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Driving therapy

Posted: September 16, 2014 10:36 a.m.
Updated: September 17, 2014 6:00 a.m.

Music has the power to influence. It has the power to evoke deep thoughts, which ultimately lead to a flow of emotions and feelings. Driving paired with music seems to increase that flow of emotions. Maybe it is the sometimes calm rhythmic movement that the steady turn of the wheels creates that appeal to the mind and body. I make a 45 to 50 minute drive to and from work five days a week, so I get plenty of time to daydream, think and devise plans of action for any situation that is heavy on my mind. No one is there to keep me entertained with conversation, so I keep myself entertained by allowing my mind to freely wander.

The combination of driving and music can be quite therapeutic. Driving along a free flowing stretch of highway forces me to do nothing but think and fade into a dream-like state of mind. The music from the radio or my CDs (most of the time my CDs) serves as background music and adds emphasis.

Occasionally, I zap back into reality and feel my hands grasping the steering wheel as I observe the road bordered by trees and a grassy median. Every now and then I see state troopers hiding between trees attempting to catch speeding cars. Some people sight the troopers in time to slow down, while others continue to zip forward.

After dodging road kill grossly lying in my path and as my pace steadies, my mind becomes a merry-go-round of thoughts again. Hazy fog makes its appearance on the road every now and then blocking my view of objects in the distance. The cloudiness surrounding me adds illusion to my thoughts and daydreams causing my eyes to glaze over.

By the time I am 15 to 20 minutes into my drive, I usually have a CD playing because I get tired of hearing constant repeats of the same songs on the radio. Most of my burned CDs (mix CDs) were created five or more years ago, so the songs that they include ignite some significant memories. I have multiple playlists for every year dating back to 7th grade.

One of my most recent and significant music induced memories comes from Winthrop University. I purchased “The Best of Simon and Garfunkel” about a year ago, but I heard and fell in love with many of their songs prior to that time. Whenever I play this CD, I am taken back to my Fall 2013 semester at Winthrop where I saw “The Graduate” for the first time. I watched it more times than I can remember on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) mainly just to sing and hum along to “Mrs. Robsinson,” “The Sound of Silence” and “Scarborough Fair/ Canticle.”

Being confined to a car for more than 30 minutes with no company but nature, the sound of music, thoughts and memories is pure bliss for me. On one of my drives late last week, I started thinking about something that has been heavy on my mind for a few weeks now. I did some pretty productive thinking on that day as I weighed the pros and cons of each possible outcome. My thoughts about the situation are ongoing, but I know that I will have plenty of chances to be alone with my thoughts and work out the best solution.

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