Sunday, February 17, 2013

February 17, 2013: A Dream Realized...


When I first joined LinkedIn a few years ago as a new music therapist, the site asked me for my job title.

I put, "Ambassador of Music Therapy."

It remained that until recently when I updated it to "Transformation Architect," which incorporates more of my speaking, coaching, and non-profit motives, but I digress.

It has been a mission of mine to raise the level of visibility and perceived value of music therapy as an industry during my time here on earth.

This past week, I got a huge opportunity to help make good on that mission.

Back in December, I was given the amazing opportunity to give a 7 minute TEDx talk on music therapy at a local TEDx event in Orange County.  When selecting keywords for YouTube and the TED website, I researched who else among allllll the TED talks out there had put "music therapy" in their keywords...

No one.

In all of the TED talks online, not one was on music therapy... until this week.  I had the honor of essentially giving the first TEDx talk on music therapy.  Here it is for your viewing pleasure:

What struck me as poetic about the talk is that I got to combine my passion for music therapy with my journey with Bella in a truly authentic way.  Up to that point my music therapy world and Bella/PUCK world were seemingly different universes.  I have two different websites, two different email addresses, two different business cards, etc.  But finally, I got to 'bring it all home,' so to speak!

I also see the trail of support that led me to that stage.  I can trace each hand that reached out and helped me up along my way... most of which never guessing their outstretched hand would help me to this point.  The event organizer, Nikkisa Abdollahi, was a guest at a private party where I spoke about the music therapy program I was trying to build and raise funds for at UCI.  I didn't even meet her till after I spoke.  That party was a year ago this Tuesday.  That party was thrown by the medical director at UCI Cancer Center, Dr. Frank Meyskens, who has been my champion at UCI these past two years.  However, if it wasn't for my champion advocate social worker colleague, Jennifer Higgins, I never would have met Dr. Meyskens.  Not only did she invite me to a giant survivor dinner for cancer patients and give me a booth, she marched me up to Dr. Meyskens and introduced me to him.  I don't think I would have had the courage to do that myself at the time.  Last, if it hadn't been for my teacher, Helen Dolas, who struck up the relationship with Jennifer and her colleague, Donna Baker, way back in 2007, none of this would have been possible.

You know who else made all this possible?  Ang.  I remember I had like less than a week's notice to get  my booth set up and attend that first dinner.  Ang said no problem.  Know who was seated front row at Dr. Meyskens' house, reading testimonials from patients into the mic while I played my native American flute?  Ang.  Know who was watching the kids so I could be laser focused on giving the best talk of my life this past December on a Sunday afternoon?  Ang.  Without her unwavering support of me, none of this would have been possible.

Last but not least, you KNOW who made this all possible, right?  God.  Who else could have orchestrated all these things in such a way?  Remember me researching and studying to become a NICU music therapist, and low and behold, BELLA is my first patient?  C'mon... Providence, Providence, Providence, the whole way through.

I am blessed beyond belief, and the gratitude I have for each one of these people is immeasurable, for I know I didn't get here on my own.  Sure, it's my job to prepare for each event so that when my mouth opens, (which it has no problem doing HAHAHAHA) the best possible combination of words - and music - comes out.   However, without all this support underneath, there is no place for me to speak, and no one to speak to.  I LOVE speaking.  I feel at home speaking.  I feel built to speak.  I feel like God's conduit... like a mouthpiece.  I pray that these amazing opportunities continue to come my way, and that I may continue to share this beautiful field of music therapy and this beautiful journey with Bella in such a beautiful way... many, many more times.

Thanks for letting me share it again here with you tonight.

God night.


  1. You have always been a mouthpiece for God in my eyes. You and your familes familes faith through all of your ups and downs is one of the main things that draws me to your blog every week. You have such a gift for efficient communication and you articulate yourself so well it is almost like your faith reaches out and touches people and changes lives. Your faith is a living, breathing thing and it is a real pleasure to see! Thanks as always for sharing Tim and have a great week!
    Kelley from MO

  2. And I love "hearing you speak" through this blog! Thank you so much for maintaining it! When Bella was in MN, I tuned in everyday, sometimes several times a day. I was one of those that has always gotten so much from your "motivational speaing" through your writing here and I am extremely grateful.

    You have a gift and thank you for allowing me to benefit from it.

    Have a fantastic week!

  3. Looking at the video, I can also see you as a speech therapist. It is a big skill, Tim, the number one fear of people is communication. Not facebook, of course, but speaking in front of public. Not for you. ;)

    Never wrote before but I had to now. I have been following Bella's story from the clinical trials and got your book as well. I always get emotional reading here, as my older daughter was born only one month after Bella. I bet she is proud of you every time you bring your skills to the next level.

  4. I loved it :)
    ANd shared it...

    and I love that it kinda looks like you are doing the chicken dance in the freeze frame here.
    Ha ha ha!

  5. Wow- it has been SOO long since I've been out here! Not on purpose, mind you, it's just been craziness in the life of Team A. I'm so glad to see the Ringgolds are doing well! Praise God for his faithfulness to you, and may He continue to bless you. Can't wait to be a more frequent reader again!

    Love from TX,
    Laura (for Team A!)