Sept. 15, 2021

E110 Healing music grief and community with Tim Ringgold | Trauma Healing Coach

In this episode, I'm very excited to be joined by one of my very good friends, Tim Ringgold. I met him when we were at a speaking competition in Dallas and Tim and I just kind of connected. So a couple of years ago, Tim, won the very competition that I was speaking at, and just by the serendipity of the nature of being in small groups and conferences and a couple few hundred people, Tim and I got to have a conversation, and throughout that conversation just kept noticing these intricacies that he and I had as far as parallels in our journey and our story we had suffered a tremendous amount of loss and people in our lives through death, through murder, and through suicide.

We talk about his experience with grief, with death, with losing his five best friends with overcoming that, with going through this process in which we learn to heal, through community, through connection. Tim is a music therapist, he talks about his journey and even plays a little song here at the end for us. So this conversation is heavy. It's very enlightening, very beautiful, powerful, it's a conversation that I know that I am very grateful for being able to have had and I look forward to having Tim in the future.

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In this episode, I'm very excited to be joined by one of my very good friends, Tim Ringgold. I met him when we were at a speaking competition in Dallas and Tim and I just kind of connected. So a couple of years ago, Tim, won the very competition that I was speaking at, and just by the serendipity of the nature of being in small groups and conferences and a couple few hundred people, Tim and I got to have a conversation, and throughout that conversation just kept noticing these intricacies that he and I had as far as parallels in our journey and our story we had suffered a tremendous amount of loss and people in our lives through death, through murder, and through suicide.

We talk about his experience with grief, with death, with losing his five best friends with overcoming that, with going through this process in which we learn to heal, through community, through connection. Tim is a music therapist, he talks about his journey and even plays a little song here at the end for us. So this conversation is heavy. It's very enlightening, very beautiful, powerful, it's a conversation that I know that I am very grateful for being able to have had and I look forward to having Tim in the future.

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Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation, Michael Unbroken here, entrepreneur, advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma, and today, you are listening to the Michael Unbroken podcast.

I'm joined today with a friend and amazing guess Tim Ringgold, who Tim, I only just met a couple of weeks ago, but was so incredibly impacted by his journey, his mission, his story, what it is that he's bringing into the world that I felt for lack of a better term morally obligated to bring you on to share this because one of the things that people I believe, Tim need to understand is that life is about what you make of it. So, Tim first off, thank you so much for being here.

Tim: Thanks so much for having me, Michael. It's great to be back together again.

Michael: You know; we cross paths in an interesting way, it's like funny, I was the deeper I get into the circle of the not only the 10x Community which obviously people know and the adventure, reach the community, which is newer to me. I'm meeting all of these amazing people, who have amazing stories, who are just like me. I felt like for the first time I'm finding this thing called community and it's so much about being in sync and then parlay with people who are like-minded, who are driven by the same things who are aiming to create impact in the world. So, Tim very simple question, how did you arrive at that moment where you and I are having dinner a couple of Mondays ago?

Tim: That's great! So, we were both at an event that was hosted by a gentleman named Pete Vargas, and I've seen a lot of speakers on stages. I'm a speaker, I host events, I speak at events, you know, I see a lot of people talk and I see a lot of people talk from their head, in our culture, there are talking heads, their knowledge experts. When I saw Pete speak for the very first time, we were both speaking at an event in 2017, and he spoke from the heart on an entrepreneur stage, and I was like, I've never seen this before. I love this guy instantly, there was just this connection of heart-to-heart in an entrepreneur context and that was so refreshing. And so I just immediately knew, you know, I want to spend more time with this guy because I love where he's coming from because I want to live my life coming from my heart and I want to lead from my heart and I almost want it to be a filter for people to either attract or repel. And so that was how I found my way to Pete and my experience as a client of his for a couple of years now has been that he attracts heart-centered, mission-driven entrepreneurs. And so the connection factor that you have with people that you meet at his event is super high because I feel like attracts like.

