I think I got your attention. While my first title for this month’s message was “Country Music on your Dial”, I thought the title to Joe Nichols’ song might catch more attention. Historically, I haven’t been a country music fan, but recently have had a new understanding of the appeal of country music. Actually, it’s a bit of a professional interest as I believe that country music may have even some hypnotic tricks that other genres of music don’t.
“You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em”… and other life lessons on country songs
Country songs are stories. The mind loves stories and metaphors. Just as Kenny Roger’s “Gambler” gave advice about how to live life at the same times as teaching poker, the simplicity of country music’s messages make them memorable. While I may have come from a different background than many of the singers on the radio, there seem to be some sensible advice available and some general philosophies that I can connect to.
It’s the way with hypnosis and with any influencing concept. There’s a universality or connection that the speaker/singer makes with the listener – that someone has a link with us and our lives (where we were or where we’re going). Metaphors, when used in a hypnotherapeutic environment, often take the situation of an individual and weave it into a series of similar characters or situations that end up at the other end with insight and positively viewed experiences. “The man I want to be”, “work hard play harder”, “put you in a song” are all titles you can guess might connect with people on one level or other – that’s one of the reasons why they stick and are so popular. When I’m nodding in the car and saying, “you’re right, Kenny”, I know he’s connected with me…
“The House that Built Me”… country songs look at “what might have been”
Country music, known for its blue storylines like “my wife left me, my dog left me…” Many of the lyrics are general life ‘lessons’, based along painful pasts (or maybe good starts gone wrong). Subjects like “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” and “your cheatin’ heart” are expressions of hurt and remorse. Others take a moment for reflection in the past to redirect like “I thought that if I could touch this place or feel it, the brokenness inside me might start healing,” like Miranda Lambert’s house that built me. While other genres of music deal with the ups and downs of life, country seems to have the blues down pat. And I like it for being able to feel the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Twenty years ago I heard a song about a woman who had fought with her husband and was thinking about making up with him, but didn’t because “I’m still angry”. I can’t find it anywhere, but I still remember it. And I’ve sometimes felt the same way and don’t feel so alone in my feelings. That’s where I find country songs great – while we might feel like we’re the only one with a problem, they seem to sing about topics that ‘we don’t talk about at the dinner table’ and can help us realize that our downs are still part of the human condition.
Often we can learn from others mistakes, the consequences they are dealing with, the feelings they are going through. Whether they are warnings or ‘agony aunts’/”Dear Abby”, songs can make us feel. And as I’ve found with hypnotherapy, some of the greatest transformations happen when we connect with the emotional subconscious mind to work through our pasts with greater understanding, compassion and hope, so we can redirect our own lives for the future.
“So turn in on, turn it up, and sing along”… how country songs seem to be “always on my mind”
I’ve already mentioned that country songs talk about feelings, use metaphors and universal stories to connect with us and our minds, but the best part about this type of music is that I’m singing like a cowgirl by the second chorus. The subconscious loves repetition, loves repetition. It seems to me that the verses are shorter, the tunes are steadier, and the refrain is easy enough to catch my ear and roll off my tongue. While I don’t have the courage to be a karaoke cowboy, I know that my shower and car are witness to my ability to learn country songs better than any other form of music. They stick in my head – and that’s hypnosis. When something unconsciously comes to mind, when the words emerge from my mouth without a moment’s hesitation, I know that country songs have hypnotized me (radio repetition of hits contributing nicely to their perfect form).
The more we repeat something, the simpler it is and the more relatable it can be, the more hypnotic the suggestion. Just notice what you repeat verbally or in your head – some may come from childhood repetition (2×2 is 4, 4×4 is 8…), but some are more recent. Whether they are from the past or the present, make sure that the songs running around your head are ones that support you. I love to hear the ones that both make me feel good and “felt good on my lips.”
As Brad Paisley puts it so well – “you think you’re one of millions, but you’re one in a million to me.” You really are.
Y’all come back (for next month’s newsletter), ye hear?