I haven’t been able to get this song out of head since watching this video over the New Year. It’s originally from the musical, “Hair”, and Nina Simone sang and recorded this song many times in her career, each time switching up the words to fit the moment.
I love watching her sing this in this video – the ease in her body, her effortlessness, her musical instincts so spontaneous and artful. And the song itself is such a fantastic reminder to come back to the body, and recognize one’s aliveness, no matter what else is going on.
“I got life!”, she sings. And I, too, feel alive. It reminds me of another video I watched – a TED talk given by the Brit, Sir. Ken Robinson. I quote:
The arts especially address the idea of aesthetic experience. An aesthetic experience is one in which your senses are operating at their peak; when you’re present in the current moment; when you’re resonating with the excitement of this thing that you’re experiencing; when you are fully alive.
Wow. What a great definition of the aesthetic experience. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the power of the creative arts therapies, right? If you can be fully alive in the therapeutic process, then there is tremendous potential for real transformation. So, what has this got to do with Nina Simone singing this song? Listen to it – the beginning lyrics are like the list of sufferings that our clients come in with. And, the work of the therapy can be to bring them back into contact with their inestimable selves, like the second half of this song does – their bodies, their creativity, their beauty. To experience being fully alive, even when they are feeling at a loss.