Michael: Yeah, absolutely. And that's one of the things that I think is so beautiful empowering about when you start to use your words lead with your heart because I think it's so easy and I'll say this I know that a lot of people listening to this podcast are entrepreneurial and it's really easy to lead with your head, to be a knowledge expert, to step into things for lack of a better term without vulnerability, right? I don't know how you can step into Impact and change in the world without having that. Before we dive into that, though. Tim can you tell people a little bit about what it is that you do, not only in music therapy but in the grieving space.

Tim: Yeah! So I'm a board-certified music therapist, which is, I'm an expert in using music as a treatment tool to help and to heal people with chronic and acute conditions across the lifespan. My passion right now, my company spends most of our time working with teens and adults, who are struggling with mental health and addiction issues that present like, depression and anxiety, and self-harm and addiction, but really have their roots in either, like acute childhood trauma, or relational trauma, and trying to sift and sort that out and heal that past create a compelling future, and then, how do you treat yourself in the present in order to cause a new future for yourself. One area that's it of particular, how do I put it, it's just like, Michael God, put me on this planet. I'll use the noun God, and I use that now, and I just all the listeners, use the noun that works for you, whether it's Universe purpose, spirit. I just feel like I was built to run into the crisis that other humans are having emotionally and one particular area that has shown up for is in the world of grief. I lead a grief retreat, twice a year in Phoenix, Arizona. I've been part of a grief retreat team since 2010. I've lost track of how many retreats have done and what I found is, our culture is terrible at understanding and participating in the grief process and journey, which is a very human, very natural part of the life span for all of us, and I just feel particularly built to help and heal, those who can't find relief from grief.

 Michael: It's really powerful. I love what you said because I often feel the same way, and I don't know if ever been able to articulate it quite the way that you just did in that, you know, because I always preface what I say is I was never signed up for this job. Look at the end of the day, I did not sign up for this job, at this job, was handed to me, as God, Spirit, Universe, whatever you want to call it. And it felt like I would be dismissive of the own potential within myself, if I did not move towards it, at least enough to find whether or not it's viable and that basically meaning like, can I increase change in the world? Can I impact change on the world? And for me, it started because of my own experiences, was that the same for you here Tim?

Tim: I would say that it's absolutely informed by that piece of my own journey. So my dad passed away when I was relatively young, I think I was 25 at the time and then but my five best friends were murdered when I was 22. I experienced a lot of grief earlier than any of my friends in the world, you know, they just didn't know how to relate to me. And I first took that personally, but then I just started to notice across our culture that it was just something that nobody does well, and at first, I would be like upset or offended by people's absence from my life as I went through my grief journey. And then I came to understand, they didn't know how to be with me along the way. They didn't know how to be my companion, they hadn't experienced it yet, or they had but their experience was so traumatic, that they didn't, they hadn't processed and healed their own grief yet, and my grief was triggering, their unprocessed and unresolved grief, and they didn't want that trigger. So they didn't, you know, I became this like Pariah among, you know, certain people in my life and it's sad because to this day, there are people in my life I have not seen since the death of blank, whether it was my friends, or was my dad or, if we get into it, my daughter a few years later or it just people just don't do well with it, and so, and then it combined with that. It was one of those things where there was just an opportunity where my mom who's a retired therapist was part of a retreat team at this wonderful Retreat Center that I love and it's been a very healing place for me and she just invited me one year, you want to come to a segment on healing grief with music.

And I was a like brand new board-certified music therapist full of excitement, and I was like; Yeah, absolutely! Hey, while I'm there, why don't I just do all the music on the retreat since they'll already be there? And then that immediately was just like, oh, wow, this is really powerful, this is really transformational and I think that transformation is something for me that's really important for people to experience in their life and it's hard to experience transformation for me unless I'm immersed in something for a few days. So, I've been going to seminars, conferences, workshop retreats myself throughout my life and I found that the biggest transformations and biggest healings I've had in my life, biggest moving forward. If you will have been during this kind of immersive experience. And so, I am all-in on having deep immersive experiences in order to heal, and so that retreat became like the opportunity to serve people in that way.

