Pause Before the Climb

Hello once again to those of you who have been patient and persistent enough not to unsubscribe me from your mailbox despite my long silence. The Marywood Music Therapy Department has continued to grow and amidst its growth, it’s wonderfully progressive Music Therapy Director, Dr. Anita Gadberry, has moved on to University of North Dakota. Such a loss for the Music Therapy students and faculty, but what a gain for UND! I have truly enjoyed working with such an empowering professional. The loss for me is heartfelt, but as the door closes, I am waiting to see what a new open window will bring.

Also amidst the ongoing changes, Summit Music Therapy of Pennsylvania, owned and operated by Cheryl Mozdian, MT-BC – also a colleague at Marywood – and my own Back Mountain Music Therapy are joining forces. Each established in two separate counties, we are hoping to work together to aid the growth of Music Therapy in this part of PA.

As much change, positive at that, is happening, part of the process is also mourning the losses. As in Music Therapy, although our forward-looking direction is where we are headed, the direction is never superseded by what is happening in the moment. As I frequently mention to my students, no one climbs a constant incline. Sometimes we have to pause and rest, and take in what is surrounding us before continuing on. Sometimes in therapy, when we are out of breath and need to pause, it doesn’t always look like our clients are still headed upward. They are; they just need the time they need for everything to catch up, level off, properly align, and balance before leaning on the leg that will give the push up the incline again. At those times we need not worry about data progress or productivity. We need to be patient and trust. We look for the signs: eye glance, body posture, or facial expression to allow us to know where we are. Then we trust in the process, in ourselves, and in our clients, that this is what is needed now. It is important before resuming the incline, being attentive to the moment, and keeping the direction in which we are heading in mind. Sometimes the process or the client will surprise us with a turn we didn’t see or expect., yet will still continue to head in the right direction. Current societal norms make it difficult to remember this importance and need, but are part of the progressive process.

What helps us to remember the importance is to look carefully and see the very sudden signs of growth, reflection, momentary regression (we have to step to lean back on that one foot for leverage before pushing off for the climb), the positive stillness, quietness, calm, self-regulatory process that we didn’t used to see. We need to remember exactly where the client was 18 months ago compared to where they are now.

As I pause as all the school years of schools with which I am involved end, I am taking the time to clean up and reorganize, leaning back on that foot before taking off again. Take the time for the pause: it’s the reserved energy that will lunge you forward when it is time.

Antoinette Morrison, MT-BC

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