This week, you'll learn how to bring music into your day.
Music lifts and soothes our spirits. It can call us to get up and dance, to sing and to jump around while making joyful noises.

Perhaps you've heard about the Mamapalooza festival—a musical movement started in 2001 when a 47-year-old mother with four kids nearly died from lupus and a kidney transplant. Believing in the healing properties of music, she gathered together a group of suburban housewives who all loved making music, but who had stopped playing because they had become mothers and were tied up with responsibilities like carpools and doing laundry. Several friends of the founder, Joy Rose, formed a band and played at a few parties. Another group of moms heard about it and did the same...and then another. Now it's a cultural "Moms Who Rock" movement, inspiring mom-bands all over the country. Joy says, "I wasn't trying to find the art in my surroundings, but the art in myself."

Another woman I know turns up her stereo as loud as she can on Saturday mornings before proceeding to dance her way through vacuuming the house to the blaring, soulful sounds of Aretha Franklin. Tell me she isn't giving herself some R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

The power of music can be seen in the ritual of an East Africa tribe whose members begin communicating what they feel in their hearts even before a child is conceived. When a mother wants a baby, she goes off alone and listens soulfully, until she can "hear" the song of the one she hopes will be born. Then she returns to the village, and she and her husband, the father-to-be, sing the song together as the child is conceived. As she carries the baby inside her, she teaches the song to the village women and midwives, who all will welcome the new soul into the world at birth by singing the baby's song. Throughout the person's life, at times of ceremony, joy or sadness, the song is sung, and it is the final refrain after death, as the body is laid to rest. From the beginning to the end of the soul's incarnation, the tribe communicates the message that the child is treasured and loved.

What kind of song would represent your life? Would it be parts of several different songs? A hymn or ballad? A guitar solo? What music stirs you, touches you, moves you and reminds you that life is a song and you can sing along?

This week, you will be encouraged to invite music into your life at various hours in various ways, and to meet various artists and composers.

Of course, as always, there are no rules. If you don't want to listen to the music I am suggesting, discover something new or listen to some old familiar tunes.

Get your first music-inspired activities for Week 12


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