Michael: That's really beautiful. I think constantly about the lack of relationship that we especially as Americans and Western Society folks, have with death. It's almost as if we want to pretend, it's not there, but it's every corner, it's every house, it's everything because you know, I just you're not getting out of this alive, and I don't say that to be funny, but I say it because it's factual and I constantly share with my clients. If you change the relationship you have with death, you will change the way that you live your life,and the reason why I believe that is because I have faced death multiple times.

Once when I was young, I even had an asthma attack and next thing, you know, I flat-lined and I woke up on a surgeon's table. You know, it's one of those things where I constantly think about it, and I think it can also be a driver for like overkill, right? Where suddenly you're just going too hard, but how do you start to? Because there are so many factors on so many layers and so many variables in the way that we deal with death and the way that impacts us, in the way that impacts our livelihood, our communities, our families, and yet, like many things in life there's no playbook, there's no rulebook, there's no this is maybe what you should try and how do you start to tap into the emotional awareness that you have when you have experienced death close to you in a way that it now has impacted you?

Tim: Yeah. You know, I think that for me and one of the things that we share on the retreat and when I say we it was my mom, another retired therapist in me for like 20 retreats or so, and now I'm the solo leader of this retreat. So I still speak in the first person plural, but even though it's just me, feel like Abraham Hicks right now. We really like to help people understand a couple of things, one is that grief as an emotion is a normal and natural response to loss, and I think that phrase normal and natural is something that we the culture because you touched on it when you said, you know, Americans and westerners our culture tells a different story that it's not normal, it's not natural, it's a loss. We use negative language around it all the time and yet it's very normal and very natural, death is very normal and natural, grief is very normal, very natural, not something to be avoided, something to just be experienced, but we live in a culture that's based on convenience and comfort.

So if you live in a comfort convenient culture, the experience of grief is dissonant with that cultural current doesn't fit. So then we just try to avoid it as much as possible and it's not really sexy to tell people, Hey, listen, you gotta, you know, lean into this feeling, and really if you want to heal it, clichés are useful because we remember them, but if you want to heal it, you got to feel it, it's there's really no back door, there's no side won't go any way around it, you just got to lean in and experience that one of the things I try to explain to people if you think about energy as waveform energy as a wave, so energy, everything being energy, everything, therefore being waves of that of high points peaks trough, speaks troughs, if you want to experience the peaks of love and joy and connection, it's in inedible, you cannot escape the troughs. So if you think of the troughs like sadness or grief or pain, they are part of the same wave. You can't have one, you don't earn the right to experience one without the other, and so you have to really understand as a human being, you get both, it's a package deal. So it's not about avoiding the troughs, it's about understanding their part of the wave, and then what are the best practices that work for the largest number of people and go explore those and then figure out which ones you connect with, and I find that the Mantra exploring connect is extremely useful because each of us has our own personality in our own style, so not everything works for everybody. But if you go explore, you'll find what you connect with.

Michael: And I think that you're spot-on, I share this constantly. If you can't feel the full range of emotions, you won't feel any of them, and that's was my experience for a long time. And I thought, honestly, Tim and I've said this before, I thought it was a sociopath because I didn't cry, I learned how to turn it off. I didn't cry for 15 years and now it's like a Nike commercial, come on, and I'm over here like Baldwin, right? But it took so much to be able to get to that place, and a huge part of it was obviously therapy and personal development and things of that nature. But the other factor the variable that I think played the greatest role that I do not believe is talked about enough was Communitybeing in connection with other people who were experiencing these things, who had the ability for lack of a better term to mirror force, I've been there. Can you talk about the power of community in this process?

