Making space for beauty in your life and work is important. It is SOOooo important, I blogged about it for the Online Conference for Music Therapy. This post expands upon that information. Grab a cup of coffee and make space for a little reflecting on beauty.

Make space for beauty in your life and workLife is busy. Trying to fit in work, household chores, family responsibilities, time for fitness, time for socializing… but, you need to add one more – time for beauty.

Most of us first think of beauty as it relates to physical attractiveness. Beauty is SOOooo much more.The first definition in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is:

“the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit : loveliness.”

Music is a likely place where you have experienced beauty.

At some point in your life you’ve experienced a “musical chill” – that emotional connection to a well performed selection of music. For me, that is a moment of intense beauty. Planning for it doesn’t make it happen. Being open to it can increase the chances.

  • When did you last experience a musical chill?
  • What would happen if you created more opportunities for beautiful music in your life?
  • How would you go about creating opportunities for beautiful music?

What would happen if we allowed beauty to be a part of our music therapy sessions?

Promising our clients will experience beauty or see something as beautiful during a session is wrong. The question is more one of making space for it.

This question had its beginning while attending the 2015 American Music Therapy Conference. in a session titled “Music Therapy Goals Can Be Understood Musically, Too!”. Music therapists Brian Abrams, Kathleen Murphy, Kristen O’Grady, Noah Potvin, and Laurel Young shared perspectives on ways of adding “music” back into our goals and our work. Without diving into the depths of this conversation, let me say it was very thought-provoking.

  • What is your current frequency for a music goal with clients?
  • What is one music goal you could add?
  • Add that goal to your list for the next session.

How does understanding music therapy goals musically relate to beauty?

Flash back to a conference in the 1990’s.  I remember Bryan and Leslie Hunter presenting on music therapy in childbirth. Even though in advanced labor, Leslie commented on the beauty of the music.  Aah, sometimes a client can experience beauty in a session.

Am I mad to suggest such an idea? Maybe?! Consider this thought shared by Henry James in “The Middle Years”:

“We work in the dark – we do what we can – we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.” 

As a music therapist working with older adults rare is the day I hear a client describe themselves as beautiful. Some do articulate seeing beauty in the world or in actions of others around them. This is most apt to happen when the opportunity is provided through song writing or discussion. In other words, it is by creating space for beauty.

  • How often do you create space for beauty in a session?
  • How could you add the potential for beauty to an upcoming session?

I’m on a journey to make space for beauty.

If you’ve joined the journey, thank you. Some of you have reached out to share how these resources are impacting your life and work. Again, thank you.

If you’ve yet to join, there is still time. Come be a part of this journey. We can support each other in our efforts to make space for beauty in our lives and work.Join a year of beauty