Revealing the Sacred In All Things

Opening Sound Journey for workshop at Wholistic Sound, Saturday, June 25, 2016.
Sitting in my house, my beautiful log house, listening to birdsong on a perfect day. I was blessed with a surprise day off today when all the power went off in South County Commons where I usually do massage on Thursday. Perfect, as the last two weeks have been a whirlwind of intensity.

A weekend of sessions and workshop with my friend and spiritual healer D. Crowfeather had been planned for a while for last weekend, which I knew was going to be very powerful- and it was. More on that in the next installment! Leading up to that, just two days prior to the weekend before, I heard that an Ecuadorian shaman, Don Alberto Taxo, was going to be teaching a workshop in Jamestown. I knew nothing about him or the people who were hosting him but I was very drawn to it and immediately registered for the workshop.

What a gift. I am so grateful that I listened to the voice that pushed me forward, rather than the one that sometimes holds me back- that I listened to the voice for Spirit and Truth and Beauty which knew this would be the perfect preparation for the weekend to follow.

The workshop was about our relationship to Pacha Mama and our connection to the four elements. It was very powerful for me. I experienced and deepened my relationship to the four elements in profound ways. I learned from the air that I could let go of my past with every breath- not just distant past, old memories, old wounds and traumas but now, in every moment. That I can breathe in now and let it go and breathe in the next new moment, that I can make love to the air with each breath.

I felt the alchemy of the four elements merging within me and creating something more powerful and more magical in every moment. I felt the stardust within my cells. I felt the channels of fluid that run through my body, flowing, pulsing, nurturing, supporting and sustaining me.
Four Directions Mandala from materials found on beach. Rosie Warburton 2013
This experience deepened my understanding of who I am on this earthly plane in ways that are still being revealed to me.

Before the workshop I had been thinking about the Sacred- how we bring the element of divinity to those things (people, places) which we honor. In unseen ways it may already be there, in that All Is Truly Divine, but as we navigate the earthly plane we often miss it. So we need a dedicated and powerful intention to bring it forth- really it is for our recognition of That Which Already Is, we infuse with our sacred intention and bring that energy forth. A crystal bowl, when played, does not automatically produce "sacred sound". It is dependent upon the energy and the intention of the player.

When I got to the workshop, one of the first things Don Alberto talked about was how we have an intimate connection to the elements but we must make a practice of exercising this connection through deepening our awareness of the sacred in all things. Right away I knew I was in the right place.

I also saw by the end of the weekend how it was preparing me for the weekend to come.

That's all for today.

Until next time, blessed be.

Travel Installment 3, plus Sound Healing on the Equinox.

So- when I was driving down to FL- it must have been July 29- I got to South Carolina and was on the phone with my friend Carol Mitchell talking about the possibility of finding another venue to do a sound journey. She suggested I might try Yoga4All in Seminole where my ex-boyfriend Henry and I used to do sound journeys on a regular basis for a few years. Marty Maddox, who owns the studio, did a lot of promotion and we always got a good turnout- typically upwards of 25 people. We also scheduled each event well in advance with plenty of lead time so there was lots of time to get the word out there.

It was about 8:30 pm when I called the yoga studio and I hardly expected anyone to answer but there was Marty on the other end of the phone moments later, telling me how much everyone missed me down there. I said, "Well, actually I'm on my way down there right now" and I told her my sparse schedule- workshop on August 1-2 and a sound journey on the 6th. I said I had some availability the weekend of the August 7-8 and was she possibly interested in hosting a sound journey. She gave it a few seconds and then said, "What the heck. Let's put it out there and see if people are up for it." I was totally surprised since it was so last minute but as it turned out we packed the yoga studio!

The evening of August 7 I was driving over to the studio and Marty called me several times because she didn't what to do about so many people wanting to come the Sound Journey. It got to a point where she didn't feel like she had any more space for people to preregister and at one point she called to tell me that people were actually fighting for spots over the phone! 36 people showed up that night.She had figured she had space for 30 but we managed to get everyone in.
I recorded the sound journey on my iPhone as I always do these days unless there's some kind of a glitch- like I forget to turn it on! I try not to judge or compare the sound journeys as I always trust they are perfect for the time that they occur and for the group that is receiving it, but in this case I honestly felt, when I was performing the sound journey, that it was quite possibly the best one I had ever done. I'm talking about over a 15 year period. I have listened to it several times since and am starting to use it regularly in sound healing sessions which have been very powerful. I definitely looking forward to burning it to a CD and getting someone to clean it up. We'll see how that goes. I can say for certain that there has been a step up in the expression and the healing power of the sound journey.