Tim: Yeah, I think the connection is probably the single most useful thing as a human being to aspire to, as mammals were pack animals. So we live in inter, you know, personal relationships, we are interdependent, we are being human as a shared experience from cradle to grave, we're not like bears like we don't go off and live in solitude, we live in relationship. So it's really useful to always be having an eye on this sense of connection first to your body, then to your mind, then to your community, then to some sort of power that you assign greater than yourself. For me, if you keep your eye on those four pillars, it's a game-changer. If you take any one of them out diminished the results, so if you can keep your eye on that's going to be a game-changer for you, and it's there's a gentleman named Dr. Alan Wolfelt, it's kind of unusual, last name Wolfelt and is a kind of an expert in the grief space, published a million amazing books, retreats training, and he has this concept called companioning, I think this is really useful to share.

Companioning is like when you have a companion, it's like, someone who's like walking along beside you, they're not walking in front of you, they're not walking behind you, they're not carrying you, they're just walking beside you. And I love in like classic western movie genre, you'll see the hero is riding his horse and there's a side shot of the hero riding his horse, and then some other person rolls up and their profile, just cuts into the shot, and now there are two and they don't say anything, they just look at each other and they nod and I'll have to say anything.

There is an understanding at that moment that whatever the struggle is that they're writing towards, they're going into it together and suddenly they're not to there somehow more than two that connection creates this kind of synergy between them. And the grief process is the same way and I find anybody who's been through any kind of experience, when you find others who get it, you don't have to justify or educate. And I think that is an exhausting process for people as they're trying to heal to either justify or educate. I'm busy trying to heal that is enough. I need people around me where I can just be healing and not having to justify or educate and that's what community provides.

Michael: Yeah. First off, I'm very poignant way to place that because you know, the second that you mention westerns my mind went immediately to you where you went because that makes so much sense to me and to coach how that I also think that you have to have the right companion also, right? People will go, oh it should be my partner or my best friend, that it should be, no talk about that, get very clear about the person who should be your companion.

Tim: That's really great. Yeah, so true. So one of the things that we notice is that the people that you think should show up, don't. And the people who don't do like you don't get what you want, you get what you need and so people will place expectations, on others to be everything, right? And they're not, first of all, but there are particularly two categories that I think it's really useful for people to think about. There are people who are human beings, and then there are people who are human doings. We live in a culture where we are just, what are you did? Would you do it over the weekend? What do you do for a living? What would you like to do? Right? Great! Okay, cool! Taipei, like to get stuff done.

You're going to have friends in your life who are human doings. They don't really want to just be; they just want to get stuff done, great assign tasks to them. Can you go get my laundry? Can you grocery shop for me? Can you do this errand? I can't seem to wrap my brain around getting this thing done. I need some help. Can you do that? Yeah, I'd love to, because human doers, express their love through doing, and then human beings, they can just be with you. And so, when you try to be with a doer, it's a terrible experience, because they're like, did you see the Sun's Game? What do you want to do? You want to go get some food and you're like, no, I just want to sit here at this moment and they just, they're not the right shape for the pegboard, but the human being that friend of yours who may not be good at going and getting tasks done. Can sit and listen to you, can sit and be with you the more they've been through the less they have to say because they just get you exactly where you are. And I think as for those who are looking to heal as you look in your community immediately around you, you'll notice pretty quickly if you just ask your gut which one of my friends are biers, which one of my friends are doers. You'll be like, oh, yeah, I know, I know who I can count on in this particular way or that particular way, and that's a really easy and useful way to kind of not set yourself up for disappointment.

Michael: That's such a wonderfully practical thing that you just shared. And I will say this, I believe that I've transitioned into more of a hybrid here between a bier and a doer. I definitely am more on the edge of the doer. I want to go in this little bit deeper, though. If I'm a doer or I am a bier, regardless, how do I show support for someone in this way that's (A) not cumbersome (B) not over-the-top (C) like actually showing up to be who they need me to be in that moment, as opposed to who it is that I believe that they need me to be?

