Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Head and the Heart

There's a band called The Head and The Heart and they're currently on tour with Iron & Wine. I haven't listened to them much, but I like what I hear. And what's more, I like their name and it has set me to thinking.

I've had a pocketful of intensity in my life lately, and as a strategy for navigating through it, I have been playing a lot of guitar. New songs, old songs, spontaneous songs, it doesn't matter. I have become increasingly aware of how much energy moves through my being when I play the guitar, and it feels good. After one particularly visceral guitar session recently, I had to stop, put the guitar down, and move about the room while my body shook out the residual energy. Almost like Peter Levine talks about regarding our body's inherent healing mechanism that kicks in as a response to trauma.

The head and the heart. We are told they are connected, yet the times I actually feel this truth are far too seldom. But lately, I have become aware of something. As I'm playing guitar, my head swims with various thoughts. Some of the thoughts are about the music itself: the chord changes, the strumming, the picking, the tempo, and more chord changes. Sometimes I am able to simply observe this, and other times I judge what's happening. "That wasn't a clean chord," or "There's nothing original here," or "So and so is better." I have noticed something interesting with this judgmental part of my head jumps into the music - I start to miss. I miss chords, I miss the tempo, I make mistakes.

Then I remember to breathe, and breathe, and feel. And the music flows through again, typically with ease, simplicity, beauty, and without the heady mistakes listed before. I am reminded of a line from one of my favorite movies, "American Beauty."

"It's hard to stay mad when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain. And I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life."

The head and the heart. The breath and the judgment. I judge and I am ejected from the flow of universal energy. I breathe, relax, and I'm back in.

My ONE SONG this week is "Rambling Man" by Laura Marling. Listen and you'll thank yourself.

1 comment:

  1. The head and the heart, the body and the mind...exquisitely, inescapably connected. Thanks for this post, Jeremy.