Through some great conversation, journalling, and a dream, I realized that I over-analyze, for the most part, every part of my life. It had reached a point where I could not enjoy listening to music in the car because I was trying to determine what music best fit how I was feeling, my thought process and how it related to the music I was considering for my listening, and how I was going to feel after the music. Now, as a music therapist, these are all important and necessary decisions we make everyday when selecting music…for a client, and sometimes for yourself. I would spend most of my drive deciding what to listen to and by the time that I actually found music that made the most sense to me (after over-analysis) I was so anxious about if I was choosing the right music that I wouldn’t enjoy the music. I have been listening to podcasts for my commute for the past several months. Nowhere else did I exhibit this behavior and nowhere else was it and issue to choose music congruent with my state of being. It only occurred in my vehicle, to and from work. When I listened to music at home, I felt free, per usual. This is when I realized that there was an issue I wasn’t acknowledging. If I wanted to listen to music for my enjoyment on my drive, I should have just put my iPod on shuffle and drove. The reason: I only put music on my personal iPod that I enjoy listening to. Why analyze it to begin with? Why not just plug in, listen, and enjoy?
My problem: I was unknowingly treating myself like a client. I was trying so hard to choose music congruent with my mood that I got lost in the process. I should have trusted the process and trusted myself. The peculiar point I should note is that when I am with a client and choosing appropriate music or a music intervention or improvisation technique to apply, I trust the process and allow the therapeutic structure of our relationship to make things work. It is almost as thought I were trusting myself more as a professional and less as Dean to make music selections for myself. I understand why this was happening: over-analysis.
That is one of the reasons I am restructuring the music therapy program I began at The Pines a year ago. I over-analyzed the needs of the residents, and I over-analyzed their abilities and disabilities. During my internship, I realized just how important silence is and this moment of realization reminds me of that experience. Sometimes you need to take a step back and take your eyes off of every brush stroke in your painting…you have to give your brain a different perspective. If you can see every brush stroke it doesn’t mean that you have to analyze every one, only appreciate them as their part of the whole.
So for the past few days, I have been really enjoying music on my drive to and from work. I have taken a step back and realized that by over-analyzing myself, over-analyzing my clients and their progress, by over-analyzing everything that I have taken the beauty away from the joy I get from those experiences. I pushed myself into a bit of an existential crisis. When over-analysis becomes the focus, you lose sight of what the focus should actually be: the process.