Our New Playlist: Healing Isn't Linear

This month, we felt called to cultivate a playlist for the community that honors the grieving emotions that may be coming up for many of us around this time of the year.

We’re super proud to spotlight some of the incredible up-and-coming artists we’re listening to that are helping those of us here through some winter blues.

We've titled it 'healing isn't linear' because healing can sometimes feel like a rollercoaster and unfortunately, a lot of self-help advice presents healing as a step-by-step journey: just follow these techniques to get to the 'healed, happiest version of yourself', and never again feel sad! But, in our experience, the rush to get to 'a better, happy, whole me' can sometimes cause unintended harm, especially if it means that we project our ideas of a 'happiest, healthiest, fully healed' self into the future. Because in doing so, we might begin to become attached to an idea of perfection — and then use that idea to further judge ourselves now, and to deny ourselves self-acceptance or the right to feel valuable until we are 'perfect'. In short, this is how societal conditioning can hijack healing.

The other thing that can happen if we start to believe our journey should be linear, and that our healing is only available in the future, is that we miss out on the smaller moments of healing that are already happening, right now*.* And those small, everyday moments can bring so much richness and meaning to our lives*.*

Reclaiming Your Healing

Well-intended advice — an influencer sharing their highlights #nomoredepression, a friend coming at us with love and positivity but not allowing space for our pain, or even a school counselor who offers all they can but who is limited by a lack of resources — can influence our ideas of what our healing is supposed to look like, and how long it is allowed to take. We might even begin to believe that once something is 'healed', we should never again feel challenged by it.

What would change if we accepted healing as a process, instead of a destination? And even more granularly, what would it feel like if that process was a collection of present moments — some easy, some hard — woven together to form a life that is rich with silence and reflection and laughter and connection and tears and confusion and forgiveness and acceptance and growth? A life that is uniquely ours.

Healing is a journey, one that has unexpected twists and turns, but — just speaking from our experience — when we are present for the process, it can feel easier to learn to be our own allies. The journey doesn't feel so overwhelming when we are able to become present with just this step. And then the next. It becomes easier to check-in with ourselves. To adjust our approach. To switch out our tools. To know when we need to rest, and when we are ready to take on mountains.

And then each day, each experience, we can ask ourselves, "is this what healing looks like in this moment?"

And in the moments that feel hard, instead of feeling defeated that the destination seems so far away, we can reframe our experience, listening for what is needed now, knowing that this too is a part of the process, and this too will pass.

Music is a friend that helps us listen to ourselves

Sometimes, in a noisy world constantly competing for our attention, listening to our inner wisdom can feel almost impossible. In these moments, we may find that silent meditation settles our thoughts, or a walk in nature, or that a vigorous shake-it-all-out dance party is needed to clear the extra-ness. One of our all-time favorite ways to be a bit more in the moment and to honor our feels is through music.

We believe that music helps us to learn how to listen to ourselves. It is a gateway to our interiority, our feelings, to becoming still and becoming honest. In a time when we are so pressured to look outside ourselves — for validation, security, love — music is the friend that whispers: “Come inside. Relax. You can be yourself here.”

When the notes help us to soften, open, and become a bit more vulnerable, music can help us to grieve. When we allow a rhythm to move our bodies, harmonies to uplift us, or melodies to inspire us to raise our voices in song, music can encourage us to celebrate and cultivate joy.

There are so many ways to express music, and though some might sound just like noise to you, when you find an artist or a song that clicks, you feel it in your bones. Maybe your body starts to sway. Or maybe the song brings you to the stillness of feeling truly seen. Your defenses melt. The knots inside you release a little. Feelings you didn't even know you had are honored and released.

That's how music speaks the language of our inner selves.

This is why we are so excited to share this playlist with you. We put a lot of care and love into selecting each song. In a way, it feels like opening up a part of ourselves that we don't show so often, a window into our own heads, hearts, and healing. And we are so happy that you are here to share this with us.

We are also thrilled at the chance to uplift artists whose creative expressions reflect their own healing experiences. As with the incredible graphic and visual artists who are a part of our community, we love collaborating with other humans who are creating art that feels vulnerable, authentic, and like a portal to their own healing.

So come join us. And maybe even invite a friend along to share in the music with you. Allow yourself to explore what healing wants to look like right now.

