Why music can play with our emotions

About music we avoid to hear.

Why music can play with our emotions (c) KarinSieger.com

Do you, too, avoid listening to some pieces of music, because of the feelings or thoughts it may unleash in you?

There is music that defines us and tells the story of our life. There is music that talks of our past and present. And there is music that talks of what we fear may be happening right now and of what may lie ahead.

Ever since the release of David Bowie’s Black Star album in 2016 I have been unable to listen to it. My intuition (or is to my fear?) keeps telling me (or begging me), that something else has to be done first – like a little more living.

Music can

move us, in so many ways;

explain, offer shelter, a community;

be the voice we do not have;

intensify feelings until we burst and scream or sob;

caress us in the dark and lonely hours.

Listening to a piece about David Bowie on the radio shortly after his death on 10th January 2016, I became aware of a familiar shuddering deep inside.

I had noticed it before and since his death, when most pieces about him appear to have been accompanied by an extract from his song ‘Lazarus’ from his last and final album Black Star.

I have often thought about buying the album, or at least sampling it on YouTube. But I can’t – yet.

I trust my intuition, though I do not always honour it, and then pay the price.

Something is blocking me. And the message sounds like “not yet”.

It feels like, I am not yet ready to be moved by Black Star; because moving me, it will do, certainly.

I could speculate, whether this is a reflection on my relationship with my own mortality, my own experience of cancer, and my uncertainty whether / when / how I might die from it, or not.

Perhaps avoiding Black Star is a way of denying these possibilities. On balance, I think not.

Perhaps part of me thinks this album is best listened to, when I, too, get ready to die (assuming I will have time). Again, I do not think so.

On many days I try and get ready to live and die the best I can.

Often I struggle, just like the next person. Some days pass with a lot of focus, some days with none. That’s the way it is.


It feels like I need to do a bit more growing and maturing on my own terms and through my own lived experiences.

And that view has not changed since my second cancer diagnosis in 2018.

I think the listening and feeling experience of Black Star will be powerful and will catapult me to a new position on my path.

It feels like I need to grow a bit more backbone to make the very best of the impact. Or to withstand it…

Checking out the David Bowie website in preparation for this post, I noticed you can buy Black Star T-shirts. I have never bought such merchandise, and I am certainly not suggesting you should. But it was interesting to really tune into the feeling I had looking at the piece of clothing.

I felt an immediate pull and desire to put it on. The feeling was one of wanting to be enveloped and covered by safety, wisdom, knowledge, strength, determination, a celebration of individualism and growth – even when facing death, because that is what David Bowie and Black Star stand for, for me.

Part of me, and probably part of all of us, is yearning for all that, and yearning for a strong teacher and healer.

My feeling is, that I would want to be symbolically covered by the garment on the outside.

The music will cover inside, but the inside is not ready yet.

Then again, all of this may be a clever ploy to distract myself from the fact, that I am still struggling with my mortality, death and dying.

Who knows…

Can you relate to this? Which piece of music are you not ready to listen to?

(Based on an article published by Huffington Post)

You might also like

Find strength in our shared humanity: the example of David Bowie, you and I.

Keeping our identity despite cancer: the example of David Bowie.

Why I wish my father had talked to me about dying.

Image courtesy of pixabay


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