“Then I go to my brother
And I say brother help me please
But he winds up knockin’ me
Back down on my knees, oh
There have been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long
But now I think I’m able to carry on
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will”
~Sam Cooke, 1964, “A Change is Gonna Come”
One of the qualities I love about music is its’ ability to connect us in shared emotions. There’s no question that life gets rough sometimes. We all experience that at some point, regardless of our age or social status or financial wealth or geographic location. Grief, loss, depression, and difficult changes find us all anyway. That can seem especially true at the beginning of a new year.
This soulful, introspective song by Sam Cooke sums up that life experience. He sings about going through rough times, being knocked down by people he thought he could depend on, and experiencing rejection. But through it all he manages to hold on to the hope that someday it will change. That someday his life would improve. He doesn’t sing specifically about how he knows that, or even what changes he’s making. Only that he knows things will get better.
I think we can all identify with those feelings—hopeless, depressed, rejected, betrayed, grieved. If we’ve lived more than a few years, we’ve all experienced those emotions at some point in time. How do you deal with them? What coping skills do you use? Are they healthy coping skills? How do you manage and work toward resolving those feelings?
Sam Cooke worked through those feelings by writing a song. Maybe listening to music is a way you could deal with difficult feelings. Exercise is another beneficial option. Or journaling if you enjoy writing out your thoughts. Artwork is another excellent way to help deal with emotions. Talking with friends and family can also be helpful. It’s important to manage and work through those feelings. And it’s important to find some hope for the future, just like the singer in the song.
If you find that you’re not dealing with your difficult feelings in a healthy way, or you’d simply like a professional’s help in doing so, please give me a call. I’d be happy to talk with you about how music therapy can help!
~Stephanie Bolton, MA, MT-BC, FAMI