Lives In Harmony: Maybe It’s The Cold Medicine Talking, But…

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A few months ago, I told my best friend that I had learned to drive in silence in the car- without music. “That’s so sad,” she said. I knew what she meant. She and I always shared a love for singing together. In fact, last month we drove an extra half mile out of our way so we could get in ALL of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin.'” Damn, we sounded good, too. I know it.

What I meant to say to her (and as usual, said very badly) is that I didn’t need music to distract me so much anymore- that I was okay being alone with my own thoughts in a way I hadn’t been before. The quote above- Mozart- makes me feel that way. The silence is not only necessary (otherwise, how to hear the notes?) but a lovely thing that can be music in itself. 

But: this week, I’ve been struck with a wicked cold and have had to stay home much more than I ever like to do. I hate, hate, hate not working. It makes me feel guilty and shameful. Yesterday, doped up on cough medicine, I woke up from a nap in a panicky sweat, sure something was wrong. Why was I home? Why wasn’t I teaching? Was everything falling apart?! 

My super-charged (and unnecessarily zealous) work ethic aside, I’ve had to face the fact that it is just really hard for me to be away from people. I don’t want anyone to get sick, and I have been pretty contagious, so ethically I know I’m doing the right thing- but ugh. I miss the companionship- sharing with them, even if it’s just on that “hey, I see you” sort of energetic level of exchanging a smile. 

I didn’t always feel this way about it- remember this post?– but I’ve come to accept that I thrive when I am around  other people. Sure, I’d rather be a little choosy about which people (I’m not that enlightened)- but I love the interdependence of it, the harmony, the music that we make together. Every day, someone in my life does something just to be nice to me- and I do something for them, too. We have so much to give each other. We don’t exist in isolation. 

Sometimes, after a yoga class, when I see my students talking to each other, no longer separated on their little mats but engaging in community, you can hear the hum of voices, the music they make together, and it’s such a beautiful thing, my heart grows at least three sizes bigger. They’re talking about their kids, or where to get good food, or a shared pain, or a new joy. 

In my house tonight, in the silence, there’s a music here, too. One that’s important for me to practice- an aloneness that is beautiful. I hear the ceiling fan. A dog sighing. Laundry in the washer. My own turbulent thoughts. 

This silence between the notes is a lovely music. But, given the choice- my heart longs to share life with others. Maybe, someday, one special other? 

This post was inspired in part by the following poem- enjoy, friends. 

Harmony

by Stuart Kestenbaum

You know the Beatles could have

afforded another microphone,

but George would always stand

in the middle and step up to

Paul’s when it was time to

join in. Because that’s the way

harmony is, you need to share the

electricity, the voice, the words.

Just the way we do when we drive

in our cars with the radio on,

the windows rolled down with fall in the

air, dead leaves swirling in the wake,

or in the spring, the earth damp and soft,

the air hazy with pollen. We hear

the song that moves us, crank the

radio and sing along, at the top of

our lungs, as if we just joined

the group. In tune out of tune,

country western, rock and roll, we want

to harmonize. A whole country of

would-be stars losing love, finding love

with the radio in different

cars, on different paths, the dark

road rumbling beneath.

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7 thoughts on “Lives In Harmony: Maybe It’s The Cold Medicine Talking, But…

  1. Kelly

    Beautiful, Laura. I’ve been thinking of you and hoping you are at the tail end of sickness. Was going to drop you a short email last night, but ran out of time:) Yes, silence is and can be beautiful, scary, and sparkling all at once. Funny, I am having (introverted me) the exact opposite experience this week and next with my relatives visiting – Lots and lots of social interaction. I’ll be thinking of you as you wrap up this cold stuff and (very quickly) step back into your normal, everyday life:)

    Reply
  2. katurnbull

    This is beautiful Laura. I’ve been thinking of you and knowing you are wrapping up this cold stuff and you’ll be stepping back into your normal life soon. Silence is wonderful 🙂

    Reply
  3. btg5885

    I hope you feel better. While I love music, silence is more than OK to reflect and just be disconnected and alone with your thoughts. When I go for walks in the woods, it is sans music, as I like hearing the birds chirp and see the rustle of squirrels in the woods. I love the poem about Harmony by the way. Thanks, BTG

    Reply
  4. Tracesofthesoul

    I love to sing (off tune, who cares!) in the car…it gives me energy; I also love to drive in silence and listen to the harmony of the silence…love…On my day off work, I don’t put any sound in the house until late in the evening…I am just fine with my thoughts humming. I too cannot stay away from work too long…I do need the energy of people around me…weekends, sometimes I bring my notebook or tablet to a coffee shop and it is amazing what I can write surrounded by such energy. Love your blog by the way…just love it!! Namaste, Oliana xx

    Reply

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