Posted by: Summer Katz, M.A., NCC, LMHC, Patient Advocate/Photo by: Bedya
A Few Initial Thoughts…
Recently, the Cystic Fibrosis Pharmacy was shaken by the loss of Erin Phillips, who was the reason for the genesis of this specialized organization. As you may know, Erin is the granddaughter of Beverley Donelson who played an integral role in the pharmacy’s start-up.
I have actually known “Grandma Bev” since I was about five years old when I attended Sunday School at the same church with her in Orlando, FL. Highlights of Erin’s journey were regularly shared with me over the years, as I would interact with the CF Pharmacy and Grandma Bev, and I can recall feeling inspired and motivated by Erin’s incredible “go-getter” attitude.
Having met and interacted with Erin a few times over the years, as she participated in the Breathe Easy Foundation, as well as the More Than Just Miles & Smiles Projects of the More Than Just Me Foundation, it saddens me to know that such an incredible person with a powerful spirit is gone. For me, Erin’s loss is a devastating tragedy to all of those connected to her family and friends, as well as another terrible reminder that cystic fibrosis and its many consequences can lead to an untimely, unexpected and unfair death.
I started writing this blog when my work as Cystic Fibrosis Pharmacy’s Patient Advocate was just beginning. The intention behind sharing the info was to provide positive encouragement to bring healthy reflection into others’ lives. A part of this reflection is exploring and coping with the highs and lows of life.
In this blog, we’ll explore music as a coping tool and the beneficial goal of taking advantage of music as a healthy outlet to acknowledge emotion, no matter the situational experience. There are many ways to internalize music.
Personally, I have known so many people that have lost their lives too young, due to chronic medical illness or sudden circumstance – too many to count. So, I would like to share this blog and Celine Dion’s “Fly” video below in memory of Erin Phillips and all who have gone before and emphasize the blessing of carrying with me both their strength and inspiration~
Using Music as a Coping Tool
Music can be an amazing tool for coping because it guides us, through the use of a creative process, to express (and reflect on) a variety of thoughts and feelings which may be related to our life experiences. When you think about the impact music has had on your own life, can you think back to one or two songs that in some way touched your soul? Certain songs are often connected to specific events (such as a wedding or funeral) and other rhythms inspire us to sing along or get up and dance.
Music can be relaxing, as well as inspiring and motivating. Consider for a moment the songs that you hear which lead you to think to yourself, “Oh good, I was hoping this song would come on today” or maybe a song comes on the radio and your thought is, “Ugh, not this song again.”
Either way, whether we are connecting to the lyrical message of the song or are moved by the instrumentation, the really great thing is that we get to choose how to internalize the energy of that music. We can choose to engage in positive messages with hope and empowerment and that is certainly better than reacting with unwanted frustration.
The beauty of music is that each creation is welcome to be received by the individual on their own terms. There is no pressure or obligation here; allowing free will as well as a brief moment of independence.
Consider, for a moment, the above artistic photo of the lady in the red evening gown. She has allowed herself to experience a sense of great freedom, carelessness and comfort, all while working inside a forest.
Kari Karington, our Media Relations at HHCS, pointed out that, “This image has a great deal of similarity to the internalization techniques conveyed in this blog. In order to create such a striking, memorable and unusual image, the photographer and model reached outside their comfort zones to combine a carefree image of a lady in bright evening wear with an environment where such attire is not usual. Yet, this model so beautifully embraced the carefree nature of the forest, while pushing aside in her mind the camera, crew and her attire.”
Ms. Karington continued, “She is in control of the moment, guided by the positive feel of the ‘best’ of that which is around and inside her, perhaps including a musical tune in her mind. She has also freed herself from any constraints of uncertainty or fear in connection with being deep inside a forest and embraced simply its beauty and free form.”
This is a subtle, but powerful message that says: sometimes we can give ourselves permission to alter our reality to stretch beyond what is real. This image demonstrates exactly how this is possible. Stretching ourselves can be often and easily accomplished with great simplicity through the use of music.
NOW, what if you incorporated free thinking into your present moment? How could you allow yourself to participate in positive reflection or even imagination to cope with what is real? Maybe, music is the answer.
So, as (or after) you read these words, I would like to encourage you to turn on the radio, push play on the downloaded music, or even go view some music videos on YouTube. Then, begin to receive those brief, creative opportunities with open-mindedness in order to experience the desired outcome of positive thoughts and feelings that may make you smile or even better your entire day.
The songs below are meant to encourage strength, acknowledge struggle, reflect on loss and spread awareness to and for the Cystic Fibrosis community. These songs certainly touch my life and I empower you to welcome music and song into your journey because I truly believe that these messages can speak to us in a powerful and beautiful way.
“Fly” – Celine Dion (2:57) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qVdFl64gt0
“I Lived” – OneRepublic (5:39) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0rxydSolwU
“Breathe” – Matt Scales (3:15) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bXNc0FkqZw
Summer Katz, M.A. NNC, LMHC
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
Cystic Fibrosis Pharmacy Patient Advocate
*Disclaimer: This blog is provided for informational purposes only (including brief topic exploration or reflection) and should not be used as a substitute for professional mental health or medical treatment. This is not an endorsement by Cystic Fibrosis & Freedom Pharmacies of the text nor videos in this blog post.