Tim: Yeah, that's great stuff. Yeah, totally total sense. A lot of times we go charging in thinking, we know what others need because it's what we would need. And I think the five love languages book was a great kind of essay on that like just because I need words of affirmation doesn't mean you do. So, maybe I should check in with you as to what you need rather than me, projecting what I need on to you. So a really easy thing to do with people is to validate the experience, let them know you've been there too, and then asking them what they need. And it's a kind of disarming question because people aren't used to it. Like I actually don't know what I need and then you're like, okay, cool, but I'm here for whatever you need, so just let me know, and keep it casual, keep it light, it's refreshing, like; ‘Hey, listen. I have been there too. I and it doesn't have to be a long story, just a moment of validation. So, I got you when you need me. Let me know. What do you need? What can I do?’ Or if you haven't been through it, one of the most powerful things someone said to me, along the way, there were two things along the way. One person said; ‘You know what? I can't even imagine what you're going through. No, she said I can't even begin to imagine what you're going through.’ And I said; Thank you, you're right. You can't, because I couldn't until I was going through it. She's like, but having said that, I want to help you in any way I can. So what can I do? We're you know like you have, you've recognized, there's this gap between our experience but you don't want to let that stop you, and then someone else said to me one day Michael, he said; ‘Bro. I don't even know what to say to you. I'm so uncomfortable. But I just love you and I'm so sorry you're going through what you're going through. How can I help?’ And I was like; ‘Thank you for your honesty.’

You know, there was a vulnerability in that because I think that's what it's like for a lot of people is they just don't know, they don't know what to say, they don't know how to be and so just being really honest. Not thinking you have more power than they do, not thinking that they have less power because they're grieving, these are powerful people. We are powerful people. We're just powerful people grieving. So just being honest and straight about the love connection that you can provide and then letting them step into it.

 Michael: Yeah, I love that. And that's so true because first off, especially as a doer, I equate that to being a fixer and that's what you're not going to fix anything and threat, that's been such a huge transition for me, especially the deeper I get into coaching, the deeper I get into being of service, I recognize, man, I cannot be the one to fix people, which has been really freeing for me in coaching thousands of people because it helps me actually perform better helps me do it, helps me a better coach. One of the things I want to touch base on here, which I think is incredibly important here, and for those of you just listening behind him as a guitar, one of the most important parts of my journey, not only being like this angsty kid and team but in my 20s and even today is music. I mean to me it's everything, when I was right, you can't see it but in front of me, I have three music posters from different places in the world where I've been to see concerts and it's so impactful to me and in youth, music was the way that I express myself emotionally because I did not have the words to convey, whether it be anger or sorrow, sadness, hope, love, lust, grief, whatever that thing maybe. And as an adult it became this really beautiful catalyst for, now it's inspiration, now it's motivation, and now it's not just like the workout playlist, but it's can I use this beautiful element of expression to formulate an understanding of myself to give me? I know it sounds crazy, the power to go and do something incredible.

Maybe doesn't sound crazy because the context was conversation. Talk about just in whatever way that you think makes sense the role that music plays in our journeys, not only necessary in healing but in life, and why it's so important.

