It’s late- “past my bedtime”. As usual. But I have to post this video with a short explanation. I watched the movie Arrival tonight. I wanted to see it so badly when it first came out but for some reason couldn’t make it happen. How I wish I had seen it on the big screen! So beautiful… And the soundtrack knocked me out. It should, right? It’s all about communication. It worked. It was brilliant. And when it got to the credits the music was so incredibly beautiful I had to watch them a second time through. The piece is by the late Johann Johannsson and it is haunting and lovely. But there is also a track by Max Richter- “On the Nature of Daylight”. I had to look him up on Youtube and when I did I came across this amazing video, as exquisitely beautifully as the music they are playing.
A little over 20 years ago I had a client with essential tremors, much like the woman in the video in the attached article. The first time he went on the Soundweaver, with the vibroacoustic therapy and some light hands-on energy work, his tremors completely stopped. I would say that first time it took about ten minutes. After the session his tremors started up again like an old engine slowly starting up and within about 30 seconds they were totally back. But he had experienced relief. He told me it was the most relaxed he had been in 8 years since the tremors started up and that during the session he had no tremors at all. He said that at night when he slept he could feel his organs still shaking but during the session everything stopped.
Afterward he wrote a testimonial: “I fell into a state of meditation. I was in a void with beautiful light-blue light. All of my tremors stopped. It was like I was in a void with no end and no beginning. As soon as I felt like there was something beyond that, I reached for that Unknown and I came out of my state of meditation. as if I wasn’t supposed to go any further. It was a wonderful experience.” CST, 7.30.96
For the next year or so he came to me regularly for sessions. After the first session the entrainment set in much more quickly and it would only take about 3 minutes for his tremors to come to a total stop. They would always start right up again shortly after the music stopped, but he would get a reprieve and a period of deep rest that was very rejuvenating for him. The relief from going into such a deep state of relaxation would stay with him for a few days- which was huge. And then the exhaustion of the tremors would begin to set in again.
Close to a year later he shared another experience in a testimonial: “Most of the time I was in a marble chamber and at the entrance was some kind of a huge sculpting of a snake-like creature on the right. Inside it was calm and peaceful, no other people. Then I went into a place where everything became light. Light blue. It was so peaceful and calm that you feel no weight. When you are in there it is an extension of your life and you do not want to come back. I spent the rest of the time in the blue light. I feel like I am floating. I didn’t even feel the weight of my arms when I came out.” CST, 5.26.97
He didn’t come back much after that. It seemed that it became perhaps too painful emotionally for him to come back to his body after being in such a deeply restful and beautiful space. Not long after this he had surgery for his tremors which wasn’t entirely successful as I recall, but that’s another story and not mine to tell. He was elderly when I was treating him and passed away several years later. Working with him was an incredible gift for me and I know there was a period of time where it was extremely helpful for him. It was also tremendously educational as I was still fairly new to the work- had only been practicing a few years- and opened me to tremendous new possibilities with rhythmic entrainment and vibroacoustic therapy (introducing sound directly to the body through the use of a mat or recliner with speakers built into it).
Tonight I ran across this video about brain surgery with sound- in this case for essential tremors- very exciting!!! Click on this link for the full article.
Happy 2019 my friends! I went to the gym this morning after a late night of Irish music on New Year’s Eve and a chill day yesterday. The gym has a bank of TVs across the entire length of the room- at least 20 of them, maybe 30-with ten stations to choose from. All the current news stations of choice- CNN, MSNBC, Fox (no comment), the Food Network (which led me straight to the store after the gym the other day to buy pastrami, lol!), some home renovation channel and some other uninteresting choices. Occasionally I listen to podcasts on my phone (Alec Baldwin, Geoff Thompson, or NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”). Usually I’m captivated by MSNBC but at a certain point today I found it all too disheartening, bordering on nauseating. And it was only 8:30 a.m. I decided the best choice if I was going to stay on the treadmill another 10 minutes was music. So I put this track on repeat. Best thing I could have done. Totally changed my energy. Music is the balm… ;-)
Literally not a day goes that I don’t think about what i want to write in my blog. Thoughts, ideas, inspirations, observations. Unfortunately a day rarely passes in which I actually take a pause between “The 10,000 Things” long enough to actually get to this page! (As a matter of fact I just had three paragraphs written and some how managed to suddenly hit a wrong key somewhere and delete the whole thing… Starting over.)
