Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Music is many things to many people. As a music journalist, I’m privy to a lot of CDs. Depending on what I listen to, music can energize, relax, lift my spirits, make me melancholy, help me heal. Lola Fayemi at Real World Spiritual and Personal Development tagged me for her meme about inspirational music. Since I feel music has a lot of power over moods, emotions, and spirit, I’m delighted to participate. My music passion is very diverse.

I’ve used music as my drug of choice for as long as I can remember.

Drugs or more than social drinking has never been part of my life. But I’ve always been into music—as a music lover and as a stimulant for my various moods and needs. Years ago when I was still an unhappy DoorMat I lived on Long Island, outside of NYC. At least once or twice a week I’d ride my bike the 20 miles to Jones Beach and back. My only companion during those rides was my little cassette player.

Part of my route was along the water. No matter how unhappy I was, I lapsed into joy on those rides with the help of loud rock music. Arrowsmith. Def Leppard. Scorpions. Good old rock and roll that got my heart racing, my blood flowing, my soul energized. For a few hours, it was just me on my bike as I inhaled the energy of loud guitars and driving music. It was like a vacation from DoorMatville. All my cares were left behind as the music pulsed through me. When no one was nearby, I’d sing along out loud. Those were happy times in an unhappy existence. As life got better, my repertoire of music widened.

My mood dictates what I listen to. I usually have music playing wherever I am. It gives me the adrenaline rush that folks get from drugs. Or the sedative they get from taking pills. Under normal circumstances, I’ve got a variety of current music playing. As I write this I’m listening to the Taking the Long Way album by the Dixie Chicks. My taste varies with my needs. When I’m happy, all music works for me. But when something’s going on, I reach for a CD like some people reach for alcohol or drugs. If I’m wound up and want to relax, classical music soothes me. It also works well when I’m trying to focus on writing the final draft of something important.

For times of calming me down and keeping me focused, I prefer instrumental music. Vocals distract me from concentrating. While I have many CDs that I love, the ones I play the most are by 2 musicians that I know. Robert Stallman’s wife Hannah has been to several of my music industry workshops and turned me on to his brilliant Mozart. I just LOVE his CD, Mozart-Stallman: New Quintets for Flute & Strings A CD that I love by another musician I know is David Stellmach’s Piano Solos. Jazz instrumentals also work well for me. The melodies flow through me, helping my writing and thoughts flow along in a lovely way.

Often we associate music with happier times or incidents that made a big impression.

Sometimes I hear a song or album at just the right time to feel its energy and be nourished by it. That’s the case with Live’s Throwing Copper album. I’d been a fan of Live for a while. Lead singer Ed Kowalczyk’s voice exudes a passion that rocks my soul. I went crazy when I heard Throwing Copper. I was on the move with my career and the CD revved me. It seemed like all my stars were aligned when I heard it.

I played it over and over as good things happened. I loved all the songs and my life kept getting better. It’s a wonder the CD still plays after all the times I’ve listened to it. Whenever I feel down, or things don’t seem to be going well, I play that CD a few times and my stars realign. My mood ALWAYS turns around. ALWAYS! It kicks in the Law of Attraction since I feel more positive and positives come to me! Throwing Copper is definitely my album drug of choice! Lifehouse’s No Name Face album is a close second.

The artist whose songs have probably had the most profound affect on me is Pat Benatar. I fell in love with her vocals, music and lyrics many years ago. They’re still very moving and relevant today. When I give a workshop for women, I often play Promises in the Dark. It’s a GREAT reminder for women about how they can get caught and stuck in a bad relationship. When I had to break up with someone I was crazy about, I played it over and over, singing along for strength.

Many times on my road out from DoorMatville I sang along with Pat’s, Hit Me with Your Best Shot. It always reminded me that I’m strong and capable, even in the face of adversity. As I scream (in private!) “hit me with your best shot, fire away!” I’m talking to life. It reminds me that I’m ready for and can handle anything. It became my success anthem when I needed it and I still smile and get revved when I hear it.

I wasn’t as wild about her last rock album but loved the cut, All Fired Up. I first heard it right around when I was starting to see that I could accomplish great things, on the cusp of moving into a new lifestyle and career. I was running my record label and finally feeling like I had worth. I heard All Fired Up and went crazy! I sang it over and over out loud. I’d play it in the car and scream the chorus:

“I believe there comes a time.
When everything just falls in line.
We live and learn from our mistakes.
Our deepest cuts are healed by faith.”

The lyrics and driving music really did light a fire under me. My faith was in its infancy stages then but growing steadily. I felt spiritual support and the song reinforced it. Shortly after, I was interviewed for a feature story in NY Newsday about being a rapper and starting a record label. As we chatted, I told the writer how Pat Benatar’s songs had been like a drug for me. A week later, the writer called to say that “coincidentally” she’d just interviewed Pat and told her what I said. Two weeks later the writer and I sat in the Chrysalis Records box seats at a Pat Benatar concert. Pat had invited me to come and also to be at her after-party to meet her.

That night was a turning point. It showed me
that dreams can come true and my faith in God increased because I knew it wasn’t all a coincidence.

With all of that, the winner of my all time favorite good mood making song is No Rain by Blind Melon. I wanted to see the Banff and Calgary areas in Canada, and Montana since I was 20, when a friend showed me the pics from his trip to both places. I waited for years for someone to take me there. Since I was a Doormat then, I thought I needed someone to go with and lead me. Many years later I decided to go by myself. It was my first road trip solo and I was nervous. I flew into Calgary, stayed a few days, and then drove down to Montana.

The ride from Calgary was long, flat and boring. The Rocky Mountains loomed way in the distance, too far to feel them. As I crossed the border into northern Montana, the terrain changed dramatically. There were rolling hills, lots of green and gorgeous cloud formations. Just as all of this scenery and the emotions of being there hit me, No Rain came on the radio. It has such a happy melody that I began to dance in the car with the joy of the song and the experience I felt.

I’d made it to Montana!! After all the years of dreaming, it was a reality. No more scared DoorMat! I was a happy, courageous warrior girl, meeting a challenge from years ago.

My joy was so strong that I had to pull the car over to stare at the scenery and dance. I pictured the dancing bumblebee girl in the video and danced with her in my head and on the side of the road. Fortunately I wasn’t arrested for loony behavior. EVERY time the song comes on the radio when I’m home, and it seems to still be played a lot here in NYC, I get up and do what I think of as a happy dance. And smile and smile. Every time I hear it! I think God programs it to come on often as a reminder that I can achieve anything I choose.

So you see, music is definitely a big drug for my moods and well-being. I want to thank Lola for inviting me to participate in her meme about inspirational music. A funny thing just happened. I had such a strong desire to get all fired up that I treated myself and downloaded Pat Benatar’s song onto my computer and I’m playing it over and over. It still has the affect on me that it did when I first heard it. I hope that you all pay attention to music that moves your spirit and play it as often as you can. Music sure is better than the kind of drugs you ingest!

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