Tim: Yeah, I'd love to. Thanks for teeing up music because it's absolutely my passion and a little bit of my expertise, but I come into it as someone who was a music lover and a musician long before I was a music therapist. When I wrote my book, which is called Sonic Recovery: Harness the Power of Music to Stay Sober the word sober is an acronym and it's an acronym for what music helps us do. And so for years, I would share clinically, this is the reason why music is such a good tool and no one would ever remember it because he was jargon, right? Nobody remembers Jargon, except the expert who sang it because they love to hear it coming out of their own mouth, and then I was like, ah, you know, I was on a road trip with my wife and we were like, you know, Hal Elrod, author of “The Miracle Morning”, has an acronym in the miracle morning savers and I can remember the acronym to this day because acronyms are really useful ways for us to remember things. And so I was like, we need an acronym babe, you know, it's time. So we took all the benefits of music and we kind of, retrofitted it into a word, which is sober and it stands for music helps you one when you make it music, helps you to stay present. So in our culture were mostly music listeners, but we were all music makers for tens of thousands of years before recorded technology. So it's a deeply human experience to make music. Now to make music’s very simple, we forget how easy it is, our body is a rhythm machine, all our cells run on rhythm, all our systems run on rhythm, you walk in rhythm, you talk in rhythm, you sleep in rhythm, you blink rhythm, you scratch and rhythm, you chew and rhythm. I mean, it's just we are rhythm machines, your heart beats, and rhythms, you breathing rhythm, I could go on and on, right?

So it's this natural part of us, so when you're listening to music, you enjoy it. If you just tap, snap, clap, hum, rap, sing, strewn, scratch, along, engage your body with that music. Music is taking place through time, it's time-based. There's the beat is in time and if I change the time between the beats, I change the tempo of the music. So it's our attention has to be right here, and now, which is where our body is. So, when we engage our body with music, Michael, we engage in the present moment,we activate our bodies, which is really helpful for anybody. Struggling with any mental health issue, whether it is grief or it's depression or its anxiety, or it's trauma. Most of the time when we're suffering, it's because we're out of time. We're up in our head and we're not in time, we're worried about the future or were ruminating or replying to something from the past and our brain knows at a very deep level we have no control over the past or the future, and when our brain is perceiving situations where it perceives no control, it's distressing, it's actually a trigger for the stress response.

So we want to be in situations where we have some control and we have control over our body, if we remember, get connected to our body. Music instantly gives us that experience, if we engage with it, that's immensely powerful in many. It creates all kinds of ripple effects for us, but it takes us out of the worry of the future or the frustrations or pain of the past and brings us back to this moment and that's mindfulness movement is all about entering the present moment, mindfulness is a byproduct of when we engage with music. We don't even have to think about it. We're just suddenly in the moment with the music, if we're making it, if we're listening to it, that's a little bit buyer beware because as you know, our memories are attached to music.

Music is like a memory marker. If I play a song from your teens, you'll remember a time, a place a situation, a smell, people, and then all the associated emotions.So for people with trauma in their background, that's something you want to be careful about and understand that the way that the brain, it's like this little filing cabinet, it's going to associate the music with the events, with the emotions and then, you know, like that. So music listening wants to be careful about music-making, we absolutely want to engage our bodies whenever possible.

Michael: And yeah, and I agree with that. It's the same way as like a sent a food, anything can take you there because there are brain and body associates, everything. Part of that's the parameter of safety and creating defensive mechanisms, and part of it is like, is that a snake as a stick on the ground? I don't know but, you know, you're going to remember. Tim, I want to just go back quickly to the acronym. Gave us the first “S”. What's “S”?

