Celebrating Righteousness (Thank You Oprah)

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.

Mongolian Jingle Bells ROCKS!

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!

The Space of a Soul

I decided finally after so many days of wanting to write and so many days (okay, weeks) of not getting to it, that a short post is better than no post at all.

Yesterday afternoon/evening a group of us had a sweet gathering and send-off for our dear friend Shin Ae Tassia who departed this world on April 22, 2017. Her work as a "connector" continues as she brought more of us together still on this occasion, so many of us whom had not met before.

So much sweetness, so much heart. Worlds bumping up against each other, rubbing elbows. Artists, musicians, mechanics, social activists, healers and others- all extraordinary in their own unique ways. I am always astounded when a dear one passes how many lives they have in touched in so many different ways. And how we continue to get to know them long after they're gone.

A body doesn't take up that much physical space in the world but a soul? That's another matter. This thought is leading me down a windy river. A soul is like a miracle- and a soul is a miracle. I want to substitute the word "soul" right now in this sentence: A miracle is never lost. It may touch many people you have not even met, and produce undreamed of changes in situations of which you are not even aware. (A Course in Miracles- Text, 45th Principle of Miracles)

And the curious question that is sometimes asked about people "What are they worth?" Wow! Obviously meant on the most material mundane level... but what an odd question. How do you determine the value of a human, the value of a life, the value of a soul? Soul currency... There's something to think about.

The night before last I did a Sound Journey for some of Shin Ae's closest friends, highlighting her favorite instruments, the gongs and Himalayan bowls. Last night I put it on when I got in bed. It must have been dreamy because I fell asleep within about 5 minutes. I slept deeply, woke up 5 hours later fully refreshed and restored, unfortunately forgetting my dreams within minutes of waking; nonetheless with a heart full of gratitude for the sweetness of this life and the continuity of it all.

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Esperanza and the Bird!

Watching this fabulous video- live music and conversation with Andrew Bird and Esperanza Spalding. I myself am only 12 minutes into it but I am so totally turned on by it that I had to share NOW!!! The way they play, the way they hear, the way they think, the way they converse about music- and their glow, their excitement as they talk about it. It's absolutely wonderful. Enjoy!!!

Everything New Under the Sun

Hmmm... I think the expression is "There's nothing new under the sun." I'm not buying it.

Every day I hear new music- combinations of instruments, tones and frequency I've never heard before, and it constantly blows my mind. I see things I've never seen before and even on a rare occasion I think something that I have never thought before! I have been thinking about this a lot lately, especially since I went to hear Claude Bourbon last week for the second time in two weeks. He is such an amazing guitarist combining jazz, flamenco, classical, blues and some nice folky styles that make me nostalgic for the folk music of the 60's and early 70's. In some odd way he (or his music) seems reminiscent to me of Donovan and his sort of gypsy troubadour style- but he is extraordinary and one of a kind. He also has a really unusual and interesting vocal sound.

Here is a video of him playing some pretty incredible blues guitar at the Pump House Music Works, an unbelievably cool and beautiful venue in Wakefield with a totally great vibe.

Then I heard David Crosby's newest album "Sky Trails"- the guy is brilliant- so creative and such a unique way of putting together words, music, melodies and harmonies- and again, I feel knocked out by the expansiveness and endless creative potential of the human mind. This probably all sounds totally cliche but somehow there are things that suddenly take our (or my) awareness to a new level. How can people just continually come up with a new sound, a new song, a new style, a new anything?!

Billions of people with trillions of cells and from that the possibility an infinite number of configurations and combinations I suppose with the continuous potential for new creations, new ideas, new technology.

Anyway, the point is really this:

Rocking the Kirtan!

Okay, I'm making this short and sweet as I have just spent two hours updating my website and adding a new page- Kirtan Kindergarten! Please check it out!

And in light of that, I would like to direct your attention to a cool and rocking kirtan by Jai Uttal at the Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival! It was actually performed in a 2,400 year old cave and is gorgeous just to look at- but you won't want to just look at it- turn up your speakers!

Renewed, Refreshed, Restored

Wow, I thought I had saved a draft I started writing about my ten-day stay aboard the 3-masted schooner Victory Chimes and somehow apparently I deleted it. I was all set to go ahead and post it tonight! Whoops. Oh well, apparently I was supposed to write something else!

Well, the title kind of speaks for itself. That was the end result of five days on a Wellness Retreat aboard this beautiful old schooner and another 4 days on board with the geologist and climate change expert, Dr. Harold Borns, who started the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine in the eighties. He was totally fascinating and we made a great connection. I was able to relieve some fairly severe pain in his neck quickly with my tuning forks shortly after he came aboard the boat and he told me a lot I didn't know about my great great (great great?) uncle Louis Agassiz, the famous geologist, glaciologist and paleontologist. (He has since sent me a whole packet of information about him!)

What a great and much needed ten days to unplug and relax. No phone, no internet- I didn't even have to make my own coffee in the morning- and I had no idea how badly I needed it!

The word stress has somehow found its way into my language. I don't really like that. I have never been one to talk about how stressed out I am- but the truth is I had gone through a pretty challenging 2-3 months prior to suddenly hearing about this Wellness Retreat at the very last minute. There is nowhere I love to be more than on a wooden boat and as soon as I heard about it I knew it was the perfect remedy and solution. I am so glad I followed what was really a deep desire for me as it turned out so much better and more powerful on a very deep level than I could have imagined.

I slept so well, ate so well, dreamed so deeply, read a lot, played music, did some minimal amounts of healing work and laughed a lot. One morning I played my tamboura on deck for the yoga class as the sun came up. Another day I did a sound journey on deck with a few select instruments.

