“Nothing connects to the moment like music. I count on the music to bring me back, or more precisely, to bring truth forward.”
Self-compassion can express itself in a variety of tones and orientations. We most often think of it as soft, gentle, internal, soothing (“yin”). But just as often, self-compassion has an external, fierce quality of action-orientation (“yang”) aspect. In this Creative Invitation, we invite you to explore yin and yang aspects of self-compassion from both receptive (listening) and expressive (movement, in this case) perspectives.
Listening out: Which songs evoke the qualities of yin and yang?
Please spend a little time remembering music that you’ve heard or that you’re curious about. Begin to compile two categories of music: songs that evoke a felt sense within you of the “yin” quality of self-compassion (soothing, gentle, inwardly turned), and the second that evokes a sense of “yang” sense of self-compassion (action-oriented, fierce, outward). Listening deeply and staying connected to the essence of what those aspects mean for you. You may post your selections to the discussion board, or directly to your class playlist.
Listening in: What is the felt sense of yin and yang within you?
Exploring the playlists we’ve collectively created below. (To listen to the full list, you’ll need to have a free Spotify account.) Scan through the music and notice whether there are any songs among them that evoke a particularly strong sense of yin or yang within you. Chose one song from each list and simply pause and BE with the music, listening deeply, being present the quality of the sensations that arise within the body, as well as thoughts, judgements, feelings, or impulses that arise. Notice whether there is a difference between what arises when listening to your “yin” songs as compared to the “yang” songs.
Take a moment to journal your experience of listening inward to these two songs.
You may stop there or journey into movement, Part III.
Expressing the felt sense of yin and yang through movement
A word about movement to music…
For some, this can feel deeply vulnerable. If this sounds familiar, we encourage you to go easy and start very small. Notice whether resistance or dread pops up. Can you be present with what is, not turning away from your experience? As in all MSC exercises, we invite you to check in with your own needs from the inside > out to discern the most wise way forward for YOU.
Play your two songs again, but this time, allow the body to move as it wishes.
Let any movement be a response to the energy within you. There is no “right” or “wrong.” There is simply movement.
A slow awakening of the muscles, the bones. Listen impeccably to your inner experience. What is it like to embody yin and yang? Let the movement experience unfold exactly as it needs to, for as long as it wishes to.
When you’re finished, turn off the music, pause, and notice the effect within you.
- Were you able to identify a felt sense of yin and/or yang within as you listened to the music or moved to it?
- How did you relate with any critical voices that arose?
- Did anything surprise you about this experience?