For we need a little music, need a little laughter
Need a little singing ringing through the rafter
And we need a little snappy, happy ever after
We need a little Christmas now
. . .”

I need a little music, not just at Christmas time, but every day. Don’t get me wrong–attempts to be more comfortable with silence has been a constant preoccupation. However, after nearly forty years of sitting quietly in daily meditation, I must also turn on Mahler, Joni Mitchell, Native American flute music, or whatever matches my mood, to stir me into action each day. As I write this, I am listening to KUSC, my favorite classical station for “Mozart in the Morning,” which provides a rich background for my daily tasks. Music takes me to an inner silence and helps distract me from the worries that often plague me when all the demons of life fly into the darkness.

Having been silenced too many times in my life for being a woman, small in stature but with a curious mind and a gift for speaking up, I was often told (verbally and nonverbally) that I was too loud, too forceful, too intimidating. Frequently scolded to “tone it down,” when I was young, I learned to be silent when I wanted to yell out; to swallow anger, dismay, questions, and loud belly laughs so that I would not disturb anyone. It has taken many years of inner work to relinquish these engrained early messages. Music has always empowered me, comforted me, lifted my moods and allowed me to wallow in emotions for however long I choose. Music is the voice of God who repeats “I love you” in the notes, stanzas, crescendos, and lyrics of countless composers and musicians.

It is December 29th. The doldrums of the Christmas season have perhaps set in at your house and you just want to move on, be done with all the false merriment. Resist the urge. Put on some music you love today. Sit down, cover up with a blanket, and just listen to one great piece, or one favorite album in the space of your own personal silence, a forever gift flowing over the soundwaves of time.

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