Tonight I am too tired to write any more so I'll let some photos speak for themselves!

Thoughts on Healing (One Anyway)

Yeah, I don't have that many- but I do have one. An observation that came as I was working with someone on the Soundweaver recently. Holding a sort of witness consciousness, watching as my hands slowly came into their energy field, gently resting on either side of their head and after some minutes very slowly, almost imperceptibly releasing, hands moving away in slow motion. Moving to the next place on the body I was called to. Could have been the heart, the solar plexus, the knees, the feet, one shoulder or the other- or both. Listening, observing, waiting, letting go, moving on. What is happening in these subtle delicate moments- these listening moments which are full of power, intention and awareness?

At some point during the session I wrote this note: "The trick is to match the client's energy and hang out with it til a total synergy is apparent- then LEAN INTO IT- gently- enough to allow their energy/physiology to shift."

In other words, you hang out until you become ONE with their energy. No pushing, no forcing, being fully present- WITH INTENTION. Using a sound analogy, it is the difference between crashing a mallet against a gong so that the volume is almost unbearable and a shock to the system, or playing the gong so that the sound slowly builds, as if you are coaxing the sound forth and allowing the waves to wash over the listeners and then to recede like waves on the shore.

I used Estas Tonne today for my inspiration and therapy while I was doing some stuff in the kitchen. I wanted to escape but there were things I needed to complete on. Once I put this music on I was captivated and happy to be right where I was.

Finding My Way Home in the Summertime

In the process of purchasing the house which has felt like home for the past two and a half years! Never bought a house before- been oh-so-stressful, angsty bringing up all my stuff and finding it ultimately empowering as in the end I only have myself to fall back on. Told a friend the other day, when I was in somewhat of a freak out mode, that I felt like Tippi Hedren in "The Birds" when they are all swooping down and attacking her!

Meanwhile looking forward to some music therapy for myself. Tonight bought tickets for Chuck Prophet for this coming Saturday night- who I only discovered a few years ago when he was featured on Live at Daryl's House and did this really cool song )which also happens to have some very sweet guitar in it)...That was it. I'm a fan of Chuck's.

Part Two- Then I bought tickets for Jesse Colin Young and while revisiting his beautiful song "Darkness, Darkness" I came across this great version of Eric Clapton and Stevie Winwood playing "Can't Find My Way Home". The wonderful thing about musicians is that if they don't either die or lose their marbles (as many of us aging hippies are starting to do) THEY JUST GET BETTER!

So life is good. I'm buying a house and getting my music fix.

Ideas and Inspirations

Inspiration: go to bed earlier so I can get up earlier in the morning since that is my most creative time.

Idea: A summer solstice party- Kirtan, Cookout and Croquet. This is definitely going to happen! Most likely Sunday, June 25 at 4 pm. :-)

Inspired Idea: Kirtan Kindergarten! For folks who want to get together for to share, learn and teach their favorite chants or ones they have perhaps never heard before!

Idea: Make short weekly sound meditation videos.

Inspiration: Finish sound healing book!

Idea: Make smaller workbooks for different courses.

Inspiration: Ongoing sound healing meditation group

Inspired idea: Offer one on one sound healing retreats... Very healing!

Idea: Advertise sound healing sessions to Airbnb guests

Inspiration: post post post (thank you Sparky!)

Inspired Idea: Monthly workshops- this is a must!

Idea: Make video of a sound healing session complete with inner vision

Now: Sleep sleep sleep... Goodnight...

Shin Ae, Sound Evangelist

I have been trying to write this blog post dedicated to my beautiful and brilliant friend Shin Ae for almost two weeks now. This is as far as it's gotten so I am letting go of all the other things I wanted to express and publishing it.  What I really want to share here is my love for the beautiful strong radiant and joyful being that she was and gratitude for our deep connection.

 Shin Ae, August 2015- Oncology Retreat, Exeter, RI

Shin Ae, August 2015- Oncology Retreat, Exeter, RI

Last night [May 8 at the time of this writing] my friend Lynn and I celebrated the life and memory of our very dear friend Shin Ae who passed away on April 22, after a 2 1/2 year struggle with metastatic breast cancer. We both met her as a patient and quickly came to know her as a dear friend. She did not take her diagnosis lying down. She was a ninja warrior and activist to the very end. This picture was taken almost a year after her diagnosis, at which time she had been given 9 months which she enthusiastically refused to accept- which I'm sure has a great deal to do with why she was able to stay with us for as long as she did.

In February I came to her house to have a visit with her and give her a sound healing treatment. She was a metal worker, a welder, and she loved instruments made of metal- Himalayan singing bowls, gongs and tuning forks- so I brought them all. I set up the gong in her living room, laid bowls on her spine and played them which always gave her great relief and played the tuning forks for her to help re-balance her nervous system.

She was getting ready to head out to California for the Wisdom Conference and told me that she was hoping to get me out there to do a Sound Journey. She had just come back from walking the fashion runway in New York for NY Fashion Week and although she was not feeling well and was fairly weak she powered through it with her indomitable spirit. She told me that day that she was a "sound healing evangelist" because the sound healing had helped her so much in her process for relieving pain and restoring peace when it was most needed. Although I do what I do because I know it is effective it is always another miracle to me when I actually witness the relief that people get from this modality.

I always felt honored and grateful both to work with Shin Ae as a patient and also to connect with her on such a deep level. And I know that's not about me- it was a gift that Shin Ae had, to be able to enter into the space where another human being was coming from, no matter their background, their source point or their operating procedure. She could step in and connect in a way that superceded the mundane and went straight to the heart of things. That was Shin Ae, no bullshit, all heart and a brilliant mind and a gift to all who knew her.