My New Book Living More Than OK

My New Book Living More Than OK
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Monday, October 20, 2014

Turning From Nowhere Man Into Somewhere Man

It has been a couple weeks since writing here as I have been busy with the College classes I teach. So with a few of the classes I teach just being finished as they were half semester courses called Flex classes I thought I would share an activity that I do with my College Success classes. It is where I have the students reflect on the song, Nowhere Man, by the Beatles. Then I have them write a letter to Nowhere Man pretending he is a student on campus who is failing because he is going nowhere. Their purpose is to give suggestions and ideas to get him moving to Somewhereland. Many students enjoy doing this and I have been surprised over the years how many young people enjoy the Beatle’s music still. Let’s see what we can learn from the song.

Nowhere Man , Lennon & McCartney (Click on the Title for a video)

He's a real nowhere Man, Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody.

Doesn't have a point of view, Knows not where he's going to,
Isn't he a bit like you and me?

Nowhere Man, just listen, You don't know what you're missin',
All the world's at your command.

He's as blind as he can be, Just sees what he wants to see,
Nowhere Man can you see me at all?

Nowhere Man, don't worry, Take your time, don't hurry,
Leave it all 'till somebody else lends you a hand.

Doesn't have a point of view, Knows not where he's going to,
Isn't he a bit like you and me?

Nowhere man please listen, you don't know what your missin'
Nowhere Man, the world is at your command

He's a real Nowhere Man, Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody.
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody.
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody.

What I have enjoyed about the song is that it reminds me of the importance of choosing a life of purpose. If we want to go somewhere in life we need to intentionally choose to make plans so we can go somewhere not nowhere. It helps to take time to understand our point of view and have a firm understanding of who we are, and what we want out of life. Too many are missing out on all life has to offer as they don’t take the time to think over where they want to go. It is very true “Isn’t ‘he a bit like you and me?”. If we are honest we all have desert times where we don’t know and sit in nowhere land. We need to think is that where we want to stay?

“He’s as blind as he can be, just sees what he wants to see”. As we sit around staring at the plastic rectangles we carry around with us, or sit in the comfort of home staring at the larger plastic rectangles that entertain us to death, we become as blind as Nowhere Man. I am glad to see more calls in research and news reports to encourage parents to watch the amount of time they allow their children stare blindly at the little plastic entertainment rectangles of technology. At the same time how about the parents? It upsets me to see children at restaurants or outside playing and the parent instead of interacting with the children are staring at the little plastic entertainment rectangles of technology. Do they really have to be staring at the phone and texting that much? Do they understand the children learn from their actions? Don’t they understand what they are missin’? Don’t we understand what we are missin’? That is one point the Beatles are getting across in the song. The idea relates well to my book Living More Than OK and this blog. Do we want to come to the end our life journey only to see what we have missed?

Reflection: Think over the words to the song and reflect on your life. Are you moving towards Somewhereland? Are you blind to the purpose and opportunities in your life? How can you make better choices with your time to make the most of it? Is technology controlling you in mindless entertainment or do you use your time wisely on the internet to read life fulfilling blogs such as this? (Sorry just had to add that in!)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Soothing Stress Relief Through Music

When I recently spoke with my College Success course students about anxiety and stress, I brought up the subject of music as a stress reliever. I enjoy music immensely and believe in the power of music to calm and energize. Several of the students shared how music helps them to focus their minds on their studies so they can concentrate better. Other students shared how before tests there are certain songs that help motivate them to do their best.

Music helps to create moods that can aid in improving our emotions for relaxation or excitement. At times I have made the mistake of playing soft relaxing music prior to my 8 am lectures and students tell me to toss on some rock or country music to wake them up. Music can have a powerful effect on us. I want to share a couple of my favorite music choices when I am stressed out that help calm me down so you can think over how to use music as one way to deal with your life stress times.

First of all is a jazz musician I have mentioned many times in the past and in my book, Living More Than OK. Her name is Keiko Matsui. She is a smooth jazz pianist and composer of her music. She has songs that energize as well as songs that calm and heal the soul. Even her upbeat songs I can enjoy while I am relaxing while reading a book or simply trying to calm down from the worries of the day. I primarily listen to her cd’s yet sometimes if I have my computer on I enjoy some of the creative videos that have been created for her songs. Check out this example of a video based on her song Deep Blue:

Keiko Matsui song Deep Blue

Then one musician/composer I bring up each semester to my students when speaking about beating stress is Dr. Jeffrey Thompson. He is a chiropractor in his primary career path who has also had a passion for studying the healing qualities of sound and music. He is an expert in the field of acoustic pacing frequencies that he adapts into his musical compositions. His music is relaxing as the basic tempos match the breathing patterns in mindfulness meditation. So one reason I listen to his music is to slow down my breathing and to remind myself to take deep slow breathes. This type of music is helpful in de-stressing and lowering blood pressure. I have tested it out for myself when my blood pressure was high after listening to his music for 15 minutes or so, I have checked my blood pressure and it has gone down. Dr. Thompson’s music comes across as rather spacey so the first time listening it may take time to be used to it but the effects of relaxing of the body is noticed by most students when I try it in classes for them to listen to his compositions. Try listening to a sample of his music from Youtube:

Sleep Flow Dreaming by Dr. Jeffrey Thompson

Of course in speaking to students about relaxing music I bring up Classical Baroque music as well. Don Campbell in his book, The Mozart Effect, points to research after research that has shown the health benefits of classical music on the body, mind, emotions, and spirit of people. I do make use of my classical cds as well in relaxing while I am working in my office. It helps in being more productive with busy work if I have music such as classical music playing. I tell my students you do not have to break the bank of buying classical music as Youtube has collections of classical music for concentration and studying. Here is a sample here:

Study Music for Concentration:

Hopefully this post has given you some ideas about using music to conquer stress or improve your concentration. I hope you tried out the samples given here. Think through your favorite music and reflect on how it helps in your life and your moods.

Reflection: Listen fully to one of the three music samples above and reflect on how it made you feel. What is your favorite music style or favorite musicians? How does your music help you in your life?