I watched a documentary once on how the epic movie, Star Wars, was created. They broke it down from the perspectives of each engineer: Lighting, sound effects, animation and robotics, camera angles, editing, script-writing, directing, acting, costuming, and music. The most memorable to me was the music. To show how important this element was to the overall impact of the movie, they played scenes which were totally completed, except for the music. You heard the dialogue of the actors and all other sound effects but, without the music, it looked and felt like a B-grade movie to me. With the overlay of the music, the intended emotions swept over you like a powerful wind and enveloped you in the heart of the story like a blanket.
Music has the power to change the way we feel and how we perceive our world. I use music as a mechanism to create feelings of relaxation and appreciation, romance, energy, and expansive thought. I can literally lighten or darken my mood depending on the music I’m listening to. I have a playlist of songs ideal for cycling, running, or just walking in and appreciating nature. I have a playlist that always makes my toes tap the dashboard with the windows rolled down on the annual drive to the Tahoe cabin and a different one we play when we head down to cross the Mexican border. We play Celtic music on St. Patrick’s Day and Cowboy music at our outdoor BBQ’s on the Ranch. Soaking in a hot bath at night? Yep… Got one for that, too!
With almost 8,000 items in my I-Tunes, 14 genres, and dozens of playlists organized for every possible mood or event… I’m sort of known as the “music man,” or “music woman” as it were, among my friends and colleagues.
Songwriters can be some of the greatest poets of our time, in my opinion, and often I’ve found inspiration for my Monday Morning Stretches in the eloquently written words of a song on my I-Pod. So, I’ve decided to make today and the first Monday of at least the next few months, Music Monday, where I will share a song, singer, or lyric and explore the meaning and application to our lives.
The choice for me this Monday Morning was an easy one, if not a risky one: Shadow Days by John Mayer from his latest album, Born and Raised.
After a self-inflicted and admittedly embarrassing fall from grace in 2010, this is an album of reassessment, reawakening and rediscovery. Written by him after selling both homes in New York and LA and moving to a small town in Montana, eliminating drugs and alcohol from his lifestyle, and some clear soul-searching and “growing up” (his words) … I so appreciate the clarity and beauty of his writing and music on this album.
We’ve all had those moments when we know we’ve messed up, made every excuse in the book for where we find ourselves and our circumstances, pointing the finger at everyone but us. There are times when we must own up to the choices we’ve made, then let them go and move forward to stand in the light of lessons learned and the recognition of our own power to make a new life and new choices… to get back in the flow of our own grace.
The lyrics in this song are a testament to that recognition, simplification, and transformation:
“I’m a good man with a good heart
Had a tough time, got a rough start
But I finally learned to let it go.
Now I’m right here and I’m right now
And I’m open, knowing somehow
That my shadow days are over,
My shadow days are over now.”
Also notable on the album is Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967 with Chris Botti on the trumpet. A story about a man who risks everything to follow an idea and a dream. My favorite line: “When you’re done with this world, you know the next is up to you.”
Follow The Lion’s Den:
“Music cleanses the understanding; inspires it, and lifts it into a realm which it would not reach if it were left to itself.”
~ Henry Ward Beecher