The Fourth of July offers us an opportunity to connect our thoughts and favorite music with the concept of freedom. It's really a great reminder of the power that this association can provoke in our mind, body, and soul. For some of us, it may be just what we need lately.
Freedom can mean a lot of different things to different people. Where you are in your life at this moment in time will determine what it most significantly and personally means to you. Some individuals may find "School's Out for the Summer" by Alice Cooper a perfect fit. Others may be thinking patriotically and enjoy the rush of emotions spiked by Whitney Houston's memorable rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" (Live 1/27/91 at Super Bowl XXV), Celine Dion's "God Bless America," or maybe for you it's Roy Acuff's "The Wabash Cannonball."
To some people, freedom may be a key to other things. It could be dealing with illness, loss, or even addiction -- their own or someone else's. Freedom for others may be starting or deepening an interpersonal relationship with someone who is different from the type of person other members of their family or "circle" have ever gotten involved with. Freedom can be a breaking away, from an existing relationship or a place of employment or a career in hopes of finding something closer to your core self. Freedom is ultimately being able to move flexibly, gracefully, and without restraint within these moments toward your heart-mind desires.
Our internal drive for freedom is necessary. It helps power who we, at our deepest, want to be -- when, where, and how. The Fourth of July offers you a reminder to unleash yourself.
In my previous post, I included information about how you can put a little science behind your playlists to amplify how they influence you physically and behaviorally. Remember, it's really all about training the mind to act the way you want it to in specific daily situations -- and music, when used in this way, becomes your conditioning tool. You may wish to take a look at some of those earlier suggestions as they will work with any playlist you are creating, including this one.
Below is a playlist of songs that will give you some ideas for generating your own "freedom playlist." Consider it a small sampler. As always, I want to emphasize what's most important is that you personalize your playlists by picking songs that speak to you. Also, remember, the more you like a song and anticipate the pleasure and functionality you can derive from it, the greater its effect on you.
Try the following meditation as you listen to your own freedom playlist or a specific song from it. I suggest printing this article and clipping this part out to insert into a journal or maybe a photo book or album. You can also copy-paste it to a location in your iPod or computer and follow the steps as you push the play button on your playlist.
I use an instrumental song that relaxes me as a soundtrack for my meditation. "Reflection Eternal" by Nujabes works great. Do try this one. It's not for everyone but if it's for you, you're going to love it. It gives my thoughts space to shape fluidly. But you may be feeling too tired or mellow for a slow song. In that case if you want to stick with instrumentals and like classical, "Mozart's Sonata in D Major K448" is great and will leave you feeling more alert. Some people enjoy theme songs like "Chariots of Fire" (Theme Song) by Vangelis or Bill Conti's "Gonna Fly Now" (Theme from Rocky). Really any type of music, with lyrics or instrumental works.
For a great effect, try alternating between a slow tempo and fast, beginning with whichever you need more (relaxing or energizing). This will ramp up the song's upbeat effect. If your need for freedom is from a love relationship, try playing something slower and even bluesy such as "Someone Like You" by Adele and then following it up with a fast upbeat song that sends you the freedom message you need to be hearing.
Find a quiet place and relax.
Slow your breathing down and try to breathe more deeply, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Count as you breathe in: one, two, three, four. Then pause, hold your breath for a similar length of time, and then gently breathe out through your mouth, to a count of four. This is called measured breathing and helps get you into a focused state. Keep breathing slowly this way, and let your whole body loosen up.
Now visualize a current situation that brings joy and warmth into your life. Let your mind look around in this situation as you visualize it. See yourself in the situation, as though it were a movie, not becoming anxious, staying cool, and going with the flow of everything that presents itself.
Once you feel loose and energized, visualize a goal or change that you would like to free yourself up to achieve. This can be anything from an interpersonal relationship to a career transformation or a wellness issue. Consider a wide range of specific behaviors and actions that you could employ to facilitate your achievement of this goal. See yourself doing these things as well as people's responses to them. Visualize yourself flowing into your selected actions, again as if you were in a movie. See yourself as the lead character, not becoming anxious, staying cool, energized and going with the flow of everything that presents itself -- achieving the most good for you and for everyone else too. Practice this meditation often, and when the situation you have visualized (and committed to memory) presents itself in real life, you will have trained your mind to act accordingly.
Freedom Playlist Sampler
- "Star Spangled Banner" by Whitney Houston (Live 1/27/91 @ Super Bowl XXV)
- "America the Beautiful" by Ray Charles
- "Raise Your Glass" by Pink
- "Geek in the Pink" by Jason Mraz
- "Beautiful Day" by U-2
- "Freedom" by Jimi Hendrix
- "This Land is Your Land" by Los Lobos/Grateful Dead
- "Who Says You Can't Go Home" by Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles
- "Born in the USA" by Bruce Springsteen
- "Someone Like You" by Adele
- "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga
To learn more about how to use playlists to transform your life, check out of my newest book,
Your Playlist Can Change Your Life.
Keeps the light of freedom burning brightly in your core.
For more by Joseph Cardillo, Ph.D., click here.
For more songs and playlists, click here.
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