Posted by: Marie | August 11, 2012

(687) The value of me – Part 2 of 3

Post #687
[Private journal entry written on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 10:00pm – continued from previous post]

I told them about how I have started composing music. They asked if I had any recordings with me – of course, I did! I offered to play my compositions for them and they eagerly expressed their great interest in hearing them.

So, I set up my laptop and my two computer speakers on the floor in front of the couch in the living room area – I brought the speakers with me from my house because I was hoping I could share my music with them – and I played my pieces for them.

On the Hike by Martin Chen

A minute or so into the first piece, as I was still fiddling with the volume and mixer levels, I started telling them about what inspired me to write the piece. I looked up from the computer as I started talking, but then I noticed that they both had been listening with their eyes closed . . . my talking had interrupted their intense listening and had caused them to open their eyes.

I quickly had an “eureka moment” and stopped talking. . . I realized that I assumed they would be bored with listening after a minute or two, so I figured I should help pass the time by supplementing the music with a verbal dialogue. I was so sure I was asking for “too much” when I asked them to listen to my music . . . I was so sure I needed to ease the burden I was placing on them.

So, as soon as I realized that they were actually ENJOYING listening to my music and that they WANTED to listen to it and that I didn’t need to help make their boredom more tolerable by narrating the music as it plays . . . that’s when I shut up and allowed them to enjoy the music with their eyes closed.

The experience of seeing someone create the space and time to give all their senses over to the experience of hearing my music was shocking to me. I’ve never seen that before. My audiences have always been in a hurry to get through that experience and move onto something that really interests them.

Wow . . . how neat to have someone value my creation that much.

Once I became aware there was enough time and space for me to tell the story behind each piece BEFORE I played it, that’s what I did. I told them what had inspired its composing. I described the technology I used to create it (digital keyboard, composing software, etc.) They asked a million questions and listened to my answers carefully . . . and then they listened with all their senses as I played the piece for them.

After they heard each piece, they took the time to reflect back to me. They reflected back to me what emotions the music stirred up inside of them . . . they demonstrated how much they valued my music . . . how much they appreciate that I was sharing it with them . . . how much they appreciate that gift.

Wow . . . talk about feeling seen and heard . . . with my own siblings, especially with my brother, I have to fight to get them to halfway listen to even a minute of my music. But my cousins listened – enthusiastically listened – for a good half-hour. It left me floating on a cloud . . .

So . . . after a while, one of their kids called. Nell stayed with me while Caleb talked on the phone. As soon as the phone call ended, another of their kids called and Caleb talked to that daughter, as well.

During the time Caleb was on the phone, I asked Nell about their story . . . how they met, how they decided to live in this part of the world, how they designed and improved the house over the decades . . .

Nell filled me in on the details . . . and she also shared some details about her own childhood. It turns out that she had significant trauma in her childhood. She said that, as a result of that trauma, she felt dirty and used and unlovable . . . and that she totally understood how I could feel that way, even now.

She kind of minimized how bad that trauma had been for her by comparing it to mine. But, in my mind, her trauma was as “bad” as mine – not that it matters, though. I told her that it is impossible to compare traumas because each of us experiences our own trauma as “really, really bad.”

And, if two people go through the exact same trauma, one will experience more devastation than the other because of a variety of factors . . . and one will recover faster than the other for the same reason . . . and one may appear “okay” on the surface while being totally destroyed inside and the other may openly display his or her injuries. So, we can’t really compare traumas . . . nor does it benefit us to do so . . . rather, we can extrapolate what we know about our pain to better understand and empathize another person’s pain.

I assured her that, because of her own trauma, I am quite certain she understands what I’m going through.

When I asked her how she had “healed” and/or processed her trauma, she said she has never gotten therapy, but that she had processed it in her own way just within the last several years . . . and she is in her 50’s now. That’s a lot of years to have to carry that injury and pain. But, it seems she is in a good place with it now.

[Continued in the next post . . . ]

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