Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Berekah Project

For over six months now I have not been able to listen to music without crying. So I have not listened to music: I have not wanted to let myself cry. I have been afraid to cry. There is too much to deal with and too much to do, and if I stop, what then? If I start crying, what then? That was how it was for six months. I was frantic, too frantic to stop moving, stop doing and just be with myself and the grief and the sadness and the anger. So I wrote, I worked, I ran around doing stuff. I didn't deal with it all at once: I couldn't. People worried about me; they are starting to tell me now how worried they were.

It is getting better. I can now deal with the radio being on in the office, I can teach dance classes because that is not really listening to music. That is doing something, working, whilst music is on in the background. Although, sometimes it still breaks through and the emotion hits me and it makes me cry. I wrote about this before, and it was for a long time one of the sadnesses after the summer, that I couldn't cope with listening to music that moves me. And that is really embarrassing, if you start crying in the office, in a shop, at somone's house when they have invited you round for dinner. People invited me to gigs and I couldn't go.

A few days ago, I was contacted about this - The Berekah Prokect.

"My heart has taken up all forms.It has become a pasture for the gazelles, a church for the Christian, a synagogue for the Jew, temple for the Buddhist, a mosque for the Muslim" - Ibn Arabi ,Sufi

'Introducing a new ensemble featuring musicians of Jewish, Christian and Muslim heritage, celebrating harmony, raising awareness and bridging cultures through the power of music. Click the picture to see the band in action.
Featuring virtuoso musicians such as guitarist/composer Mo Nazam, violinist Serena Leader, Algerian percussion master Abdelkader Saadoun and TV/film composer Mark Hinton Stewart, Berakah brings audiences together through the healing qualities of music, challenging cultural stereotypes, raising awareness, encouraging acceptance and building bridges.
Each performance showcases dazzling interplay and deeply moving compositions with Jazz, Classical and Middle Eastern elements combining to create a memorable live experience

Latest Venues (click for details)

Berekah means grace, healing, forgiveness.

I'm going to try and attend.


Blogger boneycdr2 said...

Up until a few years ago, I never used to cry. I was crap at it. I'd be the one laughing and trying to cheer everyone up rather than have a good gush. And at funerals, the best I could manage was a trembling lip. That all changed after a few things happened one after the other - deaths, suicides and other things including seeing a variety of things I never thought I would have to. I now think crying has helped and it continues to help from time to time, but I tend to do it privately.

I don't like people seeing me crying. Sometimes I can't help it, like at a funeral - and I've been to quite a few of those over the past few years. And yes, sometimes a song or a moment with a piece of dialogue in a film can spark it off.

To me it's a sign that there are still some unresolved issues. It's tellng to me that the times I cry now have subsided greatly from the years of most poignant trauma in my life. My emotions are more in check and I have a pretty good idea where my head it at. The heart surprises me sometimes but I just let it come, believing that it's better to let it all out if I'm alone than bottling it up inside.

I used to do that - and like you, I used to run around and keep myself busy (or drunk, or stoned) but that had more to do with not really wanting to deal with things on a level I should probably have done ages ago.

Three years ago, I couldn't play I'm A Lucky Man without bursting into tears. I play it now, and it still has a strong emotional resonance and the full-on memory of something that happened. But I don't cry anymore because I've moved on from that place.

It's a cliche, but this all just takes time and the sooner you can do things like just letting yourself cry, giving yourself that release - and what better way than through music - then do it. I didn't in my own situation and I ended up an angrier and more fucked-up person because of it. We all have in ourselves coping mechanisms that are there for a reason and crying is one of them. Take the advice of a complete stranger, and let those tears flow. Just let them go.

January 18, 2006 9:36 am  
Blogger Clare said...

Let us know how you get on if you attend Rachel. It sounds interesting. Are you able to listen to music any better now or just certain songs?

January 18, 2006 11:40 pm  
Blogger Bob Piper said...

