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Music with a Message Series Episode 7: Picking Up the Pieces

Resilience | 1 comment


I don’t know what to do
Don’t know what happened to the life I knew
So I’m picking up the pieces
Of my life, of my life

— Lyrics from “Picking Up the Pieces” title track by Brenda MacIntyre

Life brings unexpected turns to us all. What I’ve noticed is that when we have unexpected losses, or when we’re bridging into a new life in some way, it’s scary! It can feel like things are falling apart. Well, and the societal structures we live in really ARE falling apart, so this just creates a sort of pervasive feeling – especially for empaths – of things falling apart.

One day after I’d lost my son, I had this vision of myself slumped over and looking on the ground at everything that used to be me, and everything that used to be my life. There was life with my son, and now it’s what I call Life After Quinn. I realize mine is a pretty extreme example and involves multiple levels of trauma, but with any major transition comes major change.

We human beings don’t do so well with change, because the ego-mind likes to think it’s the boss of us – and sometimes it is.

Major transitions, like losing a job, the ending of a relationship, the death of a loved one, or starting a business put us in the position of having to deal with a lot of emotions as well as the resistance of the ego-mind.

“I don’t know” is a powerful place to be.

When the path you were walking suddenly falls away in front of you, of course you don’t know what to do. If you can sit with that not-knowing long enough without trying to “figure it out,” you will receive your next step. And then the next one.

Then, you can pick up the pieces of your life, and of you. Some pieces you might lovingly choose to pick up. Other pieces you might lovingly choose to let go. One thing for sure: You can’t pick up the pieces and start fresh until you let them fall to the ground first.

For example, I stopped offering private mentoring and healing sessions because it no longer felt aligned with who I am or who I’m becoming. I had to let that piece of my life fall. That made space for me to get the inspiration to start working on a new album, which has put me into so much more Joy ever since. Not saying it’s all perfect now, but I’m solidly on this new path now and creating my new identity as this indigenous reggae/funk/rap/hand drum singer is really exciting!

TRY THIS: Find your “I don’t know.” What in your life are you uncertain about? Instead of thinking of ways to control it or change it, just be with it. Let go of all strategies and just be. Let the mind undo itself. Let your body unwind. Just be with the “I don’t know.” Then go about your week, and notice what shows up for you from out of the blue. I don’t mean watch for strategies and plans to show up. I mean notice when you feel a sudden pull to do something, or a person randomly shows up, or somebody’s words stick with you but you don’t know why. Notice what you’re drawn to and give yourself the permission to not have to understand why.

Final Thoughts: When you let the ego-mind run the show, it’s like a cliché movie. When you let “I don’t know” run the show, watch the magic that begins to emerge.

Hope this helps. Please feel welcome to share it with friends you know who are experiencing grief, trauma, loss or chronic pain.

Love & Blessings,

Brenda MacIntyre, Medicine Song Woman



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About Brenda MacIntyre

About Brenda MacIntyre

Known by her indigenous name Medicine Song Woman, Brenda MacIntyre has shared her evocative melodic voice and fusion of reggae, rap and indigenous hand drum healing music with appreciative audiences of 30 to 3,000 across North America. The Toronto-based Juno Award-winning singer has been featured nationally on MuchMusic, CTV, CP24, APTN and most recently, Global and the front page of the Toronto Star.

Powered by her grief from losing her son to murder in 2016, Brenda MacIntyre pours her soulful voice over a confluence of indigenous hand drum healing, soft rap and conscious roots reggae in her album “Picking Up the Pieces,” released in September 2019.

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