Life's Soundtrack and Dreams
Over Shabbos, I kept myself occupied with several different reads, one of which was the "Journal of Creativity in Mental Health." The first article in the journal was a fascinating read entitled "When the Music Stops: Releasing the Dream."
I found the article fascinating for two reasons. The first was the technique described, which seemed to be the reason for the article, but which I felt took a back seat to describing the situation in which the technique would be used. And the second was the situation they described, which I thought offered an interesting perspective. Ok, since I'm sure all that was kinda ambiguous, let me explain what I'm talking about.
The article was written about using a "soundtrack of life" technique in therapy. This approach is used by having a client think of those songs that have stood out in their lives and have held meaning for particular reasons for those clients. The client is then instructed to put together a CD or tape for the therapist, and during a therapy session, the client and therapist listen to the soundtrack and discuss the reasons for inclusion of each song. The reason I found this so interesting, and potentially amazingly therapeutic, is because I totally find myself viewing certain songs as symbolic of events or struggles or feelings I have in my day to day life. I've often written about them here. So to see it being offered as a therapeutic technique was pretty exciting.
The other thing that I found really interesting in the article was the discussion of "releasing the dream." The article discussed that often people get hung up on unrealized dreams and it causes them a lot of pain and an inability to move forward in their life. These unrealized dreams can be that of love, career, specific accomplishments, etc. The article theorized that people are often unable to give up on these dreams even after they have been proven to not be attainable. And that the release of these unattainable dreams is necessary in order to move on and work towards other goals in life.
The article discussed this idea of releasing unrequited dreams quite eloquently:
"A part of the reconciliation process involves shifting our focus from the past to the present moment. If we do not make this shift, we will spend our energy and creativity holding the past in place rather than in investing in a new present. Shifting our focus to the present does not mean that we will not miss our dream or the people with whom we hoped to enjoy it. Nor does it mean that we forget the dream of discount its importance in our lives. No doubt, some of us may live with a bittersweet memory of the loss that reminds us of our humanness and of how our tenacious passion can become ignited. Rather, this challenge suggests that we genuinely come to terms with life as it presents itself so we can live in gratitude and a spirit of receptivity as new opportunities arise."
When reading the article, I certainly could think of examples of unrequited dreams that I haven't quite been able to let go of, and how it hurts sometimes to realize it. And I can also think of the songs that punctuate my thoughts of that dream, that stand out in my mind of characterizing the time in my life that I thought those dreams either would come true or when I realized they were falling apart. And I honestly think an accounting of those songs, along with the remnants they hold of my dreams, would be a great way to say goodbye. And to move on.