Thoughtful Thursday: Things Happen the Way They are Supposed To

The first week of our Extended School Year (ESY) is three-fourths of the way finished. We are going into the last work day of the week, and it has been quite the week. There have been lots of new things thrown at me at the last minute, lots of gaps in communication revealed and (hopefully) fixed, and then getting back into the routine of music therapy groups. The heat and humidity is building, and my body is indicating that it really doesn't like either of those two things! I am getting back into the routine of music therapy and being a supervisor again. 

I am exhausted.

One of the things that I am prone to is summer Seasonal Affective Disorder. I tend to become a bit more likely to be depressed during the hot summer months than the cold, dark, winter months. Because of this, I am being as proactive as possible to combat some of my usual tendencies.

This started way back when I was just a little kid. My mom asked me if I wanted to take a walk (I was probably between 18 months and 2 years old). I looked outside, and said, "Nope. Sun's out." I react strongly to humidity, including an increase in breathing difficulty, so being outside for long periods of time is not the best thing for my physical health. Now that I am older, the breathing is accompanied by arthritis pain in my leg joints, so I hobble around after a full day of dancing and working with clients.

Even though I am exhausted and watching carefully for heat and humidity related states of mind, I am also excited and experiencing a rush of creativity.

As you know, I spend time making session strategies for my sessions. I see eight of my twelve groups twice per week, so I have to make up two strategies for those groups during the week. I started yesterday without a complete strategy but with a vague idea. I sat down with my guitar in the quiet of the music therapy room (my intern was in training), and I started to sing. I had a song title written down. That's it. 

It took me some time before I came up with a chord progression that matched how I felt. It took a bit longer to come up with a full set of lyrics. I took the song title that I had written much earlier and just improvised. (All of this was without clients, by the way, but I do this, at times, with clients. Sometimes they help, sometimes it is all me doing the musicking.) After a while, I had all the parts of the song fleshed out and notated on one of my index cards (I LOVE my index cards!!). I was practicing the song (with 5 minutes left before the first group was supposed to arrive for a session) when another song leapt into my head! I dove for the index cards and my pencil and wrote it down immediately! It was completely unrelated to the strategy I was working with, but it arrived, fully formed, in my brain.

I now have two original songs for use in music therapy. I have them notated in solfege and chord symbols (I'm waiting to do the rhythm part - see this post if you want more information about that whole thing...). 

I used the second song several times yesterday. I didn't use the first song at all. That's what I felt was right for my session attendees - the second song. That second song is an emotion exploration song - something I need as my preferred emotion song is currently tied to significant grief responses for me. We used the emotion PECS to select emotions, and then I acted those emotions out for the group. Some of my clients acted with me - others just reacted. I will be using the cards and the song again today with the rest of the clients.

Just like that, my strategy changed - five minutes before the start of my sessions.

This happens to me often. I will put together a strategy and then find that it is not working the way I thought it would. So, I change it up. Sometimes I can continue with a theme, sometimes I cannot. I try to do what I think is best for my clients, and there are times when my strategy is not what I think is best.

I'll keep my index cards near me today as I go into the last five group sessions of the week. I never know when a song might pop into my head, and I have to capture them on paper or they dissolve into the ether, never to be experienced again. Songs will happen when they happen, and I'll use them when I need them.

Off to the last work day of the week - aching bones and clogged lungs and all.

Happy Thursday!

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