Through my work and studies over many decades, I have learned that we can all be imaginative and empathic co-artists and co-creators of a kinder more harmonious world. With some guidance we can see and hear ourselves and others differently. Most people simply need an invitation. I learned that it is through listening to each other, with no judgement, with grace, generosity, respect and with reverence that people can build bridges of belonging.
Thousands of people, on 3 continents have been beneficiaries of FUIM. Working both in person and online, in universities, in companies and non-profit organisations – this small group engagement process empowers people to name and claim who they are, at core, through a music track they choose. Through a careful process of presentation, listening and feedback – each member’s music and story is given attention. A gentle, safe and generative design helps the group uncover and affirm the previously “unheard frequencies” of each other.
Music, heartfelt contemplative listening and speaking with authentic kindness are the magic ingredients which create an unexpected social alchemy.
My journey began at the age of 16 while reading about a union leader in the novel, Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck. The book inspired me to want to make a difference. A paragraph in the study guide, described a compelling idea – we are all connected to an oversoul. To my adolescent mind, all of us were all part of a large pancake in the sky – stronger together as a connected force.
Over the course of a life- time, other musicians and writers from multiple cultures and religious persuasions have refined and focused the way I have expressed my life purpose. Like John Lennon, I am a dreamer. For Bono of U2, music is the language of the spirit and can help awaken us to the magic within. Like Ben Okri, I believe that to be alive means that we are all artists and co-creators, and with everyone being an artist, humanity is the greatest work of art we can create together. Inspired by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, I believe that the world is inherently good, and beautiful, and that “reality itself is a veritable work of sacred art.” Influenced by positive psychology I believe that beyond the stupidity of war, selfishness, and greed, and in spite of the collective trauma and the many ways in which we can be destructive as a humanity, we can also transform who we are.
We can help each other see and reveal the divine sparks of light that lie within us. Music can be distracting, alienating or simply a background noise. Or the complete opposite.
Music is potentially, a transformative language if we listen to it with a clear intention and a sacred heart.
As Dr Nathi Nzama of Tygerberg Medical School, Stellenbosch University expressed “During our FUIM group, I got to have a microscopic view into all of my team members’ souls and understand their narrative.”
At this very moment, we need to answer that age old call to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Just listen for the soul notes that are yours to play and then offer them to the magnificent orchestra we are.
Use music as a way to name and claim your unique gift for our world. Share your music track with someone important to you in a safe environment.
Barbara Nussbaum is a member of the Mensch Network, and a most recently, in June 2022, a winner of the prestigious Social Change Maker of the Year Award at the Women in Management TOP 50 Professional and Career Women Global Awards in Dubai. To find out more about Barbara and her work visit https://www.findingusinmusic.co.za/
Words by Barbara Nussbaum
Barbara Nussbaum is a member of the Mensch Network, and a most recently, in June 2022, a winner of the prestigious Social Change Maker of the Year Award at the Women in Management TOP 50 Professional and Career Women Global Awards in Dubai. To find out more about Barbara and her work click here
Mensch is a social Justice NGO, committed to capacitating and supporting our Jewish Community’s response towards Social Justice in South Africa
Click HERE to read more about Mensch (www.mensch.org.za.)