I see some friends have been looking at the Inner Game of Stress video. I checked it out and the corresponding Web site which discusses how we deal with external and internal stress. As you might expect, one of the concepts reminds us that how we deal with stress is a choice. Our choice.
And, we are to remember that exercise can be part of stress reduction if it is fun, “From the inner game perspective, the critical factors are simple; exercise should be enjoyable and spontaneous. Watch children — they love to move and do things outdoors for fun…” There is something that seems truly spontaneous about the ukulele to me. Perhaps it is its size.
Of course, it is one thing to say we have a choice when we are not stressed. It is another thing when we are in the midst of stress to exercise or see the choices that we have. While I believe in exercise and love the outdoors, it is not always practical suddenly to break into a run or brandish one’s bicycle as a defense against stress. It is, if you will consider, possible to pick up a ukulele and strum. If I am at work, I cannot leave the stressful meeting or hang up the stressful phone call or avoid the stressful chat in the hall and just hop on my bike and ride for an hour. But I can know that I can return to my office and grab the ukulele off the wall and strum. Strange perhaps, but true.
There is the physical action of strumming — although it is not as dramatic as cycling, running or kayaking — and there is the psychologically soothing sound of the ukulele strings. There are some folks and blogs who say that you cannot be sad and play the ukulele. This is partly true because the sound of a strum is light and festive. But there are melancholy chords. Our choice of chords, rhythm, and song can reflect happiness or melancholy or anger. I propose to you that there is a cathartic effect to strumming the ukulele. It can move our thoughts, our feelings, our mind to another level. Once we reach a different level, we can find perspective. And when we have perspective we are better able to see our choices.
I do not write this because of the name of the blog but I do name the blog because I believe that the ukulele, and the music we can generate with the ukulele, brings a unique perspective.