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Refuse to Live Your Life Without Art, Poetry and Music

Q: Why should an Internet course in Emotional Intelligence include art, poetry and music?
A: Because EQ involves understanding and being able to express your emotions, and art, poetry and music are the most suitable vehicles for this.

Art expresses emotions without words, and poetry, is, as someone said, "feelings through a crack pipe." While I haven't experienced anything
through a crack pipe, I get the analogy, which is what poems, with their metaphors and analogies, are all about. It could also be said that good poetry 'disturbs.'

Music also goes where words can't. "Music is," said Ludwig van Beethoven, the dominant figure between
the Classical and Romantic eras, who composed his Ninth Symphony when totally deaf, 'the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.'

"Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman,' he said. To me, it has done both. I have turned to
Beethoven's 'Eroica' for inspiration in hard times, and put on a John Philip Sousa march when I didn't want to do housework.

Yet it was Beethoven who also said, 'A great poet is the most precious jewel of a nation.'

Poetry is unusual in that it's "measured"; it has a rhythm and a form. This somehow both contains the intense emotion, and also expresses it. It's one of those paradoxical things.

We often turn to poetry at major transitions in our life 'when we fall in love, or out of love, or lose our love. Poetry seems the best vehicle,
with it's eloquence, it's containment, it's ability to distill. The way the death of your child or the face of your beloved make you feel is beyond words, and so, in a paradoxical way, is poetry.

When my son died some years ago, at the age of 21,I started writing poetry, as I have at every turning point in my life. The words of Alfred Lord Tennyson reverberated in my mind:

But for the unquiet heart and brain
A use in measured language lies;
The sad mechanic exercise,
Like dull narcoties numbing pain.

Tennyson's poem, 'In Memoriam,' ends with the famous lines: 'T is better to have loved and lost, Than never to have loved at all,' which is what every parent struggling with the loss of a child must eventually reconcile.

Art, music and poetry are some of the ways we feel, learn about feeling, and express feelings. Indulge!

About the Author
Susan Dunn, MA Psychology, Emotional Intelligence Coach, I help people become better communicators and develop their emotional intelligence through coaching, Internet courses and ebooks. Susan is the author of "Nonverbal Communication."

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