Tonight I’m sitting in my living room with the fire going, Christmas tree lit up, just me- and Bruce Springsteen. Okay, well, kind of. Bruce Springsteen on Broadway… on Netflix… in my living room. And he said something so astute that I had to take advantage of the moment to share it. I let too many of these moments go by.
He said that we become the person whose love we are most desperate for because that is the one way we can get it. It blew me away. So clear and simple- I started weeping. I think I always thought it was some lack of vigilance that caused us (me) to somehow become like our (my) parents (usually the less attractive aspects, it always seemed to me) and this just made such perfect sense to me. It hit me like a sort of revelation. So, that’s it. just that. We become the person whose love we are seeking… So simple.
Well, there’s a little more since I’m on the subject of Bruce. When I was 18 I ran off with my boyfriend and ended up living in a little hunting cabin in Saxton’s River, VT. That winter I was listening to the radio one day and there was an interview with a guy named Bruce Springsteen (this is 1973 now). He caught my attention because A) he was a young rock n’ roller and B) because in the band he had with him he had a tuba player and an accordion player and that was odd enough to be worth listening to. The first song he played was Rosalita and I loved it and that was all I needed to hear. Up until then all the songs I ever heard with my name in them were Second Hand Rose, Yellow Rose of Texas, Rose of Washington Square and Rosemarie I love you. So here it is. Enjoy!
I have a lot to write about it but it’s past my bedtime and I might turn into a pumpkin so this will be a short one. I want to write about my Sanskrit workshop, I want to write about time spent in Paul Dobbe’s recording studio this past week…
But first… I want to share another one of my top ten favorite songs! And I have to share it now because I went to see Tom Rush tonight and he closed with it and it is hanging out in my consciousness. It is timeless. I remember when I first heard it- I was 15- up at my brother’s house in Vermont. It blew me away the first time. The whole album was one of the great albums of the era, to my mind- definitely on my lifetime list of top ten favorite albums. He covered a number of other people’s tunes on the album doing his own unforgettable renditions of each of them. Every song on the album is exquisite but there’s something about the heart and the intensity of this one that makes it even more special. It has never failed to bring tears to my eyes. Tonight was no different.
And again, it speaks of the power of music to bring us straight into our heart, letting all the other crap drop away for a while. It’s a cleansing. On one of the steps going up into concert venue tonight was emblazoned “Music is Truth.”
Really I don’t have any! I just liked the way all those words fit together. Let’s see what happens with a little stream of rambling though. I can’t call it stream of consciouslness because I’m not sure how much consciousness will actually be expressed here!
Some of the things I have been recently ruminating on… First, the sound journey I did two weeks ago at St. Mary’s Church in Portsmouth, RI. I played longer than usually- not incredibly longer but maybe 8-10 minutes longer… and I felt like I could have just hung out and gone on and on. I had to reel myself in at a certain point (that point being when I looked at the time).
It was such a gorgeous space- I had been wanting to do a sound journey in there ever since I first went there for a yoga class about a year ago. I record all my sound journeys so a few days ago I was listening back to this one. I often don’t remember what I did after a sound journey- I am in such a focused and meditative state. I just remember the feeling and the overall vibe of it. Sometimes there are certain instruments that stand out or maybe a particular chant. This one happened to be particularly trippy- there were a lot of combinations of tones that were creating very interesting and powerful binaural beats and as I perceived them I began to play off them and amplify them.
A few nights ago I went to a ukulele class. Now THAT was fun!!! I expected a small group of 12-20 people but it turned out that there were over 50 people in the beginner’s class- probably closer to 60- and the songbook we have been given is so much fun. Goofy songs like “Put The Lime in the Coconut” to songs by Herman’s Hermits, The Beach Boys and the Beatles- lots of Beatles tunes. My new favorite song to practice is “Don’t Pass Me By”- not something I ever imagined playing on the ukulele!
And then I went to an amazing workshop this past weekend at John Beaulieu’s property in Stone Ridge, NY- auriculotherapy with tuning forks- ie using tuning forks on acupuncture points in the ear, a brilliant therapy that I have wanted to learn for 20 years. It was a small group and thus a very intimate workshop and just what I needed for balance, inspiration and some great new information. John also gave me a really powerful treatment as part of his demo on Sunday morning which was also sorely needed. I have been trying to get my energy back and release some of the physical and emotional toll that my trips to Utah took on me earlier this year when my son Benjamin was having health challenges. A short treatment with John- who is such an extraordinary sound healing practitioner, bringing together his skills as a psychologist, osteopath, craniosacral therapist, musician extraordinaire and so much more- was just the right medicine.
