HELPING PEOPLE CREATE A LIFE AROUND WHO THEY REALLY ARE.
“You need a thicker skin!”
I constantly heard that phrase growing up. Some of my first memories, in fact, involve a version of that sentiment, pointing to the fact that I was a highly sensitive child. It was easy to think there was something “wrong” with me, especially as it seemed nobody else felt emotions as deeply or for as long.
Struggling to manage my own intense emotional landscape, I was also sensing the emotions of everyone around me. I could feel what they were feeling. And I worried I might do or say something that would intensify others’ emotions to a level they couldn’t handle. Then they might get mad at me, say something hurtful, or leave.
Music became my safe haven. Listening to and playing music helped me understand my emotions and express them in socially acceptable ways. Music prevented me from getting STUCK in overwhelming, dissonant feelings and helped them to FLOW.
How can music do that? It’s all about SOUND. Sound is an energetic wave. Up to 60% of the entire human body is comprised of water, and because sound travels fastest in water, it’s not just our ears that experience sound. Our entire body is affected!
Sound waves activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for shifting us out of a fight-flight-freeze stress response and into relaxation response. When I felt overwhelmed, music and sound got my body to relax so that STUCK emotion and thoughts could once again move, returning me to internal harmony and balance.
Due to my constant involvement in music throughout high school, it was no surprise that I became a music major and eventually received a Doctorate in Music Performance in 2004. I became an instructor of flute, performed with regional orchestras, and participated in solo and chamber recitals throughout Michigan.
But something wasn’t right. I constantly questioned whether this was the “correct” career choice for me. I enjoyed playing my flute, but I had this nagging feeling that my performances were often missing purpose and meaning. It eventually dawned on me that I was forgetting the therapeutic function of music that I discovered as a kid. I wanted to share the power of music and sound with others!
This led me to become a Certified Music Practitioner (CMP) through the Music for Healing and Transition Program (MHTP) in 2014. As a CMP, I provide live, prescribed music at the bedside of the ill and dying.
I finally managed to create a career that felt aligned with who I am. But something still wasn’t right. Why did I have that “there’s something wrong with me- I’m too sensitive and overwhelmed by life” feeling again? I had developed a bad case of career burnout. And I was STUCK.
Career burnout made me feel sick physically, emotionally, and spiritually. In the process of figuring out how to use my gifts and talents to help heal other people, I realized I had forgotten how to fill my own energetic resources. My energy was depleted, and I couldn’t remember what I even liked about my career. I didn’t know whether to stay the course or change directions completely.
Being STUCK was a calling and an opportunity to reconnect with myself. Adjusting my workload, I journaled, meditated, read, and reflected. And I once again played music for myself that helped me locate my inner compass. Eventually, I remembered why I loved teaching and performing.
In the process of resolving my own STUCK, I KNEW that my recovery efforts consisted of the most important work I would ever do. I also noticed that being STUCK wasn’t unique. Friends, colleagues, and students shared that they were going through their own versions of STUCK. They too felt overwhelmed emotionally and in need of finding their own inner compass to help them remember who they are and what they need for self-care. If I could get myself UNSTUCK, could I help other people break free of their own?
This question led me to becoming a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) through the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). And it inspired me to write my first book- The Book of STUCK: Stop Holding Yourself Back and Start Moving Forward.
Today, I still teach, perform, and provide therapeutic music, but on a smaller scale. And I am coaching clients and using music and sound to help them move STUCK emotions to get clear on who they are and what they really want to manifest in life. We work together to use STUCK as an opportunity for emotional healing and personal development.
If you are experiencing STUCK and want to have a conversation about how coaching and sound could help, consider booking a complimentary session. We can talk about what’s keeping you STUCK and how your process of getting UNSTUCK could unfold.