Thursday, August 24th 2017

MyTunes: Cosmic answers from an iPod

Silhouette With Clipping Path Digital Music

Even something as materialistic as an MP3 player can help us connect and communicate with the universe

GUEST COLUMN: AMY LEASK — When I bought my iPod, it was with great chagrin. I was teaching at the time, and I competed with the little electronic beasts for my students’ attention on a daily basis. I did the “pull out your earphones” gesture about as often as I turned a page.

I wanted one to keep myself alert, as well as relaxed, while slogging through my very large pile of grading. It worked; within weeks I was so smitten with my new toy I purchased a colorful sticker to disguise its bland, silver exterior and hungrily downloaded anything funky enough to capture my interest.

Not only was it as cute as a button, but the perfect song title would dance across its tiny screen whenever I needed a lift — like it knew me.

What Would Madonna Do?

mod-253305_madonnatourpic-11It didn’t take long to notice that my new musical friend played favorites: songs and artists tended to repeat themselves. One week my iPod had a thing for Blondie; the next, it was preoccupied with George Clinton.

I turned it over and over in my hand, wondering how musical taste could be built into something the size of a credit card. It occurred to me that my iPod’s predilection for choosing certain songs could be put to good use. One day, when I was contemplating the mysteries of the universe, I set the little gadget to shuffle, took some cleansing breaths and asked a few key questions.

I wondered: ‘What should I do about this manuscript I’ve been working on,’ and hit play. Bob Marley advised, “Don’t let them change ya! Or even rearrange ya!” Interesting.

Then I inquired about another project that wasn’t getting the reception I had hoped for. The answer came from The Doors who reassured me, “People are strange, when you’re a stranger.” Whoa.

When I asked how my friend in a different province was feeling, Neil Young responded with, “I need you.” I called her later that evening.

No, I didn’t start thinking that my iPod was possessed, or that helpful little house elves were sending me messages through something I bought at a big box store. I like to think that the universe has better things to do than speak to me through my stereo equipment (that’s what grilled cheese sandwiches and sweat stained t-shirts are for). It wasn’t fool-proof either. I’m still trying to figure out what spiritual lessons can be learned from “The Macarena” or “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”

The New Ouiji?

The entire exercise demonstrated that in some bizarre and Jungian way, one can use the songs in a playlist to help clear one’s head and get some much-needed perspective.

Even a beginner model iPod like mine can hold enough tunes to a keep person surprised. An eclectic music collection helps too, as wisdom and clarity often come in unexpected forms. If one listens with one’s right brain, “Baby Got Back” becomes a lesson in positive body image, and “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” encourages one to lighten up a little. Songs like “Shiny Happy People” and “We Are the Champions” are fairly self-explanatory.

Music has always, to use a cliché, soothed the savage beast. Apparently, with the help of a hand-held MP3 player, and a willingness to listen to just about anything, it can also serve the same function as a deck of tarot cards, or a magic 8 ball. But life, the universe, and everything else are much easier, and more fun, to decipher while singing off-key and dancing around the living room.

amy-leasksmallAmy is a freelance writer and educator with a particular interest in spirituality and a love of fiction, poetry and children’s literature.  Read more of her work on her blog and her site.   Read her recent articles for Soul’s Code: Gross! The great unifier of the human collective and Is it time to give pirates a moral break?

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One Comment on “MyTunes: Cosmic answers from an iPod”

  1. Brilliant. "Connected". And beautifully presented.

    Thanks for the money-shot :)

    The entire exercise demonstrated that in some bizarre and Jungian way, one can use the songs in a playlist to help clear one’s head ...

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