Meet our playlist's Featured Artists:

UMI

UMI (which means ocean in Japanese) blends influences of Neo-Soul with soothing, in-your-bones R&B. In a brilliant interview with Eda Yu of Complex, UMI shares that the lo-fi fluidity of her music is in part inspired by her half-Black and half-Japanese roots, and her experiences of self-acceptance and expression.

Reflecting on songwriting, she shares that "It feels like it's always been my natural way of expression. Back then, I didn't even realize what I was doing—it'd be like, "I'm angry, I'ma write a song.” But now I see that's just an extension of me."

"I’m always speaking from a place of emotion and the music connects more. Music is just energy, so you can feel the purest, most wholesome music that comes from my heart. That's what I've been doing recently—just feeling more. When I feel more, I write better music."

Maybe that's why we find UMI's music feels like entering into a healing space. Find UMI's songs Butterfly, Remember Me and Love Affair on our healing isn't linear Spotify playlist.

Odie

With influences of Fela Kuti, Sunny Adé, Kid Cudi, and Coldplay, ODIE's music honors "his parents’ hardships as immigrants and his Nigerian roots" and is an expression of his "dedication to understanding and evolving the self." As he shares in an interview with Donna-Claire Chesman of DJBooth, “One thing I’m learning is that as much as everyone is scared to be vulnerable, everyone wants to be vulnerable,” ODIE concludes. “People think of vulnerability as a weakness, but I see that as a strength because I could share my feelings with you and not care about what you think.”

Check out ODIE's songs Miss Summer and North Face on our healing isn't linear Spotify playlist.

Ariana Grande

  1. If you've been following Self-Care Is For Everyone for a little while, you are probably familiar with our long-standing love for Ariana Grande. She has become an outspoken advocate for the destigmatization of conversations about mental health, and has shared vulnerable moments from her own experiences of mental health and healing. We find songs like Ariana's pov speak to the insecurity so many of us feel, reminding us that the way we see ourselves is often distorted as a result of harmful, internalized messages (from society, entertainment, and media) that we are not enough. Although the world can feel like a scary place, Ariana creates a type of magic that allows individuals to escape into her music and feel less alone with their thoughts. The messages that she shares are powerful and the loving energy she gives to this world is inspiring. Thank you to Ariana for modeling vulnerability, strength in seeking out support, and sharing about her own mental health journey.

Tobi Lou

In a world that still has strict rules about gendered expectations, Tobi Lou feels authentic and unapologetic. He speaks openly and honestly about his emotions. In his song, I just spent two hours crying, he states, "I just spent two hours cryin' but how could you know that? / When all you see is me smilin' like I work for Colgate / Little things hit like a giant / Lonely, I feel like dyin' / But you know I can't stop tryin', I hope you know that."

Listen to Tobi Lou's song Hot Tub Time Machine and "I was sad last night I'm okay now" on our healing isn't linear Spotify playlist, and for a little light-hearted fun, check out his video, Skin Care Tutorial 2020.

Sam Smith

Sam Smith not only has the kind of voice that melts a heart like butter', they are also an extraordinary example of authenticity, self-care, and reclaiming one's narrative from society's expectations. They have openly shared about their struggles with panic attacks, anxiety, depression, and the healing messages that helped them in their darker moments, offering the following love to their fans on Twitter in 2019:

The truth is, we're ALL healing through something. And another truth? Sometimes even the best advice (including ours!) doesn't quite speak to what your healing journey is asking for. But together, we can begin to talk about these things, share our tools, learn to accept help, and learn how to show up for ourselves.

This isn't about 'letting ourselves off the hook', but about challenging the narratives we've internalized that bully us with false images of 'perfection' and reductive visions of 'how healing should look'. At any moment, we can pause and ask ourselves, "am I telling myself, subconsciously, that until I am 'fully healed', I can't experience happiness? Or that right now, I am damaged? That I cannot celebrate the small wins that happen every day, or that I should feel threatened by the moments that feel hard, or like a step backwards?"

Please know that you are not a problem to be solved.

We hope this playlist serves as a companion for you all while you continue your journey full of healing & growing. Please feel free to listen to it straight through, on shuffle, or skipping all around and landing on the sounds that serve you! 🦋