A respectful job. A lucrative income. A supportive partner. A loving family. A network of close friends. A comfortable house. A new car, nice clothes, overseas holidays, a Netflix account, superfood smoothies, an instagrammable exercise routine, and chocolate. That’s a happy life right? I am privileged enough to have experienced almost all of these things (no new cars here!), yet there was one thing I had abandoned when I felt at my most disconnected and unfulfilled, and that was my creative self expression.
I have known that this blog post would come for 4 months. Originally it was titled “Why music makes me an elevated version of myself”, but I couldn’t work out why anyone would care about my relationship to music. Until I realised that this is not about me. It is about the feeling of self-expression which is oh-so much bigger, and exists for everyone in some form.
Some of my most euphoric, ethereal, heart-bursting moments have been to music. I do not practice a religion but the feeling music gives me is what I imagine a religious experience to be like. And when I allow this muse to be present with me, is when I feel happiest and most inspired.
My muse has been calling me all year. My creativity has been returning like muscle memory reactivated. My writing. Fire dancing. Love for art. Philosophical discussions about film theory. But I didn’t know why. So it got louder and louder, clearer and clearer, until the penny dropped. I am not here to create artists, or guide professional musicians to their sell out stadium show. I am here to ignite the spark of creativity in the everyday, even for “non-creatives” (hint: you don’t exist). To guide my clients into a happy life. And to me, a creative life, is a playful life, is a happy life.
Many deem a musical passion without being a musician yourself (which I am not!), as mere obsession. But I argue the only obsession is the FEELING that music can give us. For me it is not obsession, it is life force. The feeling of being heard, understood, articulated, uplifted, and moved. For you this might be painting, film, dance, pottery, writing, fashion, poetry, makeup, yoga, drawing, photography, flower arrangement, interior design, cooking, knitting, the way your dress, or even simply creative thinking and curiosity … the list really is endless because our creative self expression is endless. But one thing I know is that we all have it.
My favourite music makes my heart feel like it will burst out of my chest. A certain beat, lyric, or key change simultaneously sets fire to my insides and chills my outsides. It makes me feel volatile and combustible. It is one of the only things that makes my blood and adrenaline course faster that the the thoughts in my mind. And that my friends is my definition of feeling ALIVE. When our body feels so electrically charged it can overtake our minds. We break the bounds of our physical being.
Meditation guide Sarah Blondin poetically captures this;
“And let the music fill your bones and dissolve your barriers,
and let it lift the veil between worlds,
and let it soften you,
and in this moment allow yourself to feel,
you are safe to let all your emotions be felt.”
I have recently been introduced to chanting and am researching the power of sound and vibrational energy. Vibrations travel via water and air, and the human body is 65% water so no wonder it can move us to our core, it literally is! It all makes sense to me why music moves me so intensely. I feel elevated when chanting in a room with others, and there is a specific moment after a few repetitions where my voice changes and it no longer sounds like my own. This may sound crazy to you, but fuck it, I am owning my creativity identity and all the quirkiness that brings with it!!!
To let one of my most potent and powerful creatives have the last word, Brian Molko of Placebo explains this feeling from the other side, that of the musician on stage.
“There are magical moments that take place when an audience is making as much effort to connect with the band, as the band is making to connect with the audience, and there is an exchange of energy, where the people in the crowd and the people on the stage kind of meet in the middle. There is a certain kind of synergy which is created, a sense of collective euphoria. When that occurs, as a musician you find yourself behaving in a completely non intellectual way, you’re completely in the moment, you’re not thinking about what you’re playing anymore, things become very very automatic. The only way I can kind of describe it is that it feels like a moment of transcendence, it’s almost like it’s a bit of an out of body experience and you experience a rush of adrenaline which is as intense as the rush one could experience from the consumption of a controlled substance.”
What is your most powerful form of creative self expression?