I was sitting having a quiet relaxing coffee, with iTunes on shuffle, when the sweet familiar voice of a certain Ms Jones came on. I instantly started to feel deeply happy, surrounded by a cloud of comfort, confidence and quiet excitement. Within seconds of recognising and enjoying these feelings, my brain automatically asked its favourite question: “why”. The answer, I thought, is a story worth writing about. . And here it is:
I’d always loved Norah’s voice. It’s very distinct, very well rounded, the perfect combination of husky and soft. That’s only the background. The story is actually set in FREEZING Uppsala in the winter of 2005. I was in my boyfriend’s car and he was taking me to a friend’s house. My friend and I were going to bake some delicious cakes all evening, in order to sell them in the market the next day, to raise funds for a mission trip to central Asia. I was quite excited, really. But then I noticed Iain (the boyfriend) turning into my own drive way.
“This is not the way to Rehanna’s” I said, puzzled.
“Change of plan!”
With a huge smile on his face, Iain instructed me to go upstairs, close my eyes and wait for him. As you can imagine my excitement levels rose! And rose even more when he came upstairs and presented me with a gorgeous luggage set, and a voucher that entitled me to spending the weekend away with Iain Faulds, at a destination of his choice! Weeeee! Now THIS was exciting!
Iain asked me to pack and told me I was getting picked up the next morning at six am.
This was thrilling! I love surprises and I really really loved this guy! He was fun and smart, interesting to talk to, loved a lot of the same things as me, loved God and loved people. Plus he was ( and still is by the way) rather dishy:-)
Being smart, he knew how much I don’t like getting up early in the morning. BUT (and here we come to the point of the story) he also knew how much I liked Norah’s beautiful voice. So the next morning, when he came to pick me up at six am, guess what was playing in the car stereo? You’ve guessed it: Norah Jones’ “Come away with me”. I cannot describe to you quite how happy I felt. But I like descriptive, so I’ll have a go: I felt so valued and taken care of, so understood by this wonderful boyfriend. He got that I loved all this stuff he had arranged for me. I felt spoilt and very confident as a result. I felt so very excited about this trip. But quietly excited, because it was, after all, rather too early in the morning for my usual loud excitement. Does this description remind you of anything? It is quite similar to my state of being upon hearing Norah’s voice during my relaxing cup of coffee, isn’t it? It’s astounding how our brain does that! It brings us back to a particular moment, to re-experience it, when presented with certain triggers, especially music. This phenomenon is called anchoring. The particular song, or songs in my case, act as an anchor which, once set, can also be ‘fired’ in order to access a particular emotional state. In simple words that means that I can put Norah Jones ‘Come away with me’ on my apple tv, and expect that listening to it will make me feel happy and excited. Such a concept has been used in the field of Musical Therapy, when anchors can be used to gain access to particular emotional states. (Stanley Jordan, ‘An Introduction to Neuro-Linguistic Programming for Music Therapists’-see links)
Oh wait you want to hear the end of the story?
Well, Iain whisked me away to snowy Oslo and took me for an amazing lunch at this awesome bistro with live big band music. He then hurried me away to Akerhus Fortress before the sun went down, and proposed I said yes (although he argues it was just a brief sigh with some kind of sound in it), and we lived happily ever after!
A pretty great story, I reckon!
My only concern is that I let down my friend Rehanna. But when I look at her new business: “Fab cakes of London”, I figure, I only would have held her back. Her baking skills are far superior to mine!
So in short, I would not have changed that weekend for the world! And the beautiful voice of Norah Jones is an anchor that often brings me back there:-)