Fb Tw Pin
Email_logo_new Print_logo_new


Macy Robison

October 23, 2012

This past week, my Seek the Good Project goal has been to use the 13th Article of Faith as my criteria for surrounding myself with good things.  It's been going well, but I haven't felt the spiritual "lift" that I was secretly hoping for. I've been diligent about changing the radio station, the TV channel, and removing media from my life that isn't "virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy," but I can't say I've felt the increase of the Spirit I assumed would come from this part of my project.

Then I realized - I haven't taken the time to surround myself with good things. I've just been eliminating the "bad" things. While it's important to eliminate things that are negative and can bring me down, for me, it's also important to consciously surround myself with things that make me happy and lift me up.

I learned this lesson for the first time several years ago. My life was particularly difficult at that time, but I was hanging on and making it through the challenges I was facing. I was finding things to be grateful for, but I wasn't as happy as I knew I could be.

As I reflected on why I wasn’t happy, something occurred to me - I hadn't consciously chosen to listen to music for at least a year. (This was an odd realization, as I love music and was teaching general music classes at the time.) There was music in my classroom all day, music on the radio on the way home from school, music on TV - but it was all background noise. None of it was MY music that I'd made a conscious decision to listen to. I hadn't been listening to music that I loved, that made me happy or that uplifted me and inspired me.

I went to the store that very day and purchased several CDs (Remember when we used to do that?) filled with music that I loved. Music that I knew was guaranteed to cheer me up and make my spirit soar. I figured out how to use my stereo as my alarm clock and woke up every morning to MY music. I kept the other CDs in the car, and I chose songs to listen to on my drive home that would refresh me and inspire me. Taking the time to carefully choose the music I surrounded myself with made a huge difference in my mood and my spirit.  My challenges didn't disappear, but the music I was choosing to listen to helped lift my burdens and made my days a bit easier.

I was in Atlanta presenting at TOFW this past weekend, and Jericho Road closed with one of my favorite songs, "Homeward Bound." I love the words and the melody of that song, and when I was teaching, it was one of my favorites to teach my students. As I listened to Jericho Road sing their beautiful arrangement of the song, I felt tears streaming down my face and I realized - I'd done it again. I hadn't taken the time to choose to surround myself with music and media that uplifts and inspires me. I don't know about you, but I have so many options when it comes to what I listen to and what I spend my time doing, that I often end up listening to or watching whatever is the easiest at the time. I don't take the time to seek out things I know will uplift and inspire me or cheer me up.

So, to make my project easier this coming week, I'm making a playlist. A playlist filled with virtuous, lovely music that makes me happy. And I'm going to listen to it all week. I'll be back next week to report what kind of difference it is making as I continue to seek the good.

Because I love music so much, choosing a favorite song is like choosing a favorite child - I can't do it. But I wanted to share my top five inspirational songs from my playlist that always uplift me.

“Homeward Bound” by Marta Keen (I have several versions, but my favorites are from Jericho Road and BYU Singers)
I don’t have any insightful music teacher wisdom to impart on why this is such a glorious song or why everyone who has ever sung it or heard it really loves it, so you’ll have to trust me and just listen to it. You’ll feel better and you might cry.

“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
I love this hymn, and I have several recordings of this one as well, (and I’ll never understand why it’s no longer in our hymnal) but the Mack Wilberg arrangement is my favorite. The men’s entrance in the second verse is one of my favorite moments in the piece. Gorgeous.

"Sanctus" from Requiem by Gabriel Faure (my favorite recording is from The Cambridge Singers)
The setting of this sacred Latin text is one of my favorites. The men and women answer each other back and forth, and there is a glorious solo for the violin.

"My Shepherd Will Supply My Need" sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
This Mack Wilberg arrangement might be my favorite of all time. My choir in Utah learned this piece, and I get chills every time I hear the last verse when the choir breaks into 7 parts. And the lyrics are beautiful - "No more a stranger, nor a guest, but like a child at home."

Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, Movement IV by Ludwig van Beethoven
Though this movement is over 20 minutes long, it is my always-makes-me-feel-better piece. So many times, I’ve crumpled in a heap after a horrible day and turned this on, and by the time the “Ode to Joy” section at the end finishes, I’m ready to take on any challenges that may come.

Are there songs that are guaranteed to lift your spirits or inspire you? Share them with the rest of us in the comments below. I’m excited to add some of your favorites to my list!

 Macy Robison is a performer, photographer, and mom. She lives with her husband and two kids in Austin, Texas. She loves dance parties with her kids, and loves singing opera so loudly that she embarrasses her son. Especially German opera.