Closer To The Heart
“music is what feelings sound like.”
I often have ideas for articles long before I have the sufficient inspiration for the content necessary to create the article that I think will touch, move and inspire. As I was planning to attend a family reunion I received the news that a family friend, Taylor Watson Snyder died. I flew into Salt Lake City early to attend the funeral of someone who I once knew.
Funerals are interesting, there is an experience of mourning the loss, guilt for lack of connection, faith that this is not the last time you will see each other, etc. The circumstances were nothing short of tragic, as many stated, “a tormented depression filled life cut short”. Similar to the late Robin Williams, Taylor impressed the world with his zest for life and infectious humor. So there I sat studying the faces of those who knew Taylor much more intimately. I looked at pictures to bridge the gap of more than twenty years since I had seen him last. I can’t help but contemplate my own mortality and what that moment might be like when it is me that people are remembering, mourning and celebrating.
During the funeral a cousin, Christian Peterson and friend to Taylor asked permission of his mother to break with the program to share a few words. Taylor at one point in his life lived with Christian and they shared a passion for music and more specifically the band Rush. Maybe my only memory of Taylor was he was the first person I knew to have an electric guitar and amplifier. I remember sitting in his room being so impressed and intimidated by “the rebel” who played the electric guitar. It was important to the cousin to share with those in attendance that Taylor had an unbelievable connection to music and ability to connect with others through his talent to play the electric guitar. It was blatantly apparent that a strong bond had formed between cousins through their love of music and Rush.
After the funeral I attended a Kelly Clarkson concert, with a child who was attending her very first concert. Not to offend any Rush fans but attending the concert seemed very fitting as a continued celebration of Taylor’s life. During the funeral, Taylor’s mom Lynne Snyder spoke; someone who herself has struggled with depression and who pleaded with all members of the audience to shed the facade and authentically and vulnerably share their lives with family and friends. I was completely surprised and honored as she pleaded with the audience to provide her with their email address so that she could create a Connect52 experience in which everyone could share their experiences, memories, and stories of Taylor. During the concert, and through the music I connected with complete strangers as we collectively and vulnerably danced and sang together. Thousands connecting in that moment created by our appreciation for music. Taylor’s younger brother Bently Snyder took each of us on a journey of memories of Taylor’s life, a life of living in the moment. I couldn’t help but be touched by the Kelly Clarkson lyrics to Mr. Know It All, “You Don’t Know A Thing About Me” and be reminded of the plea of a mother who lost a son way too soon…
“Music may very well be one of those universal truths that fosters connections and propels them forward. When we disclose our favorite songs, or musical pieces that affect us in some capacity, we could be giving others a glimpse into who we are as individuals.” http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/05/04/connecting-with-others-through-music/
It is true that very few if any, “know a thing about us”. What I am taking away from Taylor’s life and the plea of his mother is that we shed the facade and authentically and vulnerably share with others our life, that we allow others the opportunity to love us and assist us in spite of our imperfections and depression.
The mother to Taylor’s children, Sharee House was nothing short of amazing as she vulnerably shared with us the messages of their children to their father as she grieved the loss of a love. Taylor suffered a torment of depression and coped with music, laughter and an abundance of love for others, but I couldn’t help but empathize for Sharee as she also experienced the devastation of disappointment as depression can consume a life and family. Sharee shared the lyrics to “Feeling Good”, by Nina Simone to share her belief of what Taylor was now experiencing in death.
“Bird’s flyin’ high, you know how I feel
Sun in the sky you know how I feel
Breeze driftin’ on by, you know how I feel
It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me.
Yeah, it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me,
And I’m feelin’ good.
…And this old world is a new world and a bold world for me…
…Stars when you shine, you know how I feel
Scent of the pine, you know how I feel
Yeah, freedom is mine, and I know how I feel…
It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me
And I’m feelin’… good.
I have recently come to appreciate the power of group therapy, as people vulnerably share their life’s experiences, I am able to relate and even recognize that I am not the only one experiencing depression, loneliness, or disappointment. I share with Lynne in asking that we be willing to share with our family and friends our flawed and imperfect selves. For those who suffer from depression what might it do for them to know that we are not only what we portray on Facebook?
“we often have a hard time expressing how we feel through words. The intellectual, verbal expression of feelings doesn’t do justice to our experience of the emotion. Connecting to music is one effective way to become more honest about who you are, what you are really experiencing, and coping with negative emotion.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/naked-truth/201410/music-is-what-feelings-sound
Recently a friend posted on Facebook, “music is what feelings sound like.” It is easier than ever to share music and lyrics and if you find it difficult to express your feelings through words then I encourage you to try sharing the songs and lyrics with a family member or friend that best illustrate how you are feeling or what you are experiencing.
Rush may have said it best…
“And the men who hold high places, must be the ones who start…”
“..to mold a new reality, “
“closer to the heart.,”
“closer to the heart.”
Start a connection revolution today, creating, molding a new reality in which we authentically and vulnerably share ourselves with the world, starting with our family and friends. Closer to the heart!
*** For anyone who knew Taylor Snyder and would be willing to share experiences, memories and stories in an effort to create a record of his life from the perspective of the hundreds of lives that Taylor touched, please contact…