Sunday, September 13, 2009

Music: CPR for the heartstrings

Music heals and redeems. Not just emotionally but also - to my great delight - physically.

The other morning I stupidly got all hot and bothered about Sarah Palin's latest idiocy regarding health care. In need of a Palinoscopy, I listened to music. Later on Twitter I posted a link to that piece called "Stabat Mater" by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt that had somehow calmed me right down. Someone whose tweets I enjoy made this comment on my post: "What a beautiful piece of music. The human voice has such healing properties - it teases out sadness and restores the soul." I couldn't agree more. We tweeted back and forth about it for a bit, and it led me to this blog post.

I've been fascinated to learn through my study of Jin Shin Jyutsu that sound is the one thing that harmonises our endocrine system. Apparently, the ancients knew this. An endocrinologist has confirmed it to me as well, but the whys and wherefores are too complicated for me to understand fully, let alone explain to someone else. The endocrine system regulates stuff like our metabolism, growth, puberty and tissue function. It controls our hormones and helps determine our moods. Diabetes, thyroid disease, obesity, and heart disease are all disharmonies of the endocrine system. Cancers of the breast, liver, pancreas, kidneys and ovaries are also endocrine-related. I've finally stopped wondering why teenagers seem to be surgically attached to their iPods 24/7, or why hormonal people (not just women, mind) go all wobbly when they listen to certain music. Or why the laments of wolves or the callings of humpback whales touch something elemental in each of us. It all makes sense to me now.

The novelty of learning to embed a YouTube video on my blog hasn't worn off. This is how pathetically amateurish I am when it comes to tech stuff, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Feel free to roll your eyes up at my ineptitude, but I bet not many of you can make a killer Peking duck from scratch either. So we're even.

I LOVE this version of "Deja Vu." David Crosby originally wrote it for the first album (of the same name) that his group Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young released in 1970. That was almost forty years ago. In this video, filmed near Amsterdam in the late 1990s, Crosby performs it with his new group CPR, and there's a beautiful story behind it. The video is 10 minutes long, and I urge you to watch it full screen with the volume up. It may be the happiest 10 minutes you'll spend online today.

David Crosby enjoyed great success as a founding member of 2 pioneering rock bands, The Byrds, and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. However, a turbulent personal life ravaged by drugs and alcohol took its toll on his career, health and relationships. Destructive behaviour led to his estrangement from many of his fellow musicians and friends. There was a term in prison for drugs charges. He eventually found sobriety but continued to face grave financial troubles and suffered a near fatal motorcycle accident. An earthquake caused major damage to his lovingly restored home, which he later lost through foreclosure. On top of all that, Crosby's years of substance abuse and an undiagnosed case of Hepatitis C led to serious liver damage. In 1995, he was hospitalised with deteriorating health and unless a suitable liver donor could be found in time, he faced certain death.

What happened next can only be described as the most joyous synchronicity. An eleventh hour liver donor miraculously became available to Crosby, and the transplant was successful. Around the same time, a gifted 30 year old pianist and composer named James Raymond discovered through a search of his birth records that David Crosby was his biological father. Father and son were reunited. They discovered their blood ties forged even deeper by a common love of music. This serendipitous union led to the birth of Crosby's new group CPR with papa Crosby on guitar, James Raymond, his son, on keyboards, and guitarist Jeff Pevar on electric guitar. Crosby's biography also states, "In this same short season of miracles, Crosby and his wife gave birth to a son, Django, and James and Stacia Raymond presented Crosby with a new granddaughter, Grace." Wow. Even Dickens couldn't make this stuff up.

Croz is as wonderful as ever in this video. His eyes have the light of serenity I've seen only in people who've made it through the fire. Watch out specially for the tender look of love and fatherly pride on Crosby's face as he looks at his son at 5:57 and 6:17 in the video clip. At 6:17 he taps his left breast with his fist, right over the space where his heart lies.

In Jin Shin Jyutsu, that exact spot is Safety Energy Lock 13. It is the place that unconditional love and forgiveness call home.


Waldo said...

I am not techy AND I can't make Peking Duck, but I can enjoy the simple things in life. A good book, a beautiful song. My grandson on my lap turning to me and saying "this is serious!"
These small things are all that is needed for me to get back on track. Thanks for sharing a beautiful song.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic Meg. As you know, I know about music and healing, and also about Jin Shin Jyutsu, and this is fantastic. Great story. Jennifer xx

Anonymous said...

What a moving story of reunion. And good grief! What beautiful music it produced.
It's not fair. You shouldn't be allowed to make Peking Duck from scratch AND have fantastic taste in music.

Megatonlove said...

Jennifer, when I look around there's a lot of evidence that music plays a greater role in people's lives than just entertainment. Most of us aren't even aware of the good it does to us, but unfortunately there's also a lot of rubbish out there. I always enjoy our music and Jin Shin Jyutsu conversations, and of course your singing!

Waldo and Mnemosyne, you can relax, I haven't made Peking duck for some time. Growing older has stripped me of the need to create show-off dishes for my dinner guests. These days, a simple home-cooked meal with good music and interesting conversation are what bring me joy.

Twenty Four At Heart said...

I love music. I have my iPod connected in the car, to my stereo when I'm home ... always, always, music. I knew Crosby's story already but it was really nice to hear/read it again!

Zeusjoos said...

I saw a story about this many years ago on tv. Thanks for bringing it back into my consciousness.