Recently I've been under some stress. Some of it is self-imposed, some of it is dished-out in the form of work; then there's the high temperatures, a desire to do good work, and mess, clutter, and daily life intruding. I had a birthday. It shouldn't be stressful, but of course, I always manage to make it so. Everyone seems to have a different way to deal with stress, and some are helpful, others, not so much. I internalize it, I am guessing, whereas one friend in particular, turns to cocktails and wine. My mother has routinely opted for a cigarette, and me? I've many times turned to music. Last year I sought help for a health condition with the use of acupuncture needles. The visits worked like this: * Sit down in big chair, * Pull up pant legs, * Get needles put in legs, arms, and head, * Lights off for an hour, while soothing music played. * Lights on, needles out, * Pay, make next appointment. Did it work? That's what everyone asked. It did, and didn't. For one thing, it was incredibly indulgent-feeling to take an hour out of your day, to sit, relax, and sit motionless in a room without the lights. For me, it was the closest I had come to meditation, and I found this practice alone, fulfilling. At home I never do this. I worry about what track is playing in iTunes, or what websites I haven't yet surfed. So, I'm writing this now, because I'd like to encourage myself to try this sometime. It's too bad we can't do this at work... just veg-out, take a so-called siesta, and give our bodies a re-charge. The question is: is music required (yes, I think it is, it helps lead the mind, and keep you awake)? And another: what music will it be? They've never played something I'd normally listen to. The same goes for the music I hear in spas. It's generally world-inspired, calming, repetitive, and... anemic. I think really engagin music might be too stimulating, yet, if the spas and the acupuncturists of the world can find something in-between crap and high-art, I think it we can likely find something in our collections, too. To my mind, something like some of Keith Jarrett's longer solo concerts come to mind; especially so his Sun Bear Concerts which are not so totally musically rich. Or his album, Dark Intervals, which for me, is a special one. One of his latest, however, is too jarring, exploring the juxtaposition of dissonant chapters with very concordant ones. George Winston? Yeah, he's got a few numbers that might fit. Even some Reich, or Glass, with their repeating patterns, might fit the bill. What some of these examples have, that for me, others do not, is personal bias for the sound-world they suggest. Chopin, Debussy, Ravel even, might fit the bill for some, but for me they suggest a time period, and one I don't often enjoy, historically speaking. That bias gets in the way of enjoying the music. Like listening to Bach, my mind becomes very engaged with the content, but instead of enjoying it (like the said Bach), it begins to count the ways I find fault. You might see one of the patterns that cause me stress in the first place. Some folks have called me a perfectionist. I find the term a compliment, but I am no perfectionist. I'm far too lazy to always strive for perfection. But I do carry with me perfectionist traits: too much attention to detail, which can get in the way of life. I think a list from thousands in our own culture, let's say, if every American, between the ages of 15-45, submitted one "track" of music that "totally" got them to relax and "zone out," we'd have an interesting ouvre. It might be a valuable resource. I'll try sleep now.