Amusing Musical Musings

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!


First Weekend-Long Sound Healing Retreat/Workshop at Wholistic Sound

Awesome sound healing workshop/retreat this past weekend- a 2 1/2 day event which included two people staying at the house, preparing meals, and a kirtan on Saturday night. A very full weekend with a really lovely fun and eager group of five women besides me. Six of us altogether- a perfect number for the first weekend workshop here at the home of Wholistic Sound.

Restorative Sound, Tinnitus, and Mother's Day (not neccessarily in that order)

First things first: To all the moms in the universe, past, present and to come,
Thank you for your love, care, courage, nurturing and sustenance. I am grateful to be here in this moment breathing this now-breath.

And to my own precious mother, I adore you. I love you, I thank you, I respect you. I am grateful to feel your strong presence in my life even though you are no longer in your physical body. You remind me that only the love is real. Thank you.

My blog has been calling me for days. You know what they say, "All are called but few choose to listen." Okay, I'm listening! 

I feel like I physically hit a wall a few days ago and have been achy and exhausted for close to a week now. A lot of massages, and sound journeys which entails transporting some fairly heavy instruments. In between those two things I have been trying to get some gardening done and somewhere along the way I got kind of knocked down. I feel like that's unusual for me. My pecs, rhomboids and neck have all been very uncomfortable. My cure? Long baths, a massage two days ago- which helped greatly- and listening to sound journeys.

I am feeling like changing the name to Restorative Sound Journeys rather than Healing Sound Journeys for two reasons. One because I am finding that they are exactly that- incredibly restorative- and two, because there are too many implications inherent in the word "healing".  I define "healing" as being at peace with what is, rather than "curing" but not everyone might agree with me on that. For example, if someone has tinnitus I have found that through sound healing sessions and a certain amount of guidance, that the person's perceived ringing in their ears may not go away, but they may learn to relax into that experience, meditate on the sound and let go of their resistance to it. Through that, they can completely shift their perception of their experience of it so that it is no longer perceived as a "problem". Also, when they shift their focus and allow themselves to follow the sound they often find that over time the sound seems to be quieter or not as constant and when it does occur it is simply a reminder to go inside.

I had a lovely Mother's Day today. My son Nic and my grandson Jonah came over with a dozen pink roses and cooked a delicious lunch of grilled teriyaki salmon for me, I worked in the garden and then came in and had mango-strawberry shortcake and a glass of Prosecco.

Life is good. It really is. I love my life. I am very grateful.

Silencing the Inner Critic With Sound

Things have suddenly been kicked up a few notches. The article in the Providence Journal did not hurt. Since then I have been asked to lead a stress reduction seminar at an event for Women & Infants corporate donors and possibly to become a part of the programming at The Cedars in Cranston, which from what I understand is a nursing home and rehabilitative care facility.

Meanwhile, I have been dealing with a respiratory infection while I am in the process of getting ready to go to Florida on a three-week road trip to teach some workshops, perform healing sound journeys and do private sessions! I have also been experimenting with some of my own music and exploring the effects.

Up until recently I rarely played back my own sound journeys. Last summer I performed a sound journey at Yoga4All in Seminole, FL. It was the day after the terrorist attacks on Paris when I was in a very open and vulnerable space. I make it a practice never to compare sound journeys but I when it was over I felt that it was quite possibly the most powerful sound journey I had ever done and I became curious about it. I listened to it when I got home a few weeks later and was genuinely surprised by both the quality and the effect of the sound and frequencies- I was as taken with it as I had been the night that I did it and felt that it could be very powerful as a healing tool.  I began using it regularly for healing sessions with some of my cancer patients.
About to begin "Après Paris" Sound Journey at Yoga4All, Seminole, FL 8.7.15
I have been recording all of my sound journeys for the past 2-3 years on my iPhone but not actually listening to them. Since the surprise of the recent recording I decided I needed to go through some of my others sound journeys and start listening to them and seeing if any were worth transferring to CD. Naturally they are nothing like the quality of a CD recorded in a studio but what I have been discovering is that the effects are profound, even with the recordings in their rawest form!

A few days ago when I was sick in bed, I decided to listen to a short sound journey that I had done at my friend Lynn Carol Henderson's house. Usually the sound journeys are a piece unto themselves and between 50-60 minutes long, but this was just over 20 minutes as it was part of a house concert I had done at her house. When I lay down to listen my mind was very active. Quickly my thoughts subsided and my witness consciousness observed my body and mind becoming very still- this is for someone listening with a critical ear. I was listening to myself playing music waiting for the flaws, the imperfections, the voice of my own inner critic. But what I experienced was a silencing of that entire part of my mind. It was extraordinary. I had no idea how powerful these sounds could be. I understood from the perspective of a totally objective listener who was there for a particular experience but I did not at all expect to have that same experience- the experience that people share with me over and over in their own unique ways after every sound journey.
Getting ready for Sound Journey at the Henderson home, St. Pete, FL- August 2015
So this gives me a lot of new information about the real power of these sounds. I have been performing Healing Sound Journeys for years simply because I love these sounds and I love the experience of creating and exploring vibratory frequencies and the nuances and subtleties of pure tones and overtones. I know and trust that they are powerful, that they will have an effect, that they will activate different areas of the brain, create new neural pathways, entrain the brainwaves to alpha and deep theta states- that they are restorative and healing on deep levels, some of which the listener may be aware of either during the journey or later, and some which they may never be conscious of. They may simply know that something has changed on a deep level.

