Alive Inside: The Film

Please Note:  Winter Blooms is an educational website only and is in no way meant to replace experience with a trained EFT practitioner, counselor, or therapist.  To find an EFT Practitioner, visit the AAMET website, the EFT Universe website, the Tapping Solution website, or contact Jane at 802-533-9277 or for EFT coaching support.

Sometimes we get stuck in a go-to solution for life’s many challenges.  Tapping – like jogging, cleansing, yoga, meditation, and the other effective self-help tools we use to bring understanding, perspective, and peace into our lives – can leave us feeling let down because of overuse.  When this happens to me, I turn to story in one of its myriad forms.  Most recently that form was documentary film, specifically Michael Rossato-Bennett’s  Alive Inside, the story of Dan Cohen’s grace-filled efforts to bring music to nursing homes residents experiencing Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

Like the best stories, this film surprises, informs, touches, and inspires.  Seeing elders who have shut down suddenly begin to jiggle and jive as they hear the music of their lives makes us jiggle and jive right along with them.  Wisely, the filmmakers take us into the imagined realms of elders hearing their music after long silences:  the birthday parties, weddings, and dances their long-ago selves lived with energy and passion.  Seeing their joy at hearing familiar, meaningful music is a great privilege and inspiration.  Dan Cohen’s work proves that we can change the culture of nursing homes by moving away from pharmaceutical solutions and toward human ones, in particular music, the universal key to individual memories.

Anti-psychotic drugs annihilate the vibrant, authentic self of people who do not need them and for whom they were not originally intended; Alive Inside shows how music restores this precious, apparently inviolable core.  The drugs can cost upwards of $1000 per month per client; the music program costs as little as $40 per month, and its only side effect is growing delight.  That music is medicine is irrefutable: Bobby McFerrin talks about crawling toward music he heard as a baby and toddler, and Oliver Sacks gives voice to the neurological staying power of music in the brains of Dementia and Alzheimer’s hosts.  None is as eloquent as the soft-spoken, imaginative genius, Dan Cohen, a social worker whose persistence has ensured his program, Music & Memory, will continue to transform nursing home culture for the duration.

We all know intuitively that nothing changes unless we become part of the change.  Complaining doesn’t work, waging war doesn’t work, and denial doesn’t work.  What does work is passionate involvement in life as it is.  Embracing what is and then asking how we might help to make life better ensures we will continue to live meaningful lives.

Please visit Alive Inside‘s website:  There you will learn more about Dan and how to donate an iPod to his remarkable Music & Memory program.  And be sure to see the film.  When we feel lusterless and plodding despite our best efforts with tapping and other modalities to remain buoyant and engaged, a great story – and its music – refreshes our optimism and replenishes our trust in our ability to work together to create the world we want . . . for all of Earth’s wonderfully diverse inhabitants.

Until next week



Jane Buchan, MA, AAMET Advanced Practitioner,, 802-533-9277