What Kind of Music Are You Playing Inside Yourself?

Your Heart is an Orchestra of Feelings and Needs

· NVC,Conscious Living

In my previous post, I wrote of a metaphor for the heart as an orchestra of feelings/needs — where universal human needs are the instruments, and the feelings are the resulting music.

In each moment of life, we are either celebrating our mourning the fulfillment of our needs. If our needs are mostly unmet, our music tends to be sad, melancholic.

When our needs are mostly satisfied, our music is upbeat, hopeful, sometimes even ecstatic. Metaphorically, we are playing a unique musical composition based on the instruments that are engaged in each moment.

The invitation of self-empathy is listen for the melody of life that we are playing inside with an artist’s appreciation for the individual sounds made by each instrument and the resulting tune. We might get curious about a particular instrument (need), finely tune it to a pitchfork so that its sound (feeling) will be in harmony with the other instruments, especially as we learn strategies that meet more and more of our needs.

Remember to have compassion for yourself, that as an apprenticing musician, you are doing the best you know how to bring your orchestra to life -- i.e. you're doing the best you know to meet your needs in every moment. Through the internal practice of NVC self-empathy, we get better and better at listening to our instruments, acknowledging their sounds, and coordinating with the other instruments through strategies to meet as many needs as possible at the lowest cost. Getting the resulting melody to sound harmonious and pleasant takes time, some guidance from experienced musicians, and lots of practice-practice-practice.

Even though self-empathy is an internal practice, it’s helpful to get a little help from your friends as you get started. This is the value of joining an extended multi-week series focused on the theory and practice of NVC. Here are some of my offerings:


  • If you have special challenges with reacting in stressful situations, check out the 10-week series “Free Yourself from Reactivity” which will deepen your self-empathy practice and allow you to leverage a focused community of practice with other participants. The first session is Free.
  • If you'd like to deepen your connection to life, broaden your capacities for self-healing, cultivate wholeness through nature based depth psychology (Wild Mind), check out the 10-week "Wild Heart" series.
  • Are you looking for more connection with the people around you? Chek out the 10-week series "Conversational Connection: Practical Skills for Communicating Compassionately." The first session is Free.


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