Rachel, you might want to try out Yasmin Levy. A remarkable woman with an incredible voice. An Israeli singer who uses Palestinian musicians and sings traditional music from Judeo-Spanish culture dating back to the Moors. Her voice is so passionate and painful, there is only so much of it you can take at one time, but hell, it's strong.

I loved Hassan's postcard, by the way.

January 19, 2006 9:33 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

Thanks for the comments,everyone. Bob, I will look out for that CD Bob. I am getting better and I have finally started getting NHS PTSD treatment after a 4 month wait and whilst it is a bit grim and upsetting in the short term, going over and over the bomb, in the long term I am hopeful that it will work better than running around frantically using my avoidance tactics of work, writing, surfing & not listening to music to avoid the blowback of 7th July.

(I think what is working for me is dealing with it all in small sized chunks. So whilst I can now accept that emotive music is going to make me emotional, this is not something to be afraid of and to cut music out of my life to avoid being emotional. Instead I am working on setting aside specific time to be emotional and look after myself. That way I can book time into my week to be sad or angry, and allow myself to cry instead of being too afraid to start in case I never stop.

I have also desensitised myself to the Coldplay 'Fix You' song
( hooray!) that was the main trigger by playing it over and over and over again and having a big cry until I couldn't cry anymore.

I don't even like Coldplay, but that bloody song got through the defences and felt like it was THE song of 7th July for me, and it was on the radio all summer long so it was very difficult. Anyway, now that one is copable with and when I hear it I can keep it together. Thank God, because I used to break down every single time I heard it wheich was a nightmare in an open plan office

It all takes a long time, which is frustrating. I would say it took 3 months before the shock went, during which time I was numb. Then the fear came, panic attacks and sense of horror. Lots of avoidance tactics deployed to try to manage this, none of which worked. Now the grief and guilt is coming out and the sadness, and music is such a powerful tool to deal with this, I have to use it sparingly in order not to be overwhelemed. But at least I can use it again. I just have to make sure I have quiet time afterwards because it is pretty exhausting.

anyway, long sorry-for-myself reply. But yes, it is getting better. I wish that it didn't take so long; it is hard to explain why you still feel affected by something that happened 6 months ago

January 19, 2006 12:14 pm  
Blogger boneycdr2 said...

it may be very hard to explain, but it's very, very easy to understand.

January 19, 2006 1:06 pm  
Blogger Dr. Deb said...

This sounds good. Let us know what it is like.


January 19, 2006 1:25 pm  
Blogger steve said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

January 19, 2006 4:52 pm  
Blogger steve said...

I was never as affected by music as you were, but I know where you're coming from.

It's funny you mention Coldplays "fix you" as the main trigger, as for me was "speed of sound" by Coldplay (not a fan myself either) which had a similar effect. It was the first song I heard after getting off the train, it was on the radio in a newsagents where I was asking for directions walking back from Royal London Hospital. So it would obviously have an effect on me. 2 lines in particular...

"Birds came flying from the underground
If you could see it then you'd understand"

Besides reminding me of July 7th it also reminds me how lucky I am. Maybe 4 or 5 steps to my right on the platform and I wouldn't have ever heard it in that newsagents... or ever again. So it affects me both negatively and positively, and it is this which drew me back to playing it again and again.

Another song that affected me was "gravity" by Embrace, which happens to be written by Chris Martin of Coldplay. But this is because a special news report on July 7th or 8th showed images of the day with "Gravity" as backing music. This was irresponsible in my opinion, you shouldn't need to put images like that with music to have a greater affect on people. Something ITN got in trouble for after putting 9/11 to music.

Steve (KCU)

January 19, 2006 7:24 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the first comment - if the music brings tears, then so be it - let the tears out. You could try a listen to music that might have provoked such a strong emotion even without having gone through what happened in July. Given the right atmosphere, the waterworks always start up when I hear Fauré's Requiem, for instance.

Whatever type you listen to though, I'm confident the beauty of the music will soon transcend the sadness and will start to be truly therapeutic.

January 20, 2006 2:28 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home