Tim: Yeah, so I won't go into depth with all of them because we'd be here for an hour. But the O is for open up music attached like automatically moves. How do I put this in English? Music access is the emotional part of our brain instantly, so it allows us to open up that valve and release emotion and emotion is a great word because John Bradshaw once said; Emotion is just energy in motion, that's what the E is for energy in your body, you think, thoughts in your head, but you feel feelings in your body when you're nervous, you get butterflies in your stomach when you get dumped, you have a broken heart, right? There are these feelings in your body and music allows those feelings to move, and that's why you can feel better, and you can feel a lot just by listening to music because it allows that emotional part of you to just open up and it allows you to release things you can't talk about. Trauma is one of those things, right?They tried for years, talking to behavioral therapy, and it's like, not that effective, what are the experiential nonverbal modalities that we can explore? And that's why I, you know, if anyone who hasn't read Bessel Vander Kolk, yet, you should because he really unlocks all these different modalities that we can all access that doesn't deal with words, and so when you drum or you strum where you sing and you're just moving your body, you're moving emotion out of your body. So it's very cathartic to help us open up. The B is for being creative because when we make music, it's inherently creative and creativity, Michael is how we solve problems, and it's not a fixed trait, it's not something that you have like a creativity score that's fixed for your life, you can build creativity. One of the easiest ways to build creativities is by doing creative activities, it just builds that part of your brain and there's fascinating research that links making music to being creative. So you become better at the rest of your life, it's like going to the creativity gym. So you want to explore being creative through music. TheE is for escaping stressors, we need to turn off the stress response in our nervous system in a healthy way. Most of us when we get stressed, our brain triggers a craving that's an appropriate response to stress, it's an attempt to self-soothe. So the game is water, the things I can reach for when my nervous system is activated and I can turn that off with music when used correctly it turns off the stress response faster than any oral medication. So it's a great tool to reach for when we're stressed.

And then the last one is reconnected, we talked about the connection earlier. Music gives us the experience of not being alone because you've heard your story in someone else's lyrics like they just said it better than you could have said it yourself and suddenly you realized that guy or that gals been through it and look where they are now, I can do this too. And that's why you can feel more connected in your room by yourself with your earbuds in, than in a room full of people because the music doesn't scold you, it doesn't lecture you, it accepts you exactly where you are, with exactly what you're thinking, and exactly what you're feeling and I think as humans we talked about being social animals, the feeling of not being alone is one of the most important things for us to be able to experience.

 Michael: Yeah, I love that. That's a great acronym and I'll certainly remember that. I mean, I recall always just diving into music in this way that felt, it felt like therapy, honestly felt like therapy, because when I was a kid and I was angry, I could throw it on, and then when I was a teen and I was this, I was that, or this moment and it associates everything, like nothing to me is better than and people look at me like this tall, giant tattooed guy and you know, having this crazy-ass background, my favorite thing to do is like put some jazz on the back and just go and cook dinner, like there's nothing more calming to me than that.

So can you talk about and I don't know, we may not have enough time to dive in but I'm so curious because I think genre-specific music also plays a role in this, what I will be wrong because I feel like if I'm listening to high-tempo, hip-hop, I feel a certain way if I listened to Jazz, I feel a certain way and if I'm listening to Chopin, I feel a certain way, it does that hold true?

Tim: Yeah. It holds true in a couple of ways. One is tempo, your autonomic nervous system is a rhythm machine. So your heart rate, your blood pressure, your respiratory rhythm, they all run on rhythm and they're all impressionable. So you can and this is great research that this cardiac researcher did, that you can increase heart rate through external rhythms, you can decrease heart rate through external rhythms. So your body actually tries to sync with an external rhythm in the environment, and I've used this in the ICU to help patients who are even in a coma to lower their heart rate, lower their blood pressure, back down to normal healthy levels because their body automatically responds to a rhythm. So that's why, when you go to the gym, and you look at a cardio class, they're listening to up-tempo that tempo of (sound up-tempo) that is the tempo of the human heartbeat in that target heart rate zone. And the March that classical, (sounds March) the March is the tempo of the human heartbeat when you March.

So we tempo automatically up-regulates or down-regulates our nervous system. And so we can use that very specifically and that's why exercise playlists are usually fast tempo because we're looking to prime our nervous system, up into a high rate, and why like if we want to do work, apps like focus at work, which was created by my friend, Will Hentschel phenomenal, phenomenal app, if anyone's hasn't checked it out. We'll play the music that kind of matches, where are your kind of cognitive speed is while you're doing work, and that's why when you're relaxing, you want to be listening to downtempo music that is, you know, 60 to 70 beats per minute, and if you're feeling a little anxious you want to start out a little higher and then slowly bring it down because when you bring your heart rate down to 60 to 70 beats per minute, you are inevitably turning off the stress response in your nervous system. So you can use the speed of the music as your primary guide and then the genre becomes more like flavor, it's more of a reflection of your own identity, what you connect to personally and so, it doesn't match so much from just a purely physical state, as more of a socio-emotional state.So you feel gotten, you feel part of something and you identify with that thing.

