music & mind
How art can change your life.
Inspired by Dr Chatterjee‘s Feel Better Live More podcast with Rick Ruben.
All time music producer and one of the most influential people in the world, Rick Ruben discusses with Dr Chatterjee about his artistic approach, for him through record production, to living your best life.
Our world is ever changing, it can be turned upside down with a single phrase, act or thought that can trigger a heavy life obstacle. Cancer evokes all different emotions, the good, the bad and the ugly. For Cervical cancer week I’m highlighting this incredibly powerful podcast in hope to offer a new perspective to anyone going through or supporting a loved ones journey in both physical and mental health realms.
Ruben has released his seven year project, The Creative Act where he states we are all artists – whatever our creative output in life is.
The value and beauty of imperfection can guide us to make choices and try new experiences. Ruben talks of how authenticity and values should come first, and your ‘audience’ should come last in any creative act, which is why medicine is more art than science. Internalised creativity can be more than physical art, it can be a way of being.
“Ruben talks of how authenticity and values should come first, and your ‘audience’ should come last in any creative act, which is why medicine is more art than science.”
The book is more than a music moguls biography, it’s a book about how to live, it’s not about facts, it’s about thoughts. Art is a metaphor for our lives. It’s our curated output, a way to make every choice count rather than sleep walking through everyday, simply repeating yesterday.
The way we choose to live in the world, impacts our ability to make more beautiful things. Art is less about the making, more about the being.
This philosophy helps him achieve optimum health both physically, nutritionally and mentally.
Humans are infinitely creative, you don’t have to be an ‘artist’ but to enjoy the expression of creating and tapping into your subconscious mind. Reducing expectations of yourself and what you want your ‘audience’ to believe or think about your work and ultimately, you.
In many ways, managing feedback and criticism in your art can be relayed in your day to day. In every case, it leads to a project getting better. Getting perspective from others can help you understand how people see things differently to you.
Critical conversations need to be impersonal, Ruben encourages feedback to be for the success of making the project, song, model, book, life choice better. This will bring a more productive outcome, including how you speak to yourself.
“when you tell yourself “I can’t do it” – remember you just haven’t done it yet, there’s nothing you can’t do.”
For instance when you tell yourself “I can’t do it” – remember you just haven’t done it yet, there’s nothing you can’t do. You can find out how well you can do something but nothing is out of reach.
Insecurity is only a hindrance when you stop sharing what’s in your heart. Once you start trying to do something for an outcome, that’s where the problems start to rise and you fracture who you really are. You can’t make art or good decisions if you are thinking about the success of the outcome. We can set the stage, but we can’t make it happen. By ensuring the audience’s expectations come last, delivers a more authentic result in generally anything you do.
Art and Science
Dr Chatterjee believes that more often than not, there are so many ways to help alleviate health challenges.
Art and creativity is about the way we experience life. If life is art, and creativity is an expression, then maybe how we are with our loved ones and with ourselves, is creativity too.
“The ability of ‘wellness sustainability’ isn’t in a pill, it’s often in a lifestyle change.”
The ability of ‘wellness sustainability’ isn’t in a pill, it’s often in a lifestyle change. Our collective modern lifestyles are a trigger for depression and anxiety. The pill is just a stepping stone of a wider circle.
If art is an authentic expression of ourselves, and if we do it regardless of what others think, we can begin to live with our true selves and adhere to values we hold within ourselves.
If you are not living in alignment of your values, that disconnection of who you are enables you to start to put things into that void, sugar, alcohol etc. If you can be totally authentic, you can evaluate what is important to you.
“start the day by going outside the minute you wake up before anything else.”
A suggestion to Rick was to start the day by going outside the minute you wake up before anything else. This felt hugely out of his comfort zone, he may as well have been asked to jump off a cliff. Being your authentic self is about being your authentic animal on this planet. Aligning with the sunrise can reset your mindset and improvements begin to show by resetting your circadian rhythm.
Ruben has been overweight all his life, and his mother was wheelchair bound due to obesity. A long life battle. Rick reached out to Dr Phil Maffetone, who ended up radically changing his life.
Ruben became in tune with the planet, changed his diet and began low aerobic exercise to slowly rebuild his health. He tapped into his circadian rhythm and a radically reduced calorie diet and lost more than a third of his body weight in 14 months.
“If you remain open minded there are always things you can try, and something along the way will stick.”
Everyone is different so what works for one may not work for another. If you remain open minded there are always things you can try, and something along the way will stick.
If it doesn’t make sense, find out more, seek insight and learn. Try to find out how something could work for you rather than proving why it won’t. Both in your art and life.
Ruben relays his experience with depression and how difficult it is, not understanding why you feel bad. Depression is so crippling because it doesn’t make sense. It is something that has been triggered by an emotional response that can make you feel like you are physically dying.
“His lightbulb moment was the realisation that you shouldn’t always trust yourself.”
His lightbulb moment was the realisation that you shouldn’t always trust yourself. There are times when you need to experiment and do things in a way that doesn’t feel right to you and see what happens. Nothing tends to be true in moments of extreme. Lean in and trust someone else for a new perspective.
Rules are there to be tested. It can be useful or not, but sometimes we adopt rules as a limitation to create a specific outcome.
Rules are there to establish an average behaviour. Average is not something to aspire to, especially in art. Creating something incredible is about going beyond the norms.
Rick relays a story told by one of the world’s top brain surgeons who went beyond what the textbook said in hope to save a patient. It worked, he chose to take a different path. It is thought that at least half of what is taught in medicine is either wrong or obsolete. Don’t always go with what the textbook says.
The power we have is embracing how little we know and to live in wonder.
Finally and simply, make art that moves you.
A note from Wholesome World
Following heavy battles with cancer treatment, depression and anxiety, I wish I had this insight and perspective sooner.
In the Wholesome World Cookbook & Life, I talk about ‘Music and Mind’ as during this time, one of the easiest ways to ease my headspace was to listen to music. Music meditation is known for its positive mental effects, and is something that I find can pull me away from stressful thoughts.
I use it when I’m walking along the coast, easing my way into a daily routine and I personally find it a useful outlet for my feelings.
Through treatment, I lost my ability to focus for any length of time. I all but lost the capacity to memorise things, due to the loss of my left anterior temporal lobe, which for example, made it difficult trying to follow a narrative in a book or a film. However with music, I didn’t need to as I felt that I could start and finish whenever I wanted, and I hadn’t missed anything. A great step back into normality.
Without music, I had no outlet for my emotion. I hope this offers a fraction of comfort through any heavy time you or a loved one is going through.
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