Live music is good for you ... and then wondering and wandering into realms of self-actualization
As I was reading this article -- Study shows live music is good for you (Metal Insider, April 18, 2016) -- I started reflecting on how seeing live music is something that energizes me. The article talks about research that suggests attending a cultural event helps with stress levels. They measured stress hormones to support their claim.
If you are a lover of live shows like I am, you probably don't doubt this - at least that's my guess.
Let's peak behind the veil of my mind for just a few moments ... Here I am, a 41 year old woman, married to my second husband, Chris, and we're both child-free by choice. With no kids, and a job with reasonable hours and flexibility, I've been known to take days off to be able to attend concerts. (btw, the above photo of me was taken by Chris at the last concert we went to - a crazy loud Japanese rock band called Acid Mothers Temple. we've seen them 7 times in the last 6 years -- one of the few traditions in my life that I've chosen to hold on to. if you're curious, check out AMT's song la novia)
Words (lying words) cross my mind - imagined judgments about me being immature or childish or irresponsible. Words like, I must have too much time on my hands, especially compared to the "real adults". You know, the ones with kids, and mortgages, and overflowing schedules.
I feel so very fortunate at this point in my life to have as much control over my personal time as I do, and to have the resources that I have. I live pretty simply, splurging mainly on books and things I use to express my creativity.
For many Survivors, the hardships of everyday life, the limited amount of time and energy they have to dedicate to self-care and self-growth, lack of money and resources, lack of a support system ... things that would fall under the bottom rungs of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs ... are barriers to self-actualization (aka healing, self-growth and so many metaphors you could choose)
Have you ever heard of this theory that Maslow published in 1943?
I first learned about it in undergrad school when I was taking an educational psych class. His basic premise that you have to satisfy lower level basic needs before you can move on to meet higher level growth needs. Once the lower needs have been satisfied - at least reasonably - you may be highest level that he labeled as self-actualization. Jungians might call it individualization. Others may call it other things. I lately call it becoming my authentic self.
Maslow's "hierarchy" isn't a literal pyramid, but more of a metaphor for certain aspects of the process of becoming the You that You were Meant To Be, and to describe the barriers that can hold us back.
No one escapes pathology, for no one remains unwounded. - James Hollis
Each of us -- Survivor or Not -- is capable of self-actualization, but lack of hope, lack of desire, and adverse life experiences are bound to cause you to stagnate or fluctuate between levels of the hierarchy.
Do I allow those voices in my head to hold me back? Yes, sometimes, but I'm getting better at "observing them" and letting them pass. I'm still learning how to recognize and establish healthy boundaries, so it's baby steps some days and giant strides on others for me.
I'm thankful for being in a position in my life when self-actualization seems like an attainable level of being, and that gives me hope. Hope gives me calmness in the storm of lies born of remnants of fear, guilt and shame that are completely normal for me (for you too!) as a Survivor, and even as a Human Being in general. Hope gives me the space to focus on my breath, to channel more self-love, to nurture confidence in the Self I am uncovering little by little, day by day.
Through a lens of self-healing, attending concerts is a loving gift I allow myself no matter what those voices try to tell me.
All humans have the potential for self-growth, especially if we can find the means to satisfy our "lower needs". Even if it's in baby steps ... Baby steps are still steps, and every one counts (for your intention if nothing else).