And to top it off, we were in John’s sound studio which is for me, and I am sure all of the other sound healing practitioners, artists and musicians who are drawn to being there, like Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory was for Charlie!
Every day is FULL!!! Full of life, full of people, full of music. The one thing that seems to be lacking is time. My mind also is full. Every day there are so many bright moments of inspiration and awakening that I want to share and here it is, past midnight and I am knowing I have an early day tomorrow so I can only take a quick minute to post a couple more of my favorite pieces of music.
Here you go- one of the greatest soul men of our time. In doing a little research I discovered that he died on my birthday 2 years ago. I saw him several times back in the late eighties and he was wonderful and so accessible. I called him once at his home in Chicago- (those were the days when you could still get a phone number from information!) to tell him how much my boyfriend and I loved him and he answered the phone himself! The next time we saw him he dedicated a song to us (Love and Happiness).
So put on your dancing shoes and turn it up! The second one is one of the all time greatest songs ever, imho!!!
Well, I fell off the wagon really fast! I am determined to catch up but tonight only time to jump on here quickly and post one new song although more and more are being added to my
”stopped in my tracks” playlist.
I listened to this whole album tonight loud- it was so good. Musical immersion… Did a few quick expressive art drawings while listening. Will post on Facebook tomorrow.
Day 4 of music that has knocked my socks off!Read More
And the winner is… Chuck Prophet! TURN IT UP!
Note: The first video is the super cool, super chill version of one of the finest songs ever. The second is the super kick-ass rocking guitar version- both excellent… The third is from Live At Daryl’s House which was where I heard it the first time. Blew me away! (No, I was not AT Daryl’s house, lol- watching it online!) I have been known to listen to this song over and over- in fact I just did!!! It’s just too freaking cool.
Had never heard this song nor Marcia Ball until this randomly came on some radio station somewhere years ago… WMNF community radio Tampa perhaps? I think it was even before I moved to FL… WBRU Providence? No idea where I was or what i was doing. All I know is I stopped, listened, cried, and fell in love.
So… after I posted my last post- the one with one of my all-time favorite songs by Bruce Cockburn- I thought it would be really fun to post some of my other favorites, songs that made me stop in my tracks the first time I heard them. I was going to list them but I think it will be more fun to surprise you with a new one each day. I don’t know if I could just do my “Top Ten” (I’ve already gotten to eleven and I’ve only just begun).
Anyway, when I got to choosing a song by the Talking Heads I couldn’t decide on just one because everything they ever did was brilliant… so I went to YouTube and put in David Byrne and came up with this, a new song, something I had never heard before. I can’t say it’s my number one favorite song by him (because like I said, they all rank #1 with me) but it’s a brilliant performance in every way and I was instantly blissed out as I began to watch. I can definitely say it’s one of my favorite performances. Turn on your speakers or your Bluetooth and turn them up loud- and let me know if you love it even half as much as I do!!!
Afterthought: Thinking about healing with music- anything that brings you joy is healing. Joy makes your cells sing and come alive!
Good morning! Feeling happy, joyful and grateful today. As apparently per usual these days, I think of my blog every day and before I know it the day has gotten away from me and I am off and running and another day goes by, and I have not visited with you- whoever you are that may be reading this. In fact, I am sitting here at a little table in a little Airbnb in Vancouver, Canada wondering if I should stop, get up and make breakfast and get back to this. Bad idea! Breakfast can wait. Sharing musical ecstasy cannot wait another minute, hour or day.
Everyday, whether I actually get to this or not, and obviously by the date of my last post it has been quite a while, I wonder what I can share today- whether it is a tidbit on sound healing, music that excites me or the simple sound of a bird. One of my favorite recordings is that of sheep in Holland that I recorded on my iPhone a few years ago. It’s in my voice memos and makes me laugh every time I hear it. It was the day I discovered that sheep have distinctly different voices. It spans the range of an almost squeaky bleating sound of a lamb to a very gruff and deep voice of what sounds like must be a large older male, though really I have no idea- maybe it’s the little one’s mama. But it’s funny- and if I were ever able to figure out how to post some of my voice memos here I would.
