Before I list the songs that comprise my current top five (for my top 40s), may I share with you some of the 'dare to dream' lessons learned from this six-part series 'Tell your soundtrack story'?
1) Re-listening to beloved childhood music helps us become the hero of our story
As I re-listened to music I loved as a girl, I remembered (I really had forgotten) that I once LOVED making music, playing the piano in particular. Which is why my recently volunteering/being asked to play the piano every Sunday for the children at our church is such a gift; I'm rediscovering the making of music, and taking back something that I loved. I'm even toying with trying to compose a children's song. Any lyricists or poets among you?
As you listen to music from the time in your life when you still knew you were Rachel (see Thank Heaven for Little Rachels below), what do you remember about who and how you wanted to be? How can this remembering help you to be the hero of your story?
2) Are any of the songs/musicans we loved as teenagers the keepers of our dreams?
In his book 'This is Your Brain on Music', Daniel Levitin writes "Safety plays a role for a lot of us in choosing music...To an extent, we surrender to music when we listen to it -- we allow ourselves to trust the composers and musicians with a part of our hearts and spirits." (see Soundtrack Story: Career, Motherhood and 9/11 below) Remember how each of my soundtracks had a song that I labeled as my 'imagine and explore' songs, from 'Everybody wants to be a Cat', 'Play that Funky Music White Boy' to 'Smooth'?
As you re-listen to music you loved as a teenager, is it accurate to say that these songs felt safe to you? What did you aspire to be or do that you couldn't share with others, but shared with the musicians you listened to? Is it time to take this piece of our selves back?
3) Soundtracks tell the story of finding our voice
It is interesting to me that I loved Helen Reddy's 'I am Woman' thirty years ago, but it is striking that my 'girl power' songs have evolved from the myth of Psyche's head-butting to fleece-gathering 'girl power' (see Second Thoughts on Psyche's 2nd Task below) whether India.Arie or Zap Mama's songs.
What will your soundtrack say about the finding of your voice?
Virtual Insanity -- In the spring of 2005, just weeks prior to my leaving Merrill Lynch, I was in Holland in the back of yet another cab. Jamiroquai's 'Virtual Insanity' came on the radio. I was so taken with the music, I asked the driver to turn the volume up really loud. This song, more than any other, reminds me of the thrill of imagining and exploring and then daring.
Sweetest Someone that I Know -- It wasn't until my husband and I had been married for over 20 years that I heard a song that pinpointed how I feel about him. It is fitting that this song came from the mind and heart and voice of Stevie Wonder. It also reminds me that when we as women undertake the hero's journey, the journey only has meaning if it helps us be happy at home.
Miss Q'In - Love the music. Love the lyrics more. Zap Mama distills into one song my hope for me and for all women -- that we may travel far and wide, seeking to be a princess, but eventually we will realize that what we want is to be 'me'. Such a Rachel, learning-to-be-the-hero-of-our-story, song.
For Good -- I've written extensively on this song (see Why I Like Wicked below), but at its most basic this is my systergy song. It always reminds me how happy and grateful I am to have so many women with whom I can share the dreaming and daring.
Beautiful Flower -- India.Arie is herself a huge admirer of Stevie Wonder. Yet another Rachel, myth of Psyche song. For more details, see the 'A Song to dream by' below.
P.S. One of my runner-up songs is Tamyra Gray's Ha Ha. This song gives utterance to the anger that I, and perhaps you, sometimes feel when what we want to give the world isn't received. (Note too that I was only willing to give it runner-up status -- some interesting psychology there no doubt). I've got a lot of thoughts about why anger is our friend. Another day.