and celebrate the fact that you’ll be heading up to one of those beautiful peaks soon enough.
The time scale between the peak and pre-peak cycle is not as consistent as the phases of the moon or the seasons of the Earth, and when you’re heading into that valley it can be difficult to ascertain how dark it’s going to get and how long your stay will be.
One way that I deal with life in those dark places is to use either music or stand-up comedy to light up those valleys.
Go to pubmed.gov and type in “music therapy” and you will find thousands of research articles using music as therapeutic interventions in palliative care, to alleviate depression and anxiety, and in treating patients with dementia. To see first hand the effects of music on dementia watch the documentary Alive Inside and you’ll have no doubt that music can produce miracles. (Watch the awakening of one patient, Henry, here. Warning: this clip may move you to tears.)
Even for the average person dealing with everyday stressors, music and sound can be healing. Have you noticed the rise in the number of “sound baths” across Los Angeles over the last few years? These events fill up pretty quickly too.
Concerts and live music can be healing too, and not just for the crowds. As a musician I can tell you it’s just as healing to play the music as it is to hear it from the audience perspective.
I’ll admit this month has not been the brightest for me, and I’m definitely in one of those pre-peak periods. Most of this week I have been feeling the heaviness of physical reality and have been shrouded in a dark funk, however one day of playing music in the Disney Resort and watching kids and their parents dancing and enjoying the music I was helping to create started to bring some light into the darkness. By the end of the day I started to notice I was smiling more and was able to see that life wasn’t as bad as I had been feeling it to be.
Although it didn’t completely take away all of the clouds in my mind, I was able to access lighter thoughts, see different perspectives, and realize that I can get through this dark period just like I got through all of the other previous dark periods in my life. I just need a little patience and perseverance to keep moving forward.
The other thing that I use to lighten my mood is stand-up comedy. I’ll either put on a Netflix comedy special or listen to a comedy playlist on Pandora or Spotify. It might take a few jokes before I get into it, but all it takes is one well-timed punchline to get me to crack a smile. Once it starts, then the dark veil is lifted and I can start to think clearly again.
Comics are modern day philosophers that get you to see things from different perspectives although instead of using an academic and intellectual approach they get you to laugh about it.
What music do you listen to when you need to change your mood? Do you have any favorite comics that you can always count on to make you laugh?
If I really need to pick me up and get my feet moving I listen to Soca (or Soul Calypso). I dare you to listen to a few Soca tunes and not dance. Actually I double-dog dare you. For stand-up comedy I like Joe Rogan and John Mulaney among others that get me to think and laugh about life.
Speaking of comedy, my friend and stand-up comic Karen Rontowski started a podcast last year and is having me on as a guest this month to talk about Numerology. The podcast is called Paranormal Karen and here is an excerpt from the description: “Veteran stand-up comic Karen Rontowski brings you along as she investigates haunted spots and paranormal phenomena all over the world. With 16 years of paranormal experience, including reiki and tarot, plus 25 years in stand up, Karen is the perfect guide to paranormal hilariousness.”
Check out her funny and informative episodes into the world of the paranormal and occult here and I’ll post a link to my episode on the Kukan Reiki Kai Facebook page as well as on the calendar on KukanReiki.com as well when it debuts.