On Consolation

In these troubled times, we all can use a little consolation — something that gives a hope or perhaps just some reassurance that it will all make sense some day.

In the bad old days, I would turn to alcohol for consolation. It would work for a few hours but would, in the long haul, tend only to deepen despair. Once I was released from that, I was able to identify more lasting resources.

Many of us turn to sacred writings for comfort and indeed words such as Psalm 23 can offer powerful reassurance. Similarly, we may be consoled with a beloved hymn.

I have found some consolation in poems such a Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” during times of indecision or Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go gentle Into That Good Night” when I struggle with fears about death.

But I would have to say that nothing comforts like music. Yes, hymns can be a comfort but there have been other pieces of music that I have turned to during times of grief or fear that have lifted me up. I’m glad to know they are there.

Reflection: 1. What resources do you have for consolation?

For Listening: Here are 3 non-Church pieces in which I find great consolation. feel free to post a link to some of your favorites:

1. “Imagine” by John Lennon. This deeply spiritual, non-religious song still rings true. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRhq-yO1KN8

2. “Forever Young”. This great Bob Dylan song captures my attitude about aging. The Joan Baez version is best but  this version from the film “Young at Heart”, filmed at a prison, shows hope happening. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ouyC24IFlo

3. “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. There are many great versions out there. This is my favorite. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKKsZij81lM

About richp45198

I am a clinical psychologist and have an abiding interest in matters spiritual.
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3 Responses to On Consolation

  1. Mimi Cohen-Bergen says:

    Hey Rich, Mimi here — from way back in the 80’s at Family Service of EP. Been meaning to contact you, and subscribed to your blog a few mos ago! “When You Walk Through a Storm “has always touched me in a deep way since I was a young child. This is a beautiful version. The “Forever Young” piece is part of a larger documentary. I saw Young at Heart in Boulder — awe-inspiring, I’d recommend a concert to anyone who has the opportunity. Finally how can we not love John Lennon’s “Imagine”. FYI, am in Phoenix now and the MIM (Musical Instrument Museum) has the piano on which he composed it. Attaching the link. Will connect with you again some time to catch up. Thanks for these today, just what I needed!http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/musical-instrument-museum-phoenix-3?select=eWPdYWbGVM_3_7pbWSHy5A#eWPdYWbGVM_3_7pbWSHy5A

  2. I frequently turn to poetry for comfort. Here is one of my favorites by William Stafford called “The Thread”

    There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
    things that change. But it doesn’t change.
    People wonder about what you are pursuing.
    You have to explain about the thread.
    But it is hard for others to see.
    While you hold it you can’t get lost.
    Tragedies happen; people get hurt
    or die; and you suffer and get old.
    Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
    You don’t ever let go of the thread.

  3. Roxanne says:

    Truthfully I have to say that initially resources of consolation included alcohol and drugs …..but I too have had to search for more lasting resources. Music and quiet times out in the country seem better these days. These methods seem to provide that very necessary separation between mind and spirit or thoughts and inner voice. In that stillness I feel connected and supported.

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