Last night I was unable to get to sleep as I had taken Alka Seltzer PM cold medicine for 3 nights in a row because my head had been so stuffed up. I was desperate for something to clear my head out and it worked and I slept soundly each night. It's amazing how quickly the body becomes entrained to the frequency of medication! Last night my head was clear enough that I didn't need the medicine. I was quite tired and lay down to sleep about 12:30 after reading until I was nodding off. As soon as I turned the light off however, I could feel energy buzzing through my body and I couldn't sleep. I lay there, very still and quiet for 3 hours- awake! Finally at 3:30 I sat up and looked around for my tuning forks with the delta frequency- but they weren't in my room. I lay down again and then thought, Hmm- what about a sound journey? I put the sound journey on that I had recorded at Lynn Carol's.

I felt the stillness settle into my body and twenty minutes later I was asleep.

Beyond the Solstice

How the time flies! Great sound healing event at Women & Infants Hospital last Monday on the heels of a Solstice Celebration in Cumberland at the Bija Institute. Beautiful space, good turnout, great people. The acoustics were amazing in the very center of the yurt!

The Sound Journey at Women & Infants was photographed and filmed by the Providence Journal as part of a piece they are doing on Sound Therapy at Women & Infants Hospital. We expect it to be in the paper and on their website on January 17. Very exciting!

Meanwhile Christmas has come and gone, a new year is upon us and the days are growing longer... Blessed be.

Sacred space awaiting...

Erica Nunnally leading a yoga flow in the yurt

Revisiting The Road, First Installment (My Own Healing Sound Journey)

Three and a half weeks ago I returned home from a trip that was supposed to be just over two weeks long. It turned out to be almost exactly one month. I didn't document it very well so, a little bit at a time, I will make an effort to fill in some of the gaps.

On July 28 I packed up my Subaru Outback with tuning forks, singing bowls and all my magical sound instruments and headed on down the road. I have to add that my car was running very well. (There's a reason I mentioned that which I'll get back to that in another installment!) I had a great, and easy, drive down. Google maps sidestepped all the heavily trafficked areas and I got there way ahead of schedule!

On August 1-2 I taught a workshop on Sound Healing with Toning, Tuning Forks and Tibetan Bowls at the office of my favorite Ayurvedic practitioner, Dr. Soman Nadhan. The workshop was full, not only with local therapists but also four people from Tallahassee who had taken the 5 1/2 hour trek to St. Pete! The workshop was partially for massage therapists to get continuing education requirements to renew their license but my workshops are always open to anyone who would like to enhance their personal practice or their healing practice with sound, so the majority of the class were massage therapists but we also had a violinist whose husband is a sound healer and a vibrational healer who came with her best friend, a sound healing practitioner. It was really a great weekend. Everyone seemed very pleased with the content and the delivery- and we all had a great time together. Some of us, including me, made some great new friends!
Lydia Riedell, a very happy camper with two beautiful new (antique) bowls to add to her collection of sound healing tools.

Joyful Noise

I can't go another day without at least a brief update. I have to get up early tomorrow and go to Osprey to give some treatments and every day has been long and intense, but also very rich and wonderful. This is one of the best sound journey/healing trips I have done in a very long time- maybe the best ever. Such a warm, open appreciative reception. A very successful workshop last weekend and time spent with old friends and new. Have set up two more sound journeys since I've been here and new opportunities are opening up every day.

Saw two beautiful friends I made in the Bahamas last year this afternoon and will go back down to their house in Sarasota on Saturday and give them each a sessions. All in all it has just been great. Tomorrow night and  Friday night I do Healing Sound Journeys and another on Tuesday in Tallahassee where I will stay for 2-3 days and give sessions also. So bottom line, it's all good!

This is a picture taken earlier this evening when I was setting up for tomorrow night's Sound Journey at the Temple of the Living God in St. Petersburg. 

A Tibetan Bowl Healing Session

Yesterday's Tibetan bowl session.

Notice the progression of the layout of the bowls. I do not decide which bowls to play or where to place them. They tell me. As I played them they began to direct me to move them, closer and closer to Karen until they were almost hugging her body. Then at the end some of the bowls were moved away from her feet and her sides and the sound was simply moving back and forth from her crown to her feet, back and forth between the two.

I was very sorry that I did not record this session. The bowls were singing beautifully.

A Sound Experience

This past week a woman came up here from New Jersey to train with me from Monday through Thursday. We had a great connection pretty much instantly- she was relaxed, easygoing and very receptive- so it was really was a very enjoyable experience on my end. While she was here I gave four sessions- one to her, two which she observed and one in which she assisted by doing reiki while I was working on the person.

I wanted her to have as wide a range of experience as possible for her first time here so I ended up having a kirtan the second evening she was here. My friends Lynn Carol and George Henderson were here also, visiting from Florida, so there were four of us already! I invited a handful of people at the last minute and got a great response so we had a really nice group and very sweet kirtan here on Tuesday evening.

I also gave her a session with a set of Himalayan singing bowls she had tentatively picked out for herself. My thought was that if she was going to use them for healing she should experience what it would be like to actually receive a treatment with them!
One morning we went over to my friend Lynda Loranger's beautiful sound studio in Little Compton and experienced a sound bath with her gongs and Himalayan bowls. That was really wonderful- and nice for me also to be able to receive that day!

On her last evening we watched the movie Touch the Sound- a brilliant documentary by Thomas Reidelsheimer about Dame Evelyn Glennie, a solo percussionist who is quite deaf in that she lost her ability to hear through her ears by the time she was 12 years old, but has made up for that by learning to hear with her whole body. Watching and listening to her play it is clear that she is profoundly sensitive to sound. The way that she talks about and shares sound is a revelation.

Clearly Thomas Reidelsheimer is a deeply sensitive individual as well. Fifteen years ago he made the movie Rivers and Tides about the artist Andy Goldsworthy, which is pure poetry and then followed it up with this extraordinary film in which he illustrates his subject with his own incredible perception of sound and movement that is reflected in every frame of the film. I have watched it at least 5 times and am stunned by its beauty every time.

This is all to say that we had a great three and a half days together, filled with sound experience. It was nice for me to be able to focus so much energy on one person who wanted to engage in all that I had to offer in a short window of time. There is much more and I think we are both looking forward to her return in the fall. I know I am! I am also looking forward to doing other one on one trainings and sound healing retreats for individuals and being able to tailor the time for their own individual process and practice.

5 Exquisite Singing Bowls

I can't believe that after three years of not being able to upload videos from my computer to YouTube, it is so easy from my phone!
So here's what we have tonight- a few days ago I got a shipment of Himalayan singing bowls. This is a grouping of five of them that sound absolutely gorgeous together. I find myself haunted by the sound. Every time I walk by them I have to hear them and even thinking about them does something indescribable to my mind. I find them completely intoxicating.

Click here to find out about the upcoming workshop on Toning, Tuning Forks and Singing Bowls on August 1-2 in St. Petersburg, FL.

Nothing Real Can Be Threatened

Finally I have my computer up and running again!

The follow-up to the "Mum Dream" has been powerful- tears of joy as I have felt the palpable sense of the presence of her personality fade and an overwhelming love take its place. I keep thinking of the last few lines of the introduction to A Course in Miracles. "The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite. This course can therefore be summed up very simply in this way: 'Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.'"
Ever since I took the money workshop in Holland a lot has been happening. Last week I wrote about being at the Rhode Island Cancer Summit. It felt like there was a big opening there. As a follow-up to that, today I got an email saying that the writer for Women & Infants Hospital wants to talk to me because they want to do an article on sound therapy. Meanwhile tomorrow I am teaching a class on sound healing to a group of high school students who are taking an intensive on Sustainable Healing Modalities. I am really looking forward to that. I have loaded the car up with all kinds of fun and interesting instruments from around the world. I suddenly have many more people calling for sessions and someone who wants to apprentice with me coming in a couple of weeks.

 A few weeks ago I was looking at some old material from the sound healing center I had in Florida- notepads, appointment books, calendars, etc. I was so busy every day, meeting with people, giving sessions, doing concerts, sound journeys, hosting events, teaching workshops, etc. and I thought "This is how it's supposed to be." I have been wondering how to make that happen here, knowing it would have to take a different form and curious about what it might look like. Suddenly it all seems to be taking shape and evolving in a very organic way. It feels good.

Dreaming Goodbye

Last night my mother came to me in a dream and said goodbye to me. I didn't realize the significance of it right away. The beginning of our journey towards her departure really began just over two years ago when I was here in the Catskills at this same exact place for a workshop with John and Silvia. My mother had been recently diagnosed with congestive heart failure but was on diuretics and was relatively stable. That weekend was the last time I left her for any period of time before she died. She declined over the next 6 months and passed in September of 2013.

I had the great good fortune of being able to be with her most of 2012 and 2013 up until she passed with the exception of a few days here and there. After she passed I felt a tremendous amount of peace around it. I had spent so much time with her and afterward felt so much that she was with me. I did not feel her absence- rather, I felt an overwhelming presence. I have had brief moments of missing her but they have been insignificant compared to the overall sense of her being with me so much of the time.

Last night I saw her in a fur coat (dark brown actually, not the the one in this picture). She looked middle-aged, not old, and beautiful- glamorous but very down to earth. Behind here were woods, a forest or a jungle- reminiscent of the feeling of the background in "The African Queen". She was going on a cruise ship. She was some distance from me, maybe 20 feet or so- close enough to talk, but not to touch... She stood at a distance and I realized with some surprise that she was leaving. She seemed very clear, steadfast, and peaceful. The sense was that she was going away and was not coming back and she was totally okay with that. I was surprised but okay too- I didn't feel like I needed to approach her, give her a hug. I was just accepting that this was what was happening.

It didn't hit me until I went into our dream group this morning and suddenly I realized that she had come to say goodbye to me. It was such a surprise. I didn't really expect her to leave- I thought I would continue to feel her presence. I do feel on one level that she is still with me, but not nearly so close as she has been. There is a distinct awareness that she is now further away, on her own journey. I have wondered many times if at some point that would occur and actually been curious that I could feel so okay and at peace with her passing. Up until now I have really had no real sense of loss.

I am fascinated that this process began for me in this same place when I was here two years ago and has come to a sense of completion, the closing of a door and a real sense of grieving. I think she must have known that this is a safe place for me where I have a huge sense of support. There were several people here this time that were here that first weekend and a couple of people who were also in the Bahamas when I went to a workshop there just a few months after she died. They knew what was happening at the time and in fact just yesterday I was talking to a woman who had been here that first weekend. The first thing she did when she saw me yesterday was ask how things went after I left here that weekend and we had a long talk about it.

I cried a lot today, more than I have in the past year and a half since she died. Still, tonight I feel happy and at peace even though I am sure that there are more tears to come.

Are You Awake?

I love my dreams. In fact, I love my dream life as much as I love my "waking" life (which I believe is just a another level of dreaming where we actually think we are awake). So I relate to all 24 hours really as a dream.

Starting this evening and for the next 3 days I am taking an amazing workshop with John Bealieu and Silvia Nakkach on Sound and Dreams. If tonight's introduction is any indication, it promises to be off the charts. According to John, science is now saying that certain levels of sleep, dreaming and wakefulness are all going on simultaneously. For example, we can be awake and daydreaming or asleep and lucid dreaming which is actually an experience of being conscious in the dream state. This is an interesting article that seems to relate to these ideas.
Conscious Experience in Sleep and Wakefulness

Two of things John said we would be gaining of an understanding of are 1) Becoming more aware of when our consciousness is shifting from one state to another, presumably so that we can make more conscious choices about our state of awareness and 2) Learning about dream analysis.

Tonight we had our "orientation".  After the initial talk about logistics for the weekend, there were a lot of massage tables and yoga mats set up. We all lay on them and received incredible sound and bodywork. The musicians and sound healers are all very high level practitioners and it was really an extraordinary shamanic experience. I came out of it pretty disoriented! I am looking forward to going to sleep tonight and seeing what happens in my dreamtime.

Joy and Radiance

Still singing the kirtan I learned yesterday every second I am alone today. In between those times I had a really lovely visit from two Baha'is, Philip and Anne Cantor, whom I met a few months ago. We had a great connection and are forming a wonderful friendship. They live about an hour and a half away and have become very interested in my work so they took the time to come visit today. I gave them each a sound healing demo- Philip in the Somatron recliner and Anne on the Soundweaver. Anne got some hands on work and came back a bit more grounded than Phil, who seemed to have gone somewhere far far away and clearly experienced a profound shift. I wish I'd had the video camera going when he was talking about his experience- he was in such a beautiful place. Amazing what can happen in less than 20 minutes.

They also shared with me some stories about Abdu'l Baha which I always love and never grow tired of and we watched a short video which talked about His embodiment of certain essential qualities as a spiritual being in a human body- the first one being happiness.

Sounds Affects

We are sound and we are profoundly affected by sound. Why? Because sound is energy and sound has the power to transform energy. (Think homeopathy- "Like cures like.") It works on all levels- physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. If you look a little more deeply into this video beyond the very cool effects, it actually demonstrates how and why sound can be such a powerful healing tool. We are composed mostly of water and free space, thus our bodies are excellent conductors of sound. Sound waves can penetrate all matter, but it flows easily through our bodies. Find the right frequencies and you can re-harmonize the body, the mind, the emotions- no different than tuning a musical instrument and in fact sometimes more quickly and easily than tuning a temperamental instrument! It's not complicated.