Which takes me to last night. Last night was the Autumnal Equinox and I led a sound healing meditation at my home with crystal singing bowls as part of a global network of sound healers and peacekeepers that meets every solstice and equinox in a unified intention. I used to lead these Circles of Sound when I had my sound healing center in St. Pete but I hadn't done one in 3 1/2 years. It's not so much that I am particularly into these astrological and astronomical events as it is that, if I am putting myself forward as a leader in the community of sound healers wherever I happen to be, I feel that it is part of my role to participate in any global sound healing events and host them whenever possible.

So I set up an altar on my deck and we had a small gathering. There were six of us outside under the stars listening to the ascending frequencies of the bowls as I played. It was cool outside and everyone was wrapped up in blankets. We could hear birds, dogs and the running of the waterfall in the koi pond behind us. Afterwards we shared prasad and tea. It was a truly lovely gathering and I was so grateful that I had put the message out there for people to come and bathe in the sounds and the intentions of harmony, acceptance, compassion, unity and joy. For some it was a totally new experience. For all of us it was a blessed one.

Sound Immersion

Looking forward to the next three days. I have someone coming to do a Sound Immersion with me tomorrow, staying for three nights. I spent a few hours preparing food so we won't have to spend too much time with that while she is here. There is so much ground to cover! She asked if she could apprentice with me and come up perhaps three different times between now and the end of the summer. Sound Immersion is what I am choosing to call it- it just came to me when I sat down to write. It leaves it open without expectations and I don't have to rename what is happening any time anyone wants to study with me or come for a sound healing retreat for a few days.
At the same time, my friends Lynn Carol and George Henderson are going to be here as well for two or three days, so it is going to be very full!

I have had the idea of individual personalized sound healing retreats for a while so I am excited that this is finally coming to fruition. This is not quite that- the emphasis of course will be more on  education and practice and there will be less time for receiving and reflection. She will very likely get a session each day that she is here however and that in itself is worth the price of admission! I also have several people coming over for sessions during the time that she is here.
We will be discussing and working with the voice, first and foremost and then dip into VibroAcoustic Therapy, tuning forks and Himalayan singing bowls. When she comes back we will explore more deeply the singing bowls and tuning forks and who knows what else? It depends on how much she wants. We can go into mantra, Sanskrit, chanting, crystal bowls, Healing Sound Journeys and more.
If it was you, what would you want for your Sound Immersion? Would you want to learn to heal others with sound? Yourself? How to incorporate an instrument you already play into your healing practice? Would you simply want receive and have time to process with Expressive Art Therapy? Or maybe after each sound healing session you would just want to go over to the beach and take a nice long walk!

Your Sound Immersion is for you- you get to design it the way you want it!

Loving Life!

I have had a very full 24 hours and am feeling somewhat exhilarated! Yesterday I spent a few precious hours with my very dear friend Sharon with whom I have shared so many wonderful musical moments and memories, as well as all the heartfelt talks, tears and laughter that make a friendship meaningful and true.

This morning I had a really great meeting with my therapist. We had a long talk about fear as I have been very much aware of the physical dynamics of it running through my body in the last week- noticing the places where it comes up and my relationship to it.

Then, earlier this evening, I had the great fortune of giving a Healing Sound Journey to a group of wonderful ladies who all do yoga together in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. It was in a martial arts studio which is always an interesting vibe, but it was great and the space was transformed with all of the instruments, many mirrors and a zillion little flameless candles that the yoga teacher had brought! They loved it. It was all very new to pretty much all of them and many of them had profound experiences.

