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… ;-)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sarasvati, "She Who Flows", is the goddess of creativity, wisdom, intellectual pursuits, the arts and sciences, music and language. She is the one we can invoke before we begin any creative project.
This is a great little clip of Mike Oldfield, maestro extraordinaire, discussing his creative process. I love the how he talks about the germination of an idea.
And just for the fun of it I am posting another great song of his (what has he done that isn't great?) that isn't always associated with him- but in fact he wrote it (NOT Hall & Oates as some folks believe). This is the original version on his album "Five Miles Out" (Maggie Reilly on vocals). If your only association with Mike Oldfield is as the composer of "Tubular Bells" this one may come as a surprise- but really, he is a musical genius and full of surprises.
And now, if I have your full attention, turn up your speakers, lay back and listen to the full recording of "Ommadawn"- total gorgeousness and brilliance! Talk about sound healing! I used to listen to this endlessly. It's over 40 years old now and has lost nothing over the years- still just brilliant and beautiful. I know every note by heart. It was music to disappear into when life got to be too much... This is one of those albums that could always bring joy to my heart and peace to my mind.
Last night I fell asleep and had a dream within a dream.
In the dream I had lain down and fallen asleep listening to music through some kind of speakers or earbuds, so I was deeply immersed, bathing, in the music when I fell asleep. When I woke up it was 3 in the afternoon the next day and the only reason I had woken up was because someone had come in my room (this is all in the dream) and sat on my bed- maybe to see if I was awake or up. I couldn't believe it was so late and that I had slept so long but I was totally blissed out. I had been dreaming that I was in a timeless place- or experience- of utter peace, bathed in a brilliant silvery golden light. A place of "enlightenment"... That was all I saw and felt. It went on and on but there was no time. I was happy to see the person who had come in my room, a dream character, someone I loved deeply. I was excited to tell him of my dream and share the wonder and gratitude I was feeling.
I woke up to this reality shortly thereafter. The experience of the vision was clear and strong and felt like the most real part of the whole experience of "dreaming". I was blissed out, still smiling when I woke up, still filled with joy and gratitude.
That was my dream. Beyond that, as I write this I have an awareness that something has shifted inside me since my birthday on January 8. I woke up feeling unexpectedly joyful that day and have had long periods of it since then. I am a strongly emotional person and I feel deeply but I have rarely, if ever, used the word "joy" to describe my inner state of being. I have said I am happy, I feel great, fantastic, wonderful, blissed out at times, but I don't know if I have ever said "I feel joyful today". I have used it to describe others, or to describe music, or some other experience but I don't think I have ever said it about myself! I like this feeling.
As an afterthought I need to add that I have been reading a pretty amazing book by John Edmonds from New Zealand who was clinically dead for around 25 minutes and had a near death experience. I have been reading his book Beyond the Horizon every night before I fall asleep. I kept drifting off as I was reading it last night and I remember that it crossed my mind wondering if reading these words could trigger an internal experience beyond just gathering information or a deeper of affirmation of things I already believe or on some deep level know to be true. When I woke up I felt that what I was reading had definitely influenced my visionary dreamstate.
Okay, I intended to write something completely different tonight but then I saw Oprah's speech from last night's Golden Globes and was dissolved in tears. You've probably already seen it. Sound healing is a wonderful thing- but when someone has the boldness, clarity and integrity to speak from their heart, to stand up for truth and righteousness, then everything else kind of pales. So, in case you haven't seen here it is- and if you have, this is going to be one of those speeches that will be worth watching and listening to over and over for years to come.
This was the end to an awesome day. I woke up this morning on my birthday- 1.8.18- to a sense of profound joy that has stayed with me throughout the day. This absolutely topped it off for me like nothing else could have. Thank you Oprah, and to all the women and men who stand strong in the truth of their being.
This was my greatest inspiration today (breathe in)... Moved to tears by the end of it. Angelique Kidjo and Branford Marsalis' stunning performance of Ravel's Bolero. Enjoy!
I woke up this morning to a clear, windy, bitterly cold, snow-covered world. It is beautiful and fortunately I don't need to go any further than my house today. I have a warm fire and a couple of apples filled with rice, pecans and currants baking in the oven as I write this! It doesn't get a whole lot better- unless, like me, you have some fabulous sound healing technology in your living room! I decided to have my coffee in the Somatron recliner this morning (which is located about 6 feet from the woodstove).
It was an interesting excursion. I decided to put on a CD I had never heard before. Apparently it was a sample White Swan Music sent me a few years ago that I'd never listened to. The CD was by Philippo Franchini, called Magic and Grace. Initially, I didn't love it. It sounded too pretty and melodic and New Agey for my tastes and a little too weak for a deep therapeutic experience on the Somatron. I decided to give it a few minutes though and at some point some nice low rumbling tones came in and I began to feel more of the vibrotactile effect, the resonance of the frequencies coming through and massaging my cells. The second track had more of this and some nice deep percussion. I was still thinking about getting up out of the chair and putting something else on but the vibrotactile effect was beginning to have a hold on me.
Before I knew it I was sitting there filled with a profound sense of gratitude, tears streaming down my face- grateful for my beautiful life, grateful for the work I am blessed to do and blown away by the power of sound and music- and specifically this amazing technology which enters through the body and touches the soul.
Okay- that's it! I am head over heels and unabashedly in LOVE. So much so that I am back on my blog to tell the world (or the scant few who might actually read this). (I must admit that I was a bit shocked to see that I haven't posted since Nov. 9.)
Here is the source of my joy. I know I'm a few days late but my Christmas tree is still up, it's 14 degrees out, I have a wood fire burning and the only thing I feel I am missing is one of these wonderful coats so that I could sit outside on the frozen ground and feel as happy and comfortable and warm as these lovely Mongolian singers seem to be.
If it gives you even half as much pleasure as it did me then it will be a very good day for you. Please do turn up your speakers!
I came across this video first thing this morning when I opened up Facebook. By the end I was so happy that I had tears streaming down my face. What a simple beautiful thing. I feel like if I was ever feeling sad or depressed or worried I could just watch this video and get happy again.