After-the-Midterms: Hope is Here

Rejoice! Democracy is alive and kicking.  The midterm elections came and went, and it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.  I still feel a little bit disappointed. However, I feel grateful, excited and relieved that there was such a higher voter turnout for these midterm elections. I am also heartened to see that abortion rights activists also had many victories on this night, affirming our country ‘s desire to let individual women and their partners make their own choices about their reproductive rights (  I feel very strongly about this as a female myself who wants control over my own reproductive decisions.

I’m also so grateful that the election was overall peaceful. I have not read any stories yet about voter suppression. I am so glad that it seems our country is moving in a more positive direction.  (And y’all who meditated with me with the intention of peaceful elections helped make this happen. We might be only a few, though every positive, peaceful intention )  I was feeling anxious and scared before the elections, because there has been reports of violence at polling places in harassment of voters. And yet, things seem to be relatively peaceful.  

I hope that everyone feels renewed energy to continue to work towards unity and to make this country a better place. I think my big take away from this election cycle is simply that people in this country, red and blue, are deeply committed to democracy, despite the threats to if (the previous presidential administration and January 6th, etc).  Free and peaceful elections where EVERYONE who wants to vote and can, are what makes this country great. I am hopeful that things will get better going forward. 

And yet, we (the United States) still have a lot of work to do. We need to continue to work towards advancing reproductive rights, which are still under threat. We need to continue to work to support those who are oppressed. We need to continue to work to open our hearts to neighbors who have different political beliefs than us. I include myself in this category as well because I can get judgmental of people who have different political beliefs that I do.  I’m embarrassed to admit this, though it’s true. I try my best to catch myself when I judge others because I know it’s not helpful. I don’t have all the answers about the right way to be, I just have a sense of what I feel is right in my heart and try to vote in ways that uplift all people, not just my own personal interests. I’m sure many of you are the same out there. I’m not much of a political junkie or policy wonk, but I vote, and it matters to me to be a deep thinker about the social issues of our time. 
 I also feel inspired to be more civically involved, in small ways, and in big ways. Whether that’s volunteering more for the political party I affiliate with, getting involved, donating time and money, or even just volunteering in the community in various ways. It feels like there is a light lit within the country again, where we are seeing the goodness again in all of us. That is something truly to celebrate. In closing, I feel so grateful to be able to be doing Jazz Therapy and for all of you who meditate with me, and, of course, listen to jazz alongside me.   
Hope is light in the darkness for all of us.

Jazz Therapy Weekly Meditation: Post-Midterms

In this meditation, we will:

  • Send positive energy to the political party we identify with
  • Send positive energy to the opposing political party
  • Send positive energy to all the newly elected politicians all over the country, in the hopes that they serve the country’s highest good

Jazz Therapy Weekly Playlist: Post-Midterms Beats

We have a great playlist this week (I will say that every week, since how can you ever go wrong with Jazz?)

Here is my commentary on the playlist in video form (new this week for Jazz Therapy!)

Emotional Dwelling (To Mirror Your Mood)

“Blues for Tomorrow,” Thelonious Monk Septet, Monk’s Music, 1957

This album is phenomenal, and features Monk on piano, Coleman Hawkins on tenor sax, and Art Blakey on drums.  I chose this song, since although it is “Blues for Tomorrow,” predicting some sadness ahead; yet there is also a hopeful, lively quality to the song as well.  And this is how I feel about the mid-term elections. Things are moving in the right direction.  Monk’

Emotional Elevation (To Feel Better)

“Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams,” Ernestine Anderson, It’s Time for Ernestine, 1958

This lovely song inspires a sense of gossamer light and hope for the future.  That’s how I feel after the election-things will keep getting better.

Emotional Reverie (To Dream and Remember)

“Birdland Betty,” Buck Clayton and Buddy Tate, Buck and Buddy, 1961.

I featured this track since it is Buck Clayton’s birthday on November 12th.  This track is jaunty and makes me think of upbeat, optimistic times, which is what I hope will happen politically. 

Emotional Tone Setting (To Intentionally Create an Emotional Vibe)

“I Want To Be Happy,” Sonny Stitt Quartet, Sonny Stitt/Budd Powell/J.J. Johnson, Prestige, 1957

Some great swingin’ happening on this track, with tenor sax’s Stitt and Powell.  The lyrics that go with this song are “I want to be happy/But I won’t be happy/Till I make you happy too,” and this makes me think about the U.S Constitution, where the founders specifically mention “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  I want all people to be happy, including those who have different political beliefs than me. 

Emotional Galvanization (To Inspire)

“Can’t We Be Friends?,” Buck Clayton and Buddy Tate, Buck and Buddy, 1961.

Another two from this great team.  This song makes me think about how we can be more connected to those who have different views than us.  Thus, the title of the song implores us-“Can’t we be friends?”

Here is the Playlist on Spotify:

Jazz Birthdays (Each week, we will highlight birthdays of jazz performers around the world.  We are grateful they exist!)
Ernestine Anderson, November 11th (1928-2016)
This talented American vocalist had a melodious, uplifting tone.
Buck Clayton, November 12th (1911-1991
This talented American jazz trumpeter played enjoyed both critical and mainstream success.  His tone on the trumpet was lively and smooth at the same time.

Call for Poetry
Are you a poet? We are accepting submissions for our weekly “Poetry Play” portion of the “Jazz Therapy” newsletter! Your poem could be about jazz, civil rights, or any current event/theme that might go along with each newsletter.  You will get free publicity and appreciative eyes from the readers of “Jazz Therapy!”

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