When did I stop humming?  I had always hummed and sung to myself as I went about household chores until…..until what?  How can something so natural, so integral to who I am, just disappear?  I honestly can’t recall when humming/singing gradually receded or why.  But somewhere along the way I lost touch with the spontaneity which inspired that.  I do know that I began to notice this loss in the midst of the pandemic—in the slowing down of the speed of my life, in the noticeable quiet. 

So now I seek to remind myself to engage in humming.  There are certainly benefits.  Did you know athletes are trained to hum prior to and during events to minimize any negative thoughts?    Perhaps you remember little Jessica trapped in a deep well in Texas years ago, humming to herself, comforting herself and making her desperate situation more bearable. 

Making “a desperate situation more bearable” seems like a reasonable quest these days.  Music generally, can help ease chronic pain, anxiety and depression.  It contributes to relaxation and health, even improving pre-surgery stress and post-surgery outcomes and enhancing the quality of sleep.  Researchers in Finland concluded that when stroke patients listened to music for two hours a day, their verbal memory and attention improved and they had a more positive mood compared to patients who didn’t listen to music or who listened to audio books.

So I challenge you to hum in the coming week or select some music that you find uplifting.  You might pay attention to other sounds and actions that have soothing effect…..the gentle purring of your cat as you pet her; listening to the rhythmic hum of cicadas as the evening fades; noticing even the soft “swoosh” of the dishwasher as it runs.  Be creative how you respond to this challenge.  Any positive effort you make contributes to improving the emotional atmosphere and making “a desperate situation more bearable.”

 May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter.

Shalom, Kate

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