There are always interesting discoveries for me in the process of a sound journey. Tonight it was the discovery of the relationship between two bowls right at the end of the sound journey- a crystal bowl and a Tibetan bowl. When I played them together there was a binaural beat that occurred- that was not unusual in itself- but the sound of it was unlike any I had ever heard before. At first I didn't recognize that it was coming from the bowl because it was so deep and so subtle- this very quiet deep pulse that actually sounded like some sort of an engine or something! After a few times though I could distinctly hear that it occurred every time I hit the Tibetan bowl after playing one particular crystal bowl. I ended the sound journey with those two tones. I recorded the whole sound journey so it will be really interesting to play it back and see if the recorder (my iPhone!) picked it up the beat frequency between the two instruments.

So, tonight I am feeling happy and grateful and am wearing a big smile on my face!

Healing Sound Journeys- How They Came To Be

Sound Journey in an old church in Cape Cod, MA

This Friday (day after tomorrow) I am doing a Healing Sound Journey at a martial arts studio in Woonsocket. (For more information click here.)  I have connected with a woman who teaches yoga there- Lisa Votta- and shares all kinds of holistic, inspiring and educational things that I am interested in on her Twitter page! AND she found ME via Google, which makes me happy, and there is a group of yoga students there who are excited about my coming up there to teach a sound journey. I am definitely looking forward to this event!

As I am thinking about the sound journey, I thought it might be fun to share a little bit about the Healing Sound Journeys and post some pictures from sound journeys past. 

Genie's Hookah Lounge, Newport, RI

In 1995 I began teaching sound healing workshops and found it to be most helpful for people to experience the effect of various instruments first, before discussing their effect. One could talk forever about how Himalayan singing bowls balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain and entrain the brain waves to a theta range, inducing a natural and effortless state of meditation (sahaj dhyan) but that will never give you the experience. I began opening my workshops with a short meditation on the various instruments that I had begun collecting- flutes, a small gong, a Tibetan bowl, a drum, rainstick, didgeridoo, an instrumental tamboura, a shaker- a very humble collection of instruments! I also used my voice, doing toning, overtone chanting and mantras.

High Rise, Rochester, VT

The meditation usually lasted about 15 minutes. The responses from participants were typically that they lost all sense of time and place, and that it was too short- an interesting dichotomy! As time went on, I began collecting more instruments and also realized that the effects of this short meditation were often profound so I began to extend the time. I offered a 6-week meditation called Sound Journeys, realizing that the participants were literally traveling on the sound frequencies and that each instrument had its own powerful effect and that they were all dramatically different.  So one week I would use a singing bowl, another week the didgeridoo, another week my voice, and so on. This was an amazing period of exploration and learning for me as well as those who attended.

Private home, Ridgefield, CT

As time went by the sound journeys began to develop a life of their own. People were having spontaneous healings- they took people much deeper than a meditation, with no effort at all on their part. All they had to do was lie down and the sound did the rest! Participants would come back with all kinds of stories of places they had been, colors they saw, loved ones who visited with them, physical healing, and sometimes an ability afterward to meditate on their own when before they'd had great difficulty.They spontaneously began to integrate the background sounds in their environment as a tool for meditation- in other words, the sound journey actually transformed the way they listened, heard and related to sound.

The sound journeys became Healing Sound Journeys. When I met my partner of 14 years, Henry Steffes, a musician who immediately saw the benefits of sound as a healing tool, we began doing Healing Sound Journeys together. We traveled around the United States and Canada, performing them in yoga studios, meditation centers and private homes. In 2005 I opened a sound healing center in St. Petersburg, FL and for the next 7 years I did a sound journey there every Monday night as well as in many other studios in the area and in other parts of the country as well.

(Tibetan bowl healing demo) Los Gatos, CA

In 2012, I moved back up to Rhode Island and have been offering Healing Sound Journeys in yoga studios and private homes up here as well as in Europe, with the occasional trip to Florida and California thrown in there as well.

For the past 3 years I have been recording all my sound journeys but unfortunately do not yet know how to upload them onto my blog- so sorry! I know that a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case a sound byte would be worth a thousand pictures but we'll have to wait on that and go with the pictures for now. Or you can come to one of my Healing Sound Journeys!