I have hours and hours of music, workshops, sound journeys, kirtan, practice- as well as cicadas in Sedona, peepers in North Carolina (the Murphy, NC Wall of Sound!), Dutch sheep, birds in the backyard, birds in Holland, morning sounds in Maui, whale songs, my granddaughter Noelle when she was barely 3 singing a hysterical song she made up (I Don’t Care About the Truth), a ferry on Lake Kootenay (British Columbia- just recorded that one a couple of days ago)- all recorded with the Voice Memo App which is surprisingly good.
So- a couple of days ago I was in the grocery store in Vancouver and out of the relatively distant past comes the voice of Bruce Cockburn singing one of my very most favorite songs which I had not heard in years. And for the last two days I have been wondering what I might share in my next blog post. Talking about music and sound is all good- but there has to be an experience as well. There is no understanding without an experience- at least in my experience! And this morning I woke up thinking, that’s it- today’s the day. Sit your ass down and write something! And I wondered- and there it was. I’m wondering where the lions are.
Listening to some amazing bansuri flute player with Zakir Hussain- YouTube videos rolling one into the next on my tv, hooked up to my stereo system. I guess I'll just have to provide the video here! It's so beautiful.
A few years ago I moved into the house I am currently living in. I had been back in RI for a couple of years but still had all my stuff in storage in FL. It all came up on a truck, some personal belongings but mostly furnishings and sound healing equipment from my sound healing center in FL. Included in that were a vibroacoustic body mat, vibroacoustic massage table and a vibroacoustic recliner- meaning that they have speakers built into them. When a person sits or lies on vibroacoustic equipment and music is played, the sound is broadcast throughout the entire body. The only other equipment need is a CD player and an amp.
As it happened one of my CD players for the massage table wasn't working so I went on Craig's List to see what I could find. Someone was selling some components separately. All I needed was the CD player. I went to his house just a few miles away to pick it up. Cheap, I think it was $35, a simple Sony CD player. He also had a Yamaha amp and a pair of Polk Audio speakers. I think he was selling the amp for $35 and the pair of speakers for $75 or everything for $125. I didn't need the other stuff. I had several amps and no need for the speakers. I had a Bose Wave Radio/CD player that I was very happy with. He said, "Well let me just show you the rest of the components and you can hear how it sounds." He put on Dire Straits, "Walk of Life" and turned it way up. Who could resist that? Sold! My son hooked it up to my TV and that is what I am listening to the Zakir Hussein concert on. It's perfect.
But just in case you're in the mood for something completely different... here you go!
Have to make this short and sweet! Found out at the 11th hour last night that I could take an Expressive Art workshop at Salve Regina this weekend and have 80,000 things to do before that all starts up at 12:30 tomorrow. Feeling good and excited about all the things that are coming to the forefront. Today I was going through a stack of artwork that I did when I attended the Expressive Art Institute Facilitator Training at Salve in 2013. Pulling apart my combination studio/office space
I have been on the edge of a burst of creativity for the last week or so- feeling the urge but not quite stepping into it. I bought myself an easel and a bunch of canvases last week which I just put together two nights ago. My paints and a blank canvas are poised! Now I just have to clean up the floor again!
Still going through bouts of deep exhaustion interspersed with longer periods of vision, clarity and energy as I begin to integrate back into my home after being away and on the move for so long. Four months of intensity during my travels back and forth to Utah, then driving across the country, down to FL, teaching workshops and driving back up north. Okay, I'm home- so let me be here now.
Here is a piece I came across this morning that is resonating.
Benjy Wertheimer shared this earlier this morning on Facebook. Powerful, poignant and deeply resonant- good words to wake up to. He had a powerful reference point for it in his own story of love, loss, grief and more love. I know we will each have our own context.
For me, in this moment, it is much about my last few months as I wrote about in my previous post- feeling as though my heart had been pulverized as I watched my 38-year-old son Ben become less and less responsive after an eye surgery where they had to go in through his cranial bones. Eventually he turned around but there were a few days that were without question the longest days of my life as i wondered if he was slipping away for good, as I saw the nurses have to restrain him when he didn't know what was happening and was trying to pull out his feeding tube and many leads to the EEG glued to his head, when he didn't know where he was or why he was there, when I saw nothing but fear and confusion coursing through his being . I am still processing it with an awareness of impermanence and the strangeness of the illusory passage of time and the wrenching of the heart. And the softness and love that permeates through it all.
