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in my words

music is medicine

music is good medicine. always has been for me. a way to feel without speaking. thoughts to process with someone else’s poetry.

and yesterday kim reminded me. and gave me an idea.

when i first wrote about my father on the 20 year anniversary of the day he died. two days ago. this year happened to be the day after father’s day. a day when my mom and i sat together looking at the rolling berkshire hills. a view that is so similar to the view of my childhood in lenox, mass. heart of the berkshires. and we listened to my dad play mozart. he was known for so much. and mozart was one thing. the concert was part of a series of concerts that took place in halls around europe where mozart himself had played. my dad also recorded cds on pianos that had been mozart’s own in austria. i can feel him so clearly when i listen and watch. technology is amazing.

and then i wrote about my father. and at the end i included the youtube video of the second movement. and then yesterday i saw kim. kim is the one who took me under her wing that first summer after my dad died. fresh out of college. columbia university. a politically correct and intellectually vibrant environment. my first job on a crew for the tv show entertainment tonight. vibrant in a whole different way.  the key was street smarts and i had very little. i showed up in cutoffs and clogs. i had to drive the van and carry the big bag. and understand new terms. i learned as i went. and kim was the one who helped me. she was the only other woman on the crew at the time. plenty of others in the office. helping run and produce that show. but she was out there with me on the shoots. at the premieres and interviews. behind the scenes. she had grown up in that world. her father an award winning sound guy. and back then she was a first time mom with an infant and already back at work. me a newly independent young woman learning to navigate life. raw with the loss of my dad. ivy league degree and no idea what i wanted to do with my life. brand new world.

kim hadn’t remembered how recent my father’s death had been when we first met. i had forgotten how young her marina was. so many good times and good people that year i was at E.T. ed burns was the other production assistant. busy in the back room writing his first movie.  Brothers McMullen.  vinny. alison. gus. steve. franny. memories tucked away and resurfacing. and eric clapton was on the radio.

kim said she had scrolled down and played the video of my dad and then gone back to read what i had written. so simple. so perfect. and music is good medicine. and so i moved the video to the top. and i’m going to keep doing that. i don’t listen when i write. but i love the idea of listening when i read.

thanks kim.

i have always loved music. all kinds. of course my earliest exposure to music was my dad playing the piano. not only those times when my brother and i would be back stage at a grand concert hall somewhere around the world. standing close to my dad as he got ready to perform. or signed autographs after a performance. or when we sat in the audience with my mom pretending to play the notes with our own little fingers. but i really loved it when my dad would just play. at home. for us and with us. and he loved to play. had a childlike way about him. his face showed that love. playing scottish jigs when my mom and her sisters were together. improvising and embellishing christmas carols. coming home from seeing the movie Chariots of Fire and sitting down and playing the piece from the end of the movie. only having heard it that one time.

like i said, my dad was brilliant. he played this one Liszt piece that was really fast and loud and my brother and i would run around his studio – an old hayloft in the barn – and just move. we couldn’t help but laugh and smile. for me music has always been a healer. a medicine.

lyrics can speak words hidden inside. when my dad first died and i needed a good cry. needed to sort out my emotions. i played this song from Les Miserables. over and over. where Eponine sings.


On my own
Pretending he’s beside me
All alone
I walk with him till morning
Without him
I feel his arms around me
And when I lose my way I close my eyes
And he has found me

the connection of music and rhythm is powerful. and i believe it is a natural connection. one that everyone has. even those people who say “i have no rhythm.” i hear it all the time. i just don’t buy it. but like anything else, it may not come easy. it may take practice. but it is there. i have seen riders in my classes at soulcycle pedal like maniacs ahead of the rhythm. or pile on resistance and keep themselves at a slow pace. with a little tinkering, a little trust, one step at a time, i have seen those same riders find their natural rhythm. and if you find the rhythm in the music. in that room with the mantra on the wall and the candles. and the dim lights. the community.  you can find the rhythm in any circumstance.

chasing cars was the first song that played in the first class i ever took at soulcycle. and i was hooked. and i closed my eyes. and i listened. and i let the poetry of the lyrics speak words for me. and i cried. emotions so connected to the music. a mom with 3 young kids. not sure what direction to go. in my marriage. in my career. had been a lawyer. full time volunteer fundraiser at the kids’ school. calhoun. what was my next step. searching.

“i don’t quite know how to say how i feel.”


and music is good medicine.

and with that first song. and the next. and the next. over days and weeks and months. i found my way back to the music. the lyrics. the rhythm. i didn’t think i could do carido. it wasn’t my thing. pilates and yoga. sure. i had been a dancer. but now i had found a place where i could move my body to the rhythm of music without having to stand in a line at a club. or wait until the summer and the unique and beautiful insanity of fire island. late night dance party. le dock. the inn. the out. a friend’s deck. the beach.

soulcycle is a way of life. and i used to believe it was true. that the room could be a metaphor for life. and now i know it. i am living it. i am teaching it at a place that welcomed me in. allowed me to forge a new path. offered me a job, even though i didn’t need a paycheck. allowed me to transition from rider to platform rider to instructor. and since i started meditating twice a day for 20 minutes, i have a new awareness. a new understanding of my role as a teacher. and soulcycle is more than a gym class. it IS a way of life. a way that has prepared me for the interval at the top of a steep hill that is called cancer and chemo. and just like in class i will define myself in this interval. and i will wake up strong.  it has saved my life. and allowed me to dream big. and i am profoundly grateful to julie and elizabeth and all the other instructors and staff and riders. it is a community. and i am accountable to that. and i love my job.

mind.body.cardio. so simple. so powerful.

and music is good medicine. and i am now. and i am now the journey.

Isn’t it Amazing by the Hothouse Flowers

Isn’t it amazing
Isn’t it amazing
We follow a winding path
Through towns of tears in laughter
Moved by the one spirit
And the spirit’s moving faster
Closer as the great eagle soars
And we follow…steady
Steady as she goes

And every cry is a song
And every song is a prayer
And our prayer must be heard
Fill the air
And every cry is a song
And every song is a prayer
And our prayer must be heard
Fill the air

Got to find the right note
How to make the right tone
How to keep it true to ourselves
Where we are coming from
What matters most is us
What matters most is now
What matters is this
How it comes and where and how… passion

Every cry is a song
Every song is a prayer
And our prayers must be heard
To fill the air

Help us make peace
Amazing grace
Morning has broken
Knocking on heaven’s door
In the garden
Forever young
No woman no cry
Ag criost an siol
Open up, open up the doors to your heart
You might need somebody, you might need somebody
Thank you for letting me be myself again


About iamnowthejourney

i am a mom. an instructor at soulcycle. a poster girl for cancer. this is what 42 looks like. this is what cancer looks like. and i've never been better.


3 thoughts on “music is medicine

  1. from one AI lover to another…

    Posted by Allison Hadar | June 22, 2011, 8:33 pm
  2. one love, girl!!! xo

    Posted by iamnowthejourney | June 22, 2011, 8:58 pm
  3. Love watching you move to the music!

    Posted by lisaleshne | June 23, 2011, 7:45 am

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