Welcome back to The Way I See It, where I share my Life Lenses with a focus on Awareness, Attitude and Intuition. In this post, I plan to share a facet of my journaling practice that you may find intriguing. If you’re interested in journaling, or more specifically, bullet journaling, then you’re welcome to continue reading. In conjunction with my bullet journal practice, I will be touching on the Awareness Aspect to it, why it’s important, and why it matters to me.
Note: I decided to make this information available in the form of Episode 5 of The Way I See It Podcast titled, Music Mind, which you can listen to below! Please note that the text in this blog post doesn’t completely match with the audio version since the audio is a bit more spontaneous. :)
First, a bit of history. I have kept a longform written journal for 30+ years. Several years back after reading the book The Bullet Journal Method, I thought I would try my hand at using a bullet journal in addition to my longform written journal.
One of the benefits to keeping a bullet journal is keeping track of things that matter to you. In addition to the rapid log (basically daily list making) that you can create with each day's entry, there are also Collections that you can keep, which is basically a page in your bullet journal where you collect information that is relevant to you in one way or another.
One of the collections that I have been keeping in my bullet journal I have titled, Music Mind. In recent years I have become aware of the occurrence of music arising in my mind on a regular basis. I’m not referring to the situations where you hear a song in the car or in a store somewhere, and it gets stuck in your head and then plays on repeat. That sometimes happens to me but there are many other scenarios that trigger music arising in my mind outside of this particular example.
The fact that music arises in my mind on a regular basis was an instigator of great curiosity on my part, so I decided to start recording in my bullet journal the songs that would arise in my mind at any time. In so doing, I thought that it might help me to determine where the music was coming from, because I really wanted to know.
I find that when I wake up in the morning, music arises in my mind immediately. I find that music arises throughout the day. Some songs arise in my mind and stay there all day long. Some songs arise and then leave and another song arises and leaves. Every day is different. And I don’t think it’s an issue of what I’m exposed to necessarily. Although sometimes if I hear a song in a movie, especially during closing credits, or if I hear it in a store, it will arise at a later time or immediately afterwards.
So when I started this collection in my bullet journal, any time a song would arise in my mind, I would try to remember to write it down. When I would write the song down, I would try to remember if anything initiated the music to begin with. And if something did, I would write it down in parentheses.
I found the entire process of becoming more aware of when music arises in my mind, to writing it down in my bullet journal, to determining what might have triggered this music occurring, really started to give me a clearer picture of how my mind works .
There are various triggers that take place in my mind with some of the music that I notice. Sometimes a word or a phrase or a musical note might trigger a song arising. Sometimes a conversation I’m having with another person triggers a song. (And I often sing it aloud when that happens which can sometimes spark amusement, especially on my part, creating levity in that spontaneous moment!)
But, the times that are the most interesting to me are when the music that arises comes from my past, sometimes from childhood, sometimes from youth, and other times from later years. Especially with songs that really left a meaningful impact on me.
One of the things that I hope to do with this Music Mind Collection each month is that it will eventually reveal to me a pattern of music coming and going.
Sometimes I do notice when a song repeats itself on more than one day. Sometimes that can happen when the music comes from a movie I’ve been watching on repeat (especially when grandson keeps watching the same movie over and over again); but I also notice this without there being a contextual source to associate with that music, which is an ongoing curiosity for me. It begs me to ask the question, Where is it coming from, and why does it happen to begin with?
I think one of the greatest benefits to keeping this Music Mind Collection is that it automatically puts me in a state of Awareness when I hear the music arising. That state of Awareness immediately makes me more Present and slows me down. And, with the act of writing down the song, it naturally puts me in a state of pause for a moment. This pause can only benefit me because it forces me, as I slow down, to think very specifically about what is going on in my mind.
It gives me the opportunity to ask questions about where this music is coming from. In a sense, it helps me to honor the way my mind works, knowing that music is an essential part of who I am.
In some ways, the whole process I’ve described here is a mystery. It shows the many layers, if not worlds, that exist, not just in my mind, but in my heart and soul.
In other ways, it shows me what matters to me, how I think and how I communicate. I realize that some folks think in words, some in pictures, some in numbers. I think in music!
I have shared several images from three different months from my Music Mind Collections so that you can see what it actually looks like. Sometimes there’s a question mark (?) In the place of a title because all I hear is a melody or a few words, and I don’t recall the title of the song. I just know that there is a song arising and I’m not able to identify it right away or at all.
Sometimes I record the movie or place I heard it. Sometimes I’ll mark down the vocalist or group that sings it.
And if the song arises repeatedly, I sometimes look up the lyrics to the full song to see what meaning it may have for me right now.
Music will always have a special place in my life, and my Music Mind Collection is the perfect place to honor my Music Mind!
Here’s a journaling prompt for you:
How does your mind think? Are you pictorial or like a movie playing, or do words take center stage? Are numbers your game?
Give some thought (no pun intended!) with the primary way your mind works. Take a few days or a week or more and write down what arises in your mind naturally. See if any patterns emerge. Reflect on what those patterns may be speaking to you. By slowing down enough to experience this process, you honor how your mind works. Prepare to be fascinated!
