In our last chapter we accessed our current self-awareness through an enquiry process of three simple questions. We then applied this awareness into words which formed original lyric phrases.
The intention of this practice is to choose our own inner soundtrack of thoughts, influencing our feelings in the process. By introducing this ‘new song’ into our ongoing stream of consciousness, we have the potential for shifting perspective upon ourselves and others, and of our outlook upon the world.
Just as a radio jingle influences a listener after repeated applications, so this self-generated ‘inner jingle’ has a remarkable potential for influencing and changing our thoughts and feelings. Similar to the principle of using a mantra in yoga and meditation practice, the repetition of a few selected words may have a calming effect while embedding the qualities of the phrase deep within the consciousness.
For thirty years I have been developing and sharing an expressive arts method I call SongSourcing. In the previous chapter the first steps of this method were described, a method which has been successfully practiced by thousands of people in hundreds of seminars and workshops around the world.
SongSourcing is such a simple and effective method for supporting people in ‘re-writing the lyrics of their life’ that I chose to use this month’s column to convey how to practice it, without requiring attendance of a seminar or workshop, in the privacy of one’s own home.
Let’s continue with the self-generated phrases of awareness - the poetry of the moment - created in the last chapter.
If you have no musical instrument for producing harmonic backgrounds, I suggest using soundtrack recordings suitable for this practice - music without words with simple, repeating harmonic patterns. SongSourcing Trackpack was created especially for this purpose.
Alternatively, if you have a musical instrument which can produce harmonic backgrounds, I recommend simple chord patterns to begin - even two chords can be fine - but a third and fourth additional chord can add richness to the process. Begin by finding a rhythmic groove with these chords, at a tempo which suits your mood.
For now, don’t change the pattern once you settle on it. What you are wanting to do is have the music go on ‘automatic’ - to not be thinking about it. To let it serve as a harmonic background allowing your focus to shift to the words your wrote.
Once you find a ‘groove’, choose the rhythm of your words. We aren’t seeking ‘the perfect rhythm’ for those words, just any rhythm to start. In fact, finding a starting point can be the most challenging part of this exercise, because it requires shifting out of the judging and self-criticizing mind, simply trusting that any expression is OK. Not comparing this moment’s expression with any other.
Once choosing a rhythm to your words, begin with sounding them out loud on a common tone- a pitch which feels somehow right on all the chords of your pattern. Shifting to another tone for one or more words in your phrase is fine at this point. The intention is to give voice to your words with a harmonic background.
The last step of this process is melody - created by adding more energy into your breath and allowing your words to emerge with a changing pitch somehow fitting in a pleasing way with the chords you are playing.
If this is new or difficult, stay as simple as possible at the beginning. Repeat the same words, choosing only a few notes for the melody. Once you feel comfortable with the process, feel free to expand and change the words and melody as you like.
After all, this is the song of your life. You are simply expressing your freedom to create your own soundtrack.