Okay, I'll stop. But you get the idea.
It's easy to ignore yourself. It's especially easy when we're always racing, talking, doing, and going, which leaves little time for just being. But often people say to me, "I get lost in my head listening to your music." What I take that to mean is: (1) Hey, they like the music; and (2) I'm reconnecting people to themselves in a weird way.
Let me explain. I find it really hard to sit in a room by myself. I'd go crazy -- certifiably nuts. I mean, have you ever tried to just sit in a chair and . . . drum roll, please . . . think? But the simple act of thinking is so helpful, because you might actually find yourself in those thoughts. And we're so busy doing a million things that we don't really have time to find ourselves.
Think about this: What do you really want from this life? Do you ever have a moment to just sit down and really focus on what you want to achieve during your time on the planet? Forcing yourself to answer such questions is rough, but necessary. For me, of course, it has to do with music. And now back to that very thing.
When people say, "Your music gets me through the day," I feel like I've been their invisible companion. Many people put on the music and it feels like somebody is there with them. And with that "invisible support system," they can let their mind go free and wander to otherwise unexplored places. Call it a mental Club Med vacation. You're the tour guide. Airfare doesn't even have to be included, because you can just close your eyes and go any place in your head.
It's not a bad thing to do some really deep meditation. It doesn't have to be as formal as sitting in your brown La-Z-Boy on the third recline notch and staring at the paint-chipped ceiling. Maybe, for instance, you're driving in your car, and the music playing starts to make you daydream -- but not to the point where you don't notice that Mack truck in the distance. Please be careful. Anyway, let's say you're obeying the rules of the road, but "drifting" just a little bit, when suddenly, you're sent to a place deep inside where you're thinking, Huh, I never thought about that stuff. The music isn't dredging up these feelings. It's more like a catalyst that takes you on a mental voyage.
I like to walk around my neighborhood in the canyons of Los Angeles, and I wish I could tell you that it's because I'm a nature freak. Nah, I go on these walks because the gym in Hollywood drives me crazy, and I live in a hilly neighborhood, so it's good "interval training," which is basically a fancy way of saying that you sweat a ton by running up the hill. It's really good for your heart, not to mention helpful for the hips.
I could never walk outside without headphones and two or three CDs. Honestly, I'm afraid of what I would think. I'm almost afraid to have that time with myself because: (1) What would I really think about; and (2) Do I really want to think those things?
No, no, no! Let me repeat: No! Keep me away from myself.
You know what it's like when your brain gets a little bit too pushy. You start thinking, Why am I with this person and not this other person? Why am I doing this with my work? When I'm 90, will I have all my hair and teeth? (Insert a loud scream here.)
We live in a time of overstimulation. There's not a moment when we're not "on something" -- such as the TV, radio, CD player, or cordless whatever. I've gotten to the point where I can't take a bath for more than ten minutes -- just me and some bubbles -- I also have to be on the phone, watching TV, or flipping through the pages of Newsweek. Suddenly, I'm not thinking about myself.
Maybe we're all a little afraid of our own thoughts. Maybe afraid is too big a word -- we're just leery of them. So now I force myself to be alone with the one person I should know better than anyone -- me. Try forcing yourself: Get on a stationary bike, or take a walk, without any other stimulation than your own thoughts. You'll be surprised at what comes to mind -- and usually those are the important things.
I'll confess that I figured out this trick one day while I was way, way up in the canyons walking, and the most horrible thing on earth happened to me -- the batteries in my Walkman died. And even a little battery prayer -- "Please spirit of Duracell, let them work" -- didn't help. I was in a panic, wondering, Oh my God, what am I going to think about for the next 20 minutes? It was the beginning of self-discovery.
by Jim Brickman with Cindy Pearlman.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Hay House, and is available at all bookstores, by phone 800-654-5126, or via the Internet.www.hayhouse.com
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Jim Brickman's dazzling piano artistry and clever songwriting skills have led to sales of more than three million albums. Hits such as "Valentine" and "The Gift" have helped build his reputation as America's most romantic songwriter. Jim's Website is: www.JimBrickman.com. Visit Jim's website to hear his song: Peace (Where the Heart Is).
Cindy Pearlman is a nationally syndicated entertainment writer for the New York Times Syndicate and the Chicago Sun Times. Over the past 15 years, she has interviewed Hollywood's biggest stars, who appear in her column "The Big Picture."