“You will lose everything.
Your money, your power, your fame, your success, perhaps even your memory.
Your looks will go.
Loved ones will die.
Your own body will eventually fall apart.
Everything that seems permanent is absolutely impermanent and will be smashed.
Experience will gradually, or not so gradually, strip away everything that it can strip away.
Waking up means facing this reality with open eyes and no longer turning away.
Right now, we stand on sacred and holy ground.
For that which will be lost has not yet been lost, and realising this is the key to unspeakable joy.
Whoever or whatever is in your life right now has not yet been taken away from you.
This may sound obvious but really knowing it is the key to everything, the why and how and wherefore of existence.
Impermanence has already rendered everything and everyone around you so deeply holy and significant and worthy of your heartbreaking gratitude.
Loss has already transfigured your life into an altar."
~ Jeff Foster ~
A quiet Sunday today with a couple of long phone calls to close friends, adjusting to being home. Adjusting to being... not doing, not driving, not coping with a trauma, not teaching, not in someone else's space, not living out of a suitcase. Adjusting to home... waking up in the middle of the night after more than a week- still wondering what bed am I in, which side of the bed do I need to get out on, where is the bathroom, what is my once-normal morning routine, how did I used to fix my coffee, where is the coconut oil? Oh- there isn't any. I took it on my road trip and left it at Mimi's house two months ago.
Listening to a hawk outside, feeling grateful and exhausted, physically, mentally, emotionally... but better than yesterday. As I settle into myself I think, "I feel like my heart has been pulverized"- having watched my son go through a recovery from neurosurgery that took a downward turn before he started coming back. He did... he has done amazingly well. And now I am starting to come back. My body got back 10 days ago. The rest of me is taking longer.
I am allowing myself to be quiet, to only talk to the people I am ready to talk to. I don't know who that will be from one day to the next. Simply allowing the urges to connect or to withdraw as they arise in the moment.
My heart is soft (pulverized). The image is a chicken breast that has been pounded to tenderize it. My heart has been tenderized! I like that.
I was deeply moved by a speech Leonard Cohen gave after being given a poetry award in Spain. I wept at the end. That is when I realized the condition of my heart. I don't think I want to change it. I like the pliability, the feeling that I don't need to harden it, to steel myself against the waves of emotion. I was told years ago by an astrologer "Your power lies in your ability to feel." That ability has just been ramped up a few notches.
It has been a long journey! I am in North Carolina finally wending my way home. My son Ben was in Neuro Critical Care Unit for over a week and in Inpatient Rehab for another 8 days. I have so much to share, to write about, to process... I will slowly add bits and pieces as the next few weeks go by.
I had an idea of what I was going to write about today- but that has all changed... because I just watched THIS!
"In Sanskrit 'Narayan' is the name of God in his infinite all-pervading form and translated as 'the one who moves in the infinite waters and is also the water itself.'" Quote from linked article by Anne Koller at the bottom of this page.
It is said that we are always teaching what we need to learn. Ever since I decided to teach a workshop about sound and water everything seems to be about fluidity- including a very watery sound journey I did a couple of weeks ago. My son Benjamin has been in and out of the hospital in Salt Lake City several times in the last two months and is now back in, having had a pretty intense surgery last week. He was supposed to be in Neuro ICU for one to two nights at most, but has been here for almost a week. Surgery was last Tuesday, May 8- it is now Monday, May 14.
As for me, the plan was for me to be leaving here in five days and driving to Florida to teach a series of workshops and do some Healing Sound Journeys while there. I drove out here with a car full of Tibetan singing bowls and other instruments. Given that Ben's recovery thus far has not gone as planned I may well have to be out here longer. I have already changed the schedule once. I am hoping everyone else is willing and able to be fluid as I need to be right now. This is not how I expected to be teaching them about water! The one constant that identifies water is that it is always changing.
Here is a great article about some of the different ways water can be of benefit to the body, mind and spirit. Click here for the article The Radical Healing Effects of Water.
No time to write- but thought I'd share this fabulous piece of music. Occasionally I get to stop long enough to look at some of the pictures on the video as well. What better way to get stuff done than to put on Keith Jarrett's Koln Concert in the background- or in the foreground!