I teach songwriting weird.
I don’t focus on how to craft a killer chorus.
I don’t tell students they can write a hit song in a week.
I don’t force them to write clever lyrics.
Those things can be found in every book out there. They can also be found by just listening deeply to great songs and music.
I teach my students, first and foremost, to be with their song. To build a relationship with the song they’re writing. This is radically different than trying to prod or whip a song into shape and making it become a hit.
When you build a relationship with your song – and I teach various ways to do this – you invariably become a better writer because each song teaches you how to be a better writer in the process. You go deeper – and ultimately, you find your voice. The crafted chorus and the clever lyrics will matter at some point. But it’s not where I start.
So, where does the food part come in?
Well, I got an email from a woman who was at the June retreat. She wants to know my top five or ten tips for healthy eating, as she is beginning to learn about eating better.
So, I wrote a blog. (I’ll post it soon.)
But then I remembered something.
I remembered how pissed off I was when I was recovering from bulimia. I was furious that I couldn’t just give up food. I hated food. It was the cause (so I thought) of all my problems.
I reasoned that an alcoholic had it “easier” because at least the offending substance could be removed from his life. A bulimic had to keep eating – while being in recovery from the very thing that she was eating. I wished I could just stop eating!
I didn’t realize then that the very thing I was angry about would also be the very thing that would teach me how to approach everything in my life.
Precisely because I could not remove the “offending substance” from my life, I was forced to heal my relationship with food and with my body. I had to make friends with food. I had to make friends with and listen to my body. This learning process taught me how to do everything else in my life too – from songwriting to money to pets to marriage. I do none of these things perfectly, of course. But I have learned how to hear my own inner wisdom. My voice.
When it comes to food and health, many of us are like the beginning songwriters I teach — our brains are crammed full of the “shoulds” and the “craft” and the “how-to’s.” But we don’t know our own voices. We don’t know what our bodies need. We’ve spent so much time just filling up with food and information, that we haven’t stopped to feed ourselves, or to listen to ourselves, or to hear the voices of our bodies.
So, this is my first thought on healthy eating.
You start by building a relationship to your body and your food. You make friends with food and actively listen to your body. All the Andrew Weil advice in the world will do nothing if you aren’t tapped in to yourself.
Just like all the hit songwriting books in the world will do nothing if there’s no soul in your songs.