I Was A Sick Child: On Transformation Through Music and Song

I don’t consider myself a “healer” — like so many gifted and generous people I’ve come across who work in various healing arts modalities, mental health, and medicine — but I do know that I’ve been healed in some powerful ways by making music.

Music outside of my own long had the power to move me in transformational ways, but it wasn’t until I started making my own music at age 25 for the very first time that I felt myself begin to change at some of the highest and deepest levels of being I had ever experienced.

I enjoyed singing from a young age, but I was very shy, so I turned my creativity to fine art and writing, knowing deep in my heart that I would continue to pursue these passions for the rest of my life. And while I still pursue writing very actively and art a little less so currently, when making music came into my life it completely took over and transformed not only my life path but the very nature of myself. The songs I started writing came out of my darkest places. The inspiration from the music of my keyboard pulled words out of my subconscious and exposed them to light — the light of consciousness, understanding, healing, and ultimately, of community and sharing with others. This was the “shadow work,” I had unknowingly begun.

I believe that anyone can make music, and even more so that anyone can sing. It’s elemental. Human nature. We are our own call of the wild. And I believe your song can heal you.

My wish for you is to find it, and let it out.

“And if we travel far enough on the path of song, we risk triggering something truly transformational. Our own preschooler will emerge. The child in us will leap out and go wild. We do not act like children when we sing. We become children when we sing. We sing like we’re fresh from the womb, new to this earth, releasing with raw, uncultivated abandon. Wild like a child.

Many of us don’t want to go there. We feel ashamed of our wild child. Who knows what he or she might do? On the path of song, guaranteed, we will meet the child within. We will also run smack into our shame, the shame we felt when the world first let us know, ‘You’re not worthy of love just as you are.’ We will dip our toes into shame’s primordial pool, into the dark waters out of which, long ago, our ego emerged.”

–Benjamin Shalva, “The hidden power of singing, loudly, and no matter what you sound like” (The Washington Post)