Sound Effects

This is going to be very short. The video says all. Beyond the video, which specifically addresses the fullness of the frequencies of gongs and their effect on live blood cells, I am interested in doing research with other instruments and frequencies as well as vibroacoustic therapy. Not sure what the details of this project are going to look like yet but I have met a scientist from Brown University who I hope to be collaborating with in the very near future.

Meanwhile… this is very cool and exciting.

Vocal Revelations

Yes, me too… even though in my classes I encourage students to let go of their own self-judgment when it comes to their voice, to let go of the belief that they “can’t sing”, “can’t hold a tune”, and all of the terrible things they might have been told about their voice from childhood (which is mostly where all this negative self-talk and self-limiting beliefs come from)- when I hear my speaking voice recorded… yes, I cringe. And I love this article which explains so clearly and obviously the primary reason for that- which is that a recording does not pick up the rich low overtones which we hear internally through bone conduction when we speak. That is why we often don’t sound like “ourselves”- or the way we think we sound- upon listening to a recording of our voice.

Here is the link to the article The Real Reason the Sound of Your Voice Makes You Cringe

I also found this fascinating TedTalk which addresses the same topic.

Sound, Medicine of the Future. Now.

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.

A Happy Song to Start the Day!

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.

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.

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.