Michael:That’s so practical. Like, I want people to really understand what Tim just said because the music in your ears that is reverberating through your body is impacting everything around you. If you're waking up in the morning, and the first thing that you're doing is you're throwing on trap music, you're probably throwing yourself into a heightened awareness state as soon as you get out of bed, right? So just think about that, what you're listening to play such a pivotal role in the way that you're existing at that moment again, that presence idea. Tim, I'm going to ask you a couple of questions here. The first question is since it would be remiss of me, not to ask is, will you play as out this afternoon?

Tim: Oh sure. Absolutely.

Michael: Perfect. So before we do that before I ask you my last question, where can everybody find you?

Tim: in my last name is the easiest place to find me and should we tell them about our event.

Michael: Absolutely.

Tim: Okay. So if you are a health care professional or, you know one this has been a brutal 18 months, and the amount of adrenal fatigue and complete, and utter exhaustion is at an epidemic level. So, I'm hosting a free five-day Summit in August to support Healthcare professionals, reduce their stress. So we'll have 20 plus speakers, Michael is one of them who are focusing on how to heal trauma, how to end burnout, and how to balance work and life in a healthy way.

So, if you know anybody who fits that description or that's you, you can just go to, it's a free event, really excited to support my fellow Healthcare Professionals in this way. I support them ongoingly through my own podcast, called reduce your stress, but this Summit is kind of something I do, twice a year and it's very passionate about. So please check it out at and just find me at

Michael: Beautiful. Yeah, and we'll put the links in the show notes, of course, and I'll be sharing that out with my audience. Tim before I have you play as off my last question for you today, my friend is, what does it mean to you to be unbroken?

Tim: Art is for those of you who are familiar with classical art, there's this thing called patina, where you fill cracks with gold paint to actually highlight the cracks, it shows authenticity, it shows that it's not a fake and I think that we all get cracked along the way in the journey of life. And I find that it's much more refreshing for me to actually paint those cracks and heal those cracks with gold paint so, others can see as well, and can find me along the way to help them heal when it's their time and it's not, whether you're going to make it through it's how you're going to make it back and life is either happening to me, or for me, it's one of the most impactful transformational questions you can ever ask, and you can always say, how is this happening for me? And it's like, oh so I can connect with more people and more people and more people, and that's what I got.

Michael: That's beautiful, Tim. Thank you so much.

Unbroken Nation, please go follow Tim, check him out, visit the summit.

We're going to do incredibly beautiful things together.

Thank you so much for listening.

And again, like subscribe, comment, tell a friend.

And until next time.

My friends, Be Unbroken.


*Song Lyrics*

Lean on Me.

When You're Not Strong.

I'll be your friend.

I'll help you carry on.

For it won't be long ‘till I'm gonna need somebody to lean on.

You just call on me brother when you need a hand.

We all need, need somebody to lean on.

I just might have a problem that you'll understand.

We all need somebody to lean on - lean on me.

When You're Not Strong.

I'll be your friend.

I'll help you carry on.

For it won't be long ‘til I'm gonna need somebody to lean on.



Tim RinggoldProfile Photo

Tim Ringgold


Tim Ringgold is a board-certified music therapist, author, and host of the Reduce Your Stress podcast and Summit. Tim is also an award-winning international speaker, having shared the stage with some of the top minds on music, the brain, and personal development, including Tony Robbins. Tim was the first person to give a TEDx talk on music therapy in 2012 and is a former Regional President of the American Music Therapy Association.

Michael UnbrokenProfile Photo

Michael Unbroken


Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.