Saltana Salt Cave, Ridgefield, CT

Zettmar Studio, Newport, RI

Zettmar Studio, Newport, RI

Sound Journey Concert w/ Laraaji Naradananda, Temple of the Living God, St. Pete, FL

Sound Body Wholistic Health Center, St. Petersburg, FL

Women's Well, Portsmouth, RI

Sound Journey with orbs! Villari's Martial Arts Studio, Middletown, RI

Yoga Center of Newburyport, MA

Yoga Center of Newburyport, MA

Private home, Ridgefield, CT

First Unity Church With Alex Grey, St. Petersburg, FL

First Unity Church, St. Petersburg, FL

The Longhouse, Gulfport, FL- w/ Henry Steffes, Jr

Private home, Clearwater, FL

Recording Studio, St. Pete, FL w/ Henry Steffes, Jr

Healing Touch Wellness Center, Land O' Lakes, FL

Yoga Center of Newburyport, MA

Bright light after a Healing Sound Journey in Ridgefield, CT!

You Never Know (And Sometimes You Do)

Slowly starting to get new clients in my new space. Today someone came for a session who I met almost two years ago at an Expressive Art Therapy training I had taken. Turns out she saved my contact information and last week contacted me to make an appointment for a session. We hadn't had any contact since we had taken the class together.

So interesting to me when you don't have any idea that what you shared at some past time has had an impact on someone. You might not have even known they were listening or remotely interested. I have had people contact me for a session sometimes years after they came to one event that I did.

So, part of the moral of the story is, don't be afraid to share what you do- and don't assume that no one is listening. You never who you might reach- usually just when you least expect it!

A few years ago when I was in St. Petersburg I taught a class for the Florida State Massage Therapy Association. It was an opportunity for me to network and reach a fairly broad audience and for Licensed Massage Therapists to get a few of their necessary continuing education credits. About three years later I got a call from a woman who had been at that meeting. I had played a crystal bowl and she told me she had never forgotten the sound of that bowl and had wanted one ever since. She was just waiting until she could afford it. She came to the center later that week and bought her first crystal bowl.
And this is the other part of the moral of the story. That is how sound is. Sometimes it just penetrates through all the other clutter and chaos and you know when it strikes you. You know that it just changed you- or brought you back home in a way that nothing else could in such a brief instant.

Sympathetic Resonance

This morning I walked into my sound healing room to open the curtains and noticed my flute lying on one of the tables. I picked it up and played it for just a minute or two and was about to put it back when an extraordinary sound caught my attention. I could hear a very faint resonance of tones in the room. I blew a few notes on the flute again and stopped. Same thing...a barely audible harmony of sounds. I tried it again- where were these beautiful mysterious tones coming from?

I walked over to the circle of crystal and Tibetan bowls and played again. Ah yes, there it was! The tones of the flute were causing the other instruments that had the same frequencies to vibrate in sympathetic resonance. It was extraordinary, ethereal- and astonishing to me that in so many years of working with these instruments I had never heard such an enormous response from one instrument to another! So subtle and so beautiful.
I sat down in the circle of bowls and continued playing, sometimes pausing after one or two notes, sometimes playing a whole phrase. I sat and played, mesmerized by the tones that came forth, for probably close to an hour- me playing my flute and the bowls answering. Several times in the course of the day I went back in there and did it again. I wish had a recording device that would pick up such subtle tones- I definitely would have recorded it!

Over the years in my workshops I have shared many examples of sympathetic resonance as it is a key component in sound healing. Often when I am teaching and I have a gong next to me, my voice hits a certain tone that causes the gong to resonate. It is actually loud enough to distract me sometimes but it is also a great example of how one particular tone will cause another object (it doesn't have to be a musical instrument) to resonate if the tone is the same as said object's resonant frequency.

In its application to sound healing, knowing that all aspects of our physical body, our emotions and our thoughts have specific frequencies, we can effectively release trauma from the body by using this principle of sympathetic resonance.

In life we can simply observe and enjoy the interplay of tone and harmony as a subtle vibratory experience (sometimes not so subtle!) when we feel a resonance or connection to another. It could be the way a song makes us feel, or a tree, or a flower or the presence of another person.  On the flip side when we get triggered and are upset, anxious or in pain, then we have the opportunity to explore what can help us to shift our energy back to a state of calm or homeostasis. Again it could be a song, a tree, a particular healing modality, the presence of another person, the remembrance of our breath- any myriad of possibilities because everything is vibration. 

As it says in the Vedas, "Nada brahma." The world is sound.