Welcome back to The Way I See It, an honest look at how what I observe transforms what I see depending on what Lens I choose to look through. When I first introduced this new blog, I mentioned the possibility of sharing about my life as full time Grandma with a grandson diagnosed with autism and other neurological differences. So this will be my first foray of that nature.
Let me begin by saying that whatever I share here is meant to be thought provoking but not offensive. Autism has become better understood in recent years, but everyone’s experience with it is different and affect different families in different ways. So, with the hope of being understood and even appreciated for my point of view on this subject, especially with how it affects me on a daily basis, I shall share what’s on my heart.
My grandson loves dragons. He received a stuffy dragon for a gift from his great grandma. He loves looking at dragons in books and he especially enjoys the movie series, How to Train Your Dragon. I highly recommend this series for its humor, family dynamic and what each member learns in the process, as well as the conflict of interest between father and son concerning said dragons.
There’s quite a lot of dragon fighting amongst the tribe of Vikings in order to save the lives of the people and animals. But Hiccup, the boy in the story, has a sensitive heart and struggles to fulfill his father’s dream for him as a dragon slayer. Instead, Hiccup finds another way to solve the Dragon Dilemma. He trains his dragon to fly and take him everywhere. They end up becoming best friends. Of course, there is a lot more to this story, and I won’t offer any further spoilers.
Of course, over the past several months as I’ve watched this series with grandson and Grandpa, it has given me some serious food for thought.
First of all, Love conquers all.
Secondly, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Not that it doesn’t include consequence, because it does. Sometimes following what you feel is right can end in sorrow. But also victory.
Life is full of true paradox. And there’s such a fine line between letting the child lead the way and knowing when it’s necessary to step in.
This is the struggle the father and son face as they reckon with the dragon issue.
Thus it can be with autism. When you want to step in and try to show them how life is done, they often have their own way of doing it. Their brains work differently and they are sensitive folks. And when they aren’t understood or appreciated for what they do know (which can often be difficult to access if they don’t tell you), this brings on the frustration, on both sides, with both child and grandparent (or parent for those who are).
But like the verse goes, Train up a Child in the way he should go.
Now let’s look more closely at the word Train. It means to teach a person or animal a particular skill or type of behavior through practice and instruction over a period of time.
We can all be trained to learn new things and to instill good habits over time.
An example from my own pursuits would be learning the piano in the past year as I have played my spiritual songs by ear. First I had to learn where the keys were on the piano; I did this by feel rather than by sight. I found the keys to play the melodies and harmonies of the songs I added to my piano book; and then I practiced every day. Of course, over time, I have built new neuro pathways in my brain, so when I go to play a song I have practiced many times, I often find myself remembering what keys to press to make those melodies, which is deeply satisfying to me. All that practice for me is a delight! It also helps to have a routine to follow so it becomes second nature to include what I want to do in my day.
I try to do this with grandson by instilling a routine of first, then next, then after that we do this. Of course we have to get past the hurdle of resistance when one doesn’t want to follow through with said activity because it’s boring or stupid in their eyes. But there are some things that simply have to be done to make one civilized!
Now there is a difference between learning a new skill that is meaningful to you and simply learning something that needs to be done but is considered mundane. But the same principal applies toward the success of whatever the training is for.
I try to aim low, or as low as is reasonable to not overload the sensory aspect that is involved with mundane tasks when it comes to teaching grandson the way he should go.
Faithfully showing love, affection and even making a game out of as much of it as possible does make it an easier process; I just have to stay consistent without losing my patience. Especially when said child has to be reminded repeatedly.
So, how do you train yourself to learn a new skill, whether it’s pleasurable or mundane?
I think staying present as much as possible can make any thing you choose to do more palatable, not to mention looking at it through a positive lens. This I try to instill in grandson; sometimes he gets it, especially when he learns a new concept and succeeds and understands. And even those verbal gold stars go a long way toward encouraging those habits, such as putting on a seatbelt without a reminder.
Ultimately my goal as a grandma is to bring grandson to a place where he sees himself as intelligent, capable, funny, and creative, so much so that he will learn to fly.
There’s nothing like the exhilarating feeling of flying your own dragon once you’ve made friends with it, like Hiccup did with Toothless.
I’m sure that grandson would love to fly on a dragon too. Maybe he will some day—-in a story he writes and illustrates.
In the meanwhile, he’ll have to learn to do the mundane things, one day at a time, even if it’s boring.
I think he would tell me, I’d rather watch a movie, Grandma. Can you put on How to Train Your Dragon?
Yes, dear grandson, I can do that for you. Just make sure you brush your teeth afterwards, ok?
I'm Dawn Herring. Here is a space where I share The Way I See It from my many Life Lenses of Art, Music, Journal Keeping, Autism, Mental Health, being Full Time Grandma of Special Needs Grandson, and many other POVs that are relevant and helpful. Prepare for a full spectrum of experience, with an invitation for you to share your POV because The Way You See It Matters too.