“If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:
THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
– Kurt Vonnegut
When life gives me lemons, I don’t make lemonade. But time and again, I do grab my iPod and listen to some music. There are certain songs that really lift me up out of the gloom I may find myself in at the end of a terrible day.
Now, I can’t sing, and I definitely can’t dance – unless you count a pour imitation of Tevye during “If I Were a Rich Man” from Fiddler on the Roof.
But I truly get energized when listening to what I might term “Motivational Songs.” They change my mood when I’m down. They refresh me when I’m tired. When everything seems to be going wrong, I find strength and encouragement in certain songs.
Music stirs the soul, it lifts the heart, and it inspires.
In Walter Isaacson’s biography of Einstein, a friend, speaking of Einstein said, “He would often play his violin in his kitchen late at night, improvising melodies while he pondered complicated problems. Then, suddenly, in the middle of playing, he would announce excitedly, ‘I’ve got it!’ As if by inspiration, the answer to the problem would have come to him in the midst of music.”
Music is powerfully potent!
I’m not a big classical music devotee, although who doesn’t feel energized when listening to something like Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.”
However, I find music/themes from popular movies really do rejuvenate me. “Gonna Fly Now,” the Rocky theme is one. Also, several themes scored by John William are great; the Theme from Superman, and the Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark themes.
And several classic rock songs empower and lift me up: “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones, “Dream On” by Aerosmith, and
“Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba:
I get knocked down
But I get up again
You’re never gonna keep me down
Then there’s a couple of other choices that I think might be considered a little odd – “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” the version by ‘Iz’ Kamakawiwo’ole.
Also, while difficulties or stress may often result from love – or sometimes not. Either way, I find encouragement in the lyrics of Dido’s song “White Flag.” The chorus offers a determination and strength:
But I will go down with this ship
And I won’t put my hands up and surrender
There will be no white flag above my door
And the last song I’ll list is one that goes back a bit – Frank Sinatra’s 1966 hit “That’s Life.”
I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king
I’ve been up and down and over and out and I know one thing
Each time I find myself flat on my face
I pick myself up and get back in the race
That one holds up pretty good. It’s a classic that still rings true with the power to lift my spirit and give me motivation to persist in the face of difficulties.
“Ah, music,” he said, wiping his eyes. “A magic beyond all we do here!”
– Albus Dumbledore, from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone