The Praxis Wheel
A way to conceptualize a liberation music therapy practice
"I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy."
Bengali poet, writer, playwright, composer, philosopher, social reformer, & painter
One way to conceptualize a liberation music therapy work is through the image of a "praxis wheel." Praxis means action or practice, and the wheel represents a circular framework always moving forward, and each of the spokes has a counterbalance that supports the other.
Trauma-Informed Practice and Mindfulness Practice
Mindfulness practice helps identify traumas within the body, but only when integrated with trauma-informed understanding. Sometimes trauma is too severe to direct a person's attention or awareness to a trauma region. Conversely, by being trauma-informed, we are aware that some of our irrational behavioral traits are directly related to trauma living somewhere within our Soma (the entirety of the nervous system, including consciousness and meaning-making), and we can apply mindfulness practice to help identify these trauma regions and process through them. Trauma is a process, not a destination.
Culturally Relevant Programming and Psychological and Political Education
Psychological and political education help us process the world around us, how and why social structures exist, and how to process through these multilayered dimensions, both within our inner world and external circumstances, and how they all integrate into the entirety of one's Soma and Somatic processing. It must, however, be in balance with culturally relevant programming in the context that one must respect another culture authentically and respectfully before expressing one's sentiments and perspective. Learning is for the participant just as much as it is for the facilitator.
Empathy and Accountability
Accountability counterbalances empathy, while empathy counterbalances accountability. Facilitators should consider that one contains a multidimensional being reshaped by traumas and political dynamics that have forcibly thrown people into the nothingness they presently find themselves. But, we must also rely on one another to educate ourselves on the wrongdoings they may have inflicted on their community or another, directly or indirectly. We must address the pain we have imposed on ourselves and others. Trauma and violence are public health issues, possibly socially transmitted diseases that we should address constructively to give future generations a healthier psychological foundation.
Truth and Nuance
Truth is the capacity to recognize with evidence or actuality while admitting that there are truths but no truth. Truth becomes problematic when we strive to understand it as an "objective" quality rather than the physiological and cognitive need to comprehend one's environment. It is essential to apply a nuanced understanding, recognizing subtle distinctions in or shades of meaning, expression, perception, and context.
Music - The Axis
Music is the axis that spins this wheel forward. No single spoke is more important than the other. All eight spokes must be in place to guarantee the other spokes are stable and that the journey is constructive.
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