Ahhhh – We Can Go Back to the Way It Was …

… if only for a moment.

I’m feeling a little dry – a little brittle after months of social constraints and little human contact. We’re all doing the best we can – but still. I have a proposal. I want to invite you to come with me back to the way things were for a few minutes – safely. Music is the vehicle.

Music is central to human development and connection. From lullabies to love songs to anthems and hymns. From music that makes our bodies move with power and joy – to violins that touch us so deeply we cry. We just cry. We communicate with one another – we merge with one another.

Music also reconnects us with the people we were. Playing and replaying songs from important times in our lives does not just connect us with the memories – but we feel what we felt. We aren’t just remembering what we felt – we live it again.

Oliver Sachs discovered that people who have been long lost to dementia resurface when music from their adult lives is replayed. For a few minutes they operate as they did then – humor, emotions, dancing – even flirty.

“The past which is not recoverable in any other way is embedded, as if in amber, in the music, and people can regain a sense of identity. . . ” — Oliver Sacks

So I have been repurposing this discovery. Now when I walk my neighborhood – wearing a mask – my playlist brings me back to my experiences of sharing a classical music concert with my granddaughter – back to that movie I went to with friends when we all laughed and cried together – back to the overwhelming grandeur of choral works performed in a cathedral when everyone was lifted together – back to my first experience of Broadway showstoppers. With each song, I feel what I felt then – again. Connected to awe and friends.

So, what do you think? Worth a try? Refresh those emotional connections til we can step out of our houses and celebrate together once again.

Oliver Sacks on Music, Memory and Emotion

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *