Tag Archives: Music

Jazz and Collages

5 Feb

One of my favourite things to do on a winter evening is listen to jazz and make collages.

Collage

A recent collage

I started making collages two years ago, after my yoga teacher asked everyone in the class to “go home and make a mood board”. In fact, “our subconscious works with images”, she said “so it is more useful to look at an image of what we wish to bring into our lives, rather than to make a list of New Year’s resolutions, for example”.

In order to pick out images that relate to our subconscious, our yoga teacher gave us the following instructions:

1)      Set aside at least half an hour in your day for solely this activity.

2)      Create a calm atmosphere: light candles, put on relaxing music, dim the lights, take a few deep breaths, clear your mind.

3)      Have a selection of magazines and newspapers ready. It doesn’t matter what they are, as long as they have pictures in them!

4)      Flick through the magazines and cut out all images that you feel immediately attracted to. Don’t think about it – your ‘gut’ choice may be surprising or unexpected to your rational mind, but the important thing is to go with your gut feeling.

5)      Put all of the images together either into a frame that you can hang up in a visible place in your home, or into a large art notebook, to which you can add images regularly.

6)      Keep on looking out for images that seem meaningful to you – ask friends to give you their old magazines, pick up free newspapers and leaflets, take photos, print out images from the internet that you love. Keep on building up your mood board and make new ones when the older ones no longer seem relevant.

After having made our collages, my yoga classmates and I began discovering amazing things manifest themselves in our lives. A girl who had chosen an image of a horse walking on a beach was soon invited by a cousin to do horse-riding along the sea. I had made collages based around photos of the beach and nature, to find myself moving to the South of France half a year later.

Collages not only remind our subconscious of what we truly want, but they add a personal and warm touch to our homes. In my kitchen and my living room I have collages that reflect my desires. These carry so much more meaning for me than the artwork of an unknown (or famous) artist hanging on my wall, because they are something that my subconscious itself has chosen and created.

Collage

Kitchen Collage

I also have a large art book, to which I regularly add images from any magazines I can get my hands on. I choose a page in the book that I particularly like and put it on a visible place in my home. Looking at these images brings me a sense of peace and comfort.

 Collage

Another favourite from my book

Try it yourself: set aside half an hour this week to make a mood board. Follow the instructions above and keep your mood board in a visible place. Let your subconscious and the universe do the rest!

Happiness Project – Week III

24 Nov

Two weeks ago I realised that I was unhappy. I started a Happiness Project with a list of activities to introduce into my everyday life in order to bring positivity back into my life.

Thoughts on Week III of the Happiness Project:

1) It makes me happy to help or to bring joy into the lives those around me. A day seems almost unfulfilled if I haven’t made that little effort to do something for the people I love.

2) Helping someone – from the heart – and knowing that my action has made even the smallest difference fills me with positive emotions.

3) We cannot judge other people’s happiness and we cannot let other people by a judge of ours.

It makes me happy to look out of the window and watch the trees sway.

It makes me happy to take walks on dark cold evenings.

It makes me happy to live in a place where I cannot hear cars going past.

It makes me happy to not wear make-up every day.

It makes me happy to sing along to pop music as I work.

This is certainly not everyone’s idea of happiness, but if we listen to everyone’s idea, we can wave our happiness goodbye.

4) Being in contact with those less fortunate than ourselves can transform our outlook on life. It makes us realise how lucky we are to have all the basic things we take for granted: a home, a job/an income and regular meals. When we have these three things, what could stop us creating a life of happiness, peace and love? In most cases, only our thoughts.

 

 

Aims for Week IV:

Take one step towards making one dream come true.

Music Monday II

21 Nov

Every Monday, I post a song or piece of music that I like. I ask you to close your eyes for three minutes and simply listen to the music that I have posted. Listen to it for the sake of listening to music, for the sake of being moved by music and for the sake of experiencing the world through your ears, not through your eyes.

You may like or hate the songs that I post, but one thing is sure: in closing your eyes and listening to music, a new world will unfold in your mind. It is the world of the imagination. 

Happy listening.

(Don’t forget to close your eyes…)

 

If there are songs or pieces of music you love, please share them with me and other bloggers by posting their title in the comments section. That way, we can all open up our musical horizons together!

Happiness Project – Week II

17 Nov

Two weeks ago I realised that I was unhappy. I started a Happiness Project with a list of activities to introduce into my everyday life in order to bring positivity back into my life.

Here are my thoughts on Week II of the Happiness Project:

1) It makes me happy to have a day with a range of activities. It is most satisfying to have had a day with both mental, physical and creative activities.

2) There is not enough time in the week to do all of the things I’d like to do. But even doing one or two of these things brings joy and fulfilment.

3) Unexpected activities can bring more happiness than planned ‘happiness’ activities. I guess we can never plan out a happy day/week/life

4) Doing things for and with others brings me happiness. I often read in magazines and self-development books that we should ‘do something for ourselves’ to feel happier, but events in the past week seem to show the contrary.

5) My Happiness Project is really shedding light onto things that are very important, important, not important and unrelated to my happiness. Trying to implement my happiness resolutions into my everyday life shows whether or not doing certain things actually makes any difference to how I feel.

6) Some of my reasons for being unhappy are stupid. Yes, I admit it. But they are also things we have been made to believe by adverts and society. They are thoughts in the mind, yet how to get rid of them? First step – acceptance.

7) Things such as the passing of time, change and the future have been causing anxiousness in me for the first time in ten months. My thoughts about these things are usually full of doubt and worry. This leads to a state of nervousness and stress. Question to ask myself: why am I scared of these things?

jumping happiness8 ) Doing nothing and having too much free time brings unhappiness. I have noticed this both in myself and in others. The people who say that they did ‘absolutely nothing’ on their day off are the ones with the least energy and positivity. The people with activities and hobbies keep their body and minds active, avoiding laziness, apathy and over thinking. The latter group have no time to worry about the future because they are constantly living in and enjoying the present.

9) We can if we want to, but a lot of times we just can’t be bothered/are scared/give excuses/settle for the easy option/take the safe path/don’t believe/don’t want to fail…the list can go on. This week, we managed to get tickets for a fully-booked concert through research, phone calls and negotiation. At the beginning of the week, our attitude was “It’s fully-booked, why bother wasting time if we won’t get the tickets, anyway?”. It seems like there is always a solution!

10) Our happiness is not the most important thing on earth, contrary to modern popular thought. Our happiness should not be more important than respect towards others, helping, gratitude, thoughtfulness, care, effort, amongst many others. We cannot let our mood affect our relationships and our communication with others. I met people this week who were homeless and unemployed, yet they smiled, said please and thank you with genuine emotions, and wished everyone an excellent day. This taught me a lesson about taking out my bad mood on my close ones.

***

Aims for Week III:

-Give more energy to doing and sharing things with the people close to me.

-Remind myself of all that I am grateful to have.

-Go rollerblading.

 

Music Monday

14 Nov

When was the last time you listened to music?

No, I don’t mean watched a music video on YouTube, but listened to music, without having any visual distractions.

When was the last time you listened to music without knowing anything about its composer/singer?

No, I don’t mean not knowing the latest gossip on Rihanna, but not knowing who the singer is, how well the band is doing in the charts, how many awards they have won, what everyone’s opinion is of them, or even what they look like.

When was the last time you listened to music for the actual pleasure of listening to music?

No, I don’t mean the pleasure of having the hum of the radio as you drive to work; no, not the fun of blasting your favourite songs as you do the cleaning; but sat down and listened to music for the sake of listening to music.

When was the last time you were moved by music?

No, I don’t mean laughing at the latest pop lyrics or being frustrated by the bad grammar in hip hop; but got goose bumps, had your body temperature rise, stood transfixed or even cried from music.

 

When I was a teenager, I bought a Franz Ferdinand album, having seen their name in a magazine. I listened to the album every day and loved the music so much that I soon knew all of the lyrics by heart and even started learning to play their songs on the guitar. I loved their music and listened to it with a passion, but I had no idea who Franz Ferdinand were. I didn’t know how many people were in the band, I didn’t know where they came from, I didn’t know how old they were, I didn’t know how long they’d been around, and I didn’t even know what they looked like. When I went to their gig, I discovered for the first time the people behind the melodies and words.

Nowadays, we watch music videos and often judge songs by the quality of the special effects, the artists’ appearance and their attitude.

We know about the private lives of most artists and such gossip leads us to make judgements on their work.

In most cases, we know what the musician looks like, dresses like and acts like, which evokes certain associations in our mind as we listen to their music.

I recently went to a concert without any prior knowledge of the composer, his life or his music. For the first time in years I closed my eyes and got carried away in my own world while listening to music. I enjoyed the music for the beauty of the music itself.

And this made me realise that listening to music for the music itself is not something we do often nowadays. We listen to a song because it got stuck in our head, or because the singer looks pretty in the video, or because it reminds us of a place/period/person, or because the band is considered cool, or because the album is advertised on all billboards, or because we simply don’t know many other songs.

If you love music, I ask you to take part on a journey of discovery with me.

Every Monday, I will post a song or piece of music that I like. Although there will inevitably be the artist’s name and song’s title, I will post these songs as YouTube videos that contain no moving images. I will give no background information about the song or artist, and will not tell you what I feel or think while listening to the music.

I ask you to close your eyes for three minutes and simply listen to the music that I have posted. Listen to it for the sake of listening to music, for the sake of being moved by music and for the sake of experiencing the world through your ears, not through your eyes.

You may like or hate the songs that I post, but one thing is sure: in closing your eyes and listening to music, a new world will unfold in your mind. It is the world of the imagination. With no videos to tell you how to interpret the sounds, you will construct your own associations and build your own fantasies. The music will have an effect that is personal to you, because it will have spoken to you through the power of your own imagination and emotions.

You are free to research as much or as little about the artist whose music I post, but please only do this after having listened to the song.

Happy listening.

(Don’t forget to close your eyes…)

 

I would love to know what you felt/thought/saw while listening to the song.

And if there are songs or pieces of music you love, please share them with me and other bloggers by posting their title in the comments section. That way, we can all open up our musical horizons together!