Behind the Music with Miel
Singer-songwriter Miel de Botton shares her influences, inspirations and experiences with the unique healing powers of music.
Like for so many of us, life has thrown me some challenges and there have been life-changing events which I needed to take time to heal from. The passing of my father and the end of my marriage were two of these events. I find myself now at a place where I am doing what I love and am about to release my latest album. It’s obviously taken time, and there was an initial period of grief that I had to go through before I could reach the musical healing. When I did, it gradually happened that I would want to listen to a particular song – sad or joyful – and I would then discover why the lyrics were meaningful for me. Eventually I got to dancing around my kitchen listening to joyful music, feeling liberated from grief and able to express myself through my music.
When writing, I feel nature and inner peace connect me to my music. I get my inspiration from the beauty of nature and my wish to save it. I was so thrilled when the WWF picked one of my songs, ‘I was Given Nature’, to represent their Connect2Earth initiative to heal the planet. I love to observe things in nature, which often provoke feelings and thoughts which I can then convert into music.
People have asked me where the title of my album comes from. The story behind this is that I have regular healing sessions which make me feel very blissful, and help me to deal with life. I wanted to express that in a song together with my belief that one should always follow one’s feelings as a guide; we should pursue a good feeling and stay away from a bad one.
I find songwriting deeply cathartic. Whether it be dreaming of the ideal man, grieving a loss, upset at someone’s treatment of me, and so on… These are all examples of things I have felt, and that have been appeased through expression in my music.
Wellbeing is central to my inner peace. It has to be a priority, and for me personally, walks in nature and healing help to take care of my wellbeing. Massage, pilates and yoga are fantastic and must be fitted in whenever possible! Being aligned in mind, body and spirit also helps in choosing action. Also, of course, time with my family and loved ones. Above all, making sure that my diary is not overloaded and therefore that my mind is not consumed with things to do. This involves being able to say ‘no’ to people – which has been difficult for me at times, as I often feel duty-bound.
It has taken me many years to adjust my life in order to enjoy a rewarding sense of wellbeing and to learn many lessons as to how to preserve it. It’s about quietening the mind and listening to what is important. In my song ‘Bittersweet’ I say: “Let yourself be guided; follow the utmost joy”. This is key. I also practice affirmations inspired by Louise Hay. For example, when you feel anxious and fearful, say to yourself “All is okay,” and “I am protected.” To chase out any fears of illness you can say “I am in very good health.” Only accept your inner voice saying helpful, life-affirming and joy-affirming things. The rest is to be banned from your consciousness. Breathing exercises are helpful to minimise nerves on stage but any time I feel anxious I practice this, breathing from the lower belly – six counts in and six counts out – a very balancing form of breathing which my healer taught me. I also love to listen to Healing Spirit, Deep Sleep Relaxing Music meditation sessions on You Tube. Singing of course, anytime, anywhere, but particularly in my kitchen! And I love to dance….
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