Right about now you may be longing for a getaway to someplace warm: away from traffic, to-do lists and reminders that we have another couple of months in the cold and flu season. (Not to mention taxes right around the corner, and a new set of expectations for the new year)
But forget all that! what can you do now, here in the space we are?
I put together "a few of my favorite things” to help maintain good health, emotional balance and a positive outlook.
Number one: One of the best things you can do for yourself is drink a good bone broth every day.
Bone broth can help quicker recovery from illness and surgery, help heal pain and inflammation, increase the health of your skin and bones and help the symptoms of arthritis, psoriasis and digestive disorders. That’s a pretty tall order, but there’s a reason bone broth has been around for thousands of years.
I learned how to make bone broth from my Peruvian mother-in-law, using chicken bones and chicken feet, and also fish head broth (which is supposed to be great for the brain).
Yes, it takes a little time. However you can make it in a slow cooker, and then save it in freezable containers (2-3 portions each).
You can find many recipes on the internet. But the important thing to remember is if you’re doing beef, make sure it’s grass-fed. If you’re doing chicken, make sure no hormones or antibiotics, etc. The vinegar you add (organic) helps pull the minerals out of the bones. You can get bones from your local butcher…some stores have them in frozen section. You can add root vegetables, greens, etc.
I recommend Sally Fallons book "Nourishing Broth", which gives you the science behind it and a ton of recipes!!
Also check out http://thenourishingcook.com/beef-stock-anyone/
You can also add the following dried herb/roots for additional seasonal support:
-astralagus root (2 “tongues”)
-Codonopsis Root (1/2 tbs)
-Chaga mushroom (1/2 tbs)
-Burdock root (you can add this fresh if you can find it)
-Wakame seaweed (2-3 sticks)
-a handful of goji berries (dried)
I'm lucky to have a fabulous herb shop Gathering Thyme, in my neighborhood. If you don’t have a local herbshop a great place to order is Mountain Rose Herb https://www.mountainroseherbs.com
Essential Oils to have on hand for when you’re starting to feel stuffy:
- Ravintsara is wonderful in a steam. (boil water, turn off the stove, add a couple drops of the oil, then cover your head with a towel and inhale for a minute or so). Ravintsara is also good to rub on the chest. Mix with a little jojoba or almond or olive if necessary if you have sensitive skin.
- Eucalyptus is great to relieve stuffiness. A drop in your palm, rub hands together, cup over your nose and breathe in.
- Peppermint helps for clear thinking, alertness, light headaches. Smell it, rub lightly on your temples.
Flower Essences are a great way to pull you out of a funk or steer you in a new direction. Flower essences work energetically with your being. (physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually).
Look for someone skilled at determining what is best for you at this time who can create a blend just for you. (Ask me about this in our next session). If you dowse, you can dowse for what you need too; or even feel what pulls you when you stand in front of the essence bottles in the store. (Most health food stores carry flower essences).
I create blends from my favorite sources: Desert Alchemy, Alaskan Essences, FES, BACH (of course), Tree Frog, and a few that I have created.
Finally: BREATHE. DEEPLY. Deep Breathing is a great way to shift energy, and you have it with you all the time! Place your hand on your lower abdominals and intend to fill up with oxygen all the way down to the pubic bone and up to the chest. Release slowly. Many of us don't get enough oxygen. You can do this at traffic lights. Let go of irritations and grudges against fellow drivers.
SING!!! SING ANYTHING!!!
I offer two mantras: "let it go, let it go..." (think Frozen)
In the spirit of the holidays "Oh the weather/traffic outside is frightful, but this breathing is so delightful! And since we all have someplace to go; let it go, let it go, let it go!"
I generally start off all treatments with the Acutonics Ohm forks. Just by listening to them, it is easy to drop into a state of calm, "ah yes, I remember me". I created this video as part of a series to help explain and show how it works. In this video you can get a better idea of how we weave the frequencies of the Music of the Spheres into our energy fields, and so reconnecting to our home base.
Amazing discoveries of Huacas (pyramid like ruins) have been making themselves known in the past 10 years along the coast of Northern Peru. Most people think of Machu Picchu, an Incan site, when they think of Peru. But along the Coast, civilizations have flourished as long ago as 2500 BC The Caral ruins 200km north of Lima, the Bandurria ruins from 2800 BC (recently discovered in 2007 near Huacho, Peru).
I visited the Huacas of the Moche along the coast recently and the interesting news is the discovery of female religious leaders. Most notably was the Lady of Cao, located at the Huaco del brujo near Trujillo. Until her discovery, it was thought that all the old civilizations were ruled by men.
Now archaologists are finding many more ruins with female "mummies" of a high stature.
Here is a little ceremonial site (recently built for concerts and ceremonies) close to the Huaca del Brujo.
Note the tubes sticking out from the earth: they have plastic bottles mounted at the top and all are different lengths, so that when the wind blows they make a fascinating concert of flutes. (It is very windy there too!)
I was so charmed by the symphony of wind sounds!
I´ve been visiting Peru for a number of years and as many people can tell you: the food is fabulous here!
This visit, however, I´ve been experimenting with certain health foods, with very optimistic results. Here´s a few examples:
Maca,(Lepidium meyenii) sometimes called the South American ginseng is a root known for its energy tonifying effects. I had tried it a few years back, as a powder, but became discouraged from the taste and the feeling of fullness I felt. This time I tried it as a syrup and it was tasty ...somewhat like molasses. My energy has been noticeably stronger. I´ve also spoken with a family who uses maca for almost everything really. They put a spoonful of powder in cereals, in morning shakes. Their kids are quite healthy.
I´ve discovered sacha inchi nuts! (Plukenetia volubilis) They have a nutty taste, can be a bit dry. (My friend attributes these to reducing her blood sugar levels remarkably: just 8 per day). You can buy them here in the mercado by the kilo. I eat them with raw almond nuts. They also sell sacha inchi oil here. Sacha Inchi Nuts offer a perfect balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as protein, vitamin A and alpha-tocopherol vitamin E.
I´ve been told for some, the nuts can be to "hot" for the system, so it may be better for some people to boil the nuts and make a tea.
When I was in the north coast near Lambayeque, I saw a lot of algarrobina trees (actually Black Carob Trees, Prosopis algarrobilla). I had known about algarrobina..a molasses like syrup that you can put in your fruit juice (it has similar properties to molasses too), and is also used widely in a national pisco drink.
I got to taste the bean-like fruit...quite sweet. In the supermarkets, they sell the syrup, but it usually has sugar added. I discovered the small, family owned company that sells it pure, as well as a mixture of algarrobina, maca and tokosh (a decaying potato that has penicillin properties). More about that later..
In the Lachay forest (also in the north), I saw many trees with the Tara fruit. (Caesalpinia spinosa) I remember this fruit, as when my kids were young with a cough or sore throat, my mother-in-law would boil the dried tara and then take the liquid, mix a little honey in it, and have the kids gargle with it or swab their throat with it. (Not to swallow). It is intensely bitter-dry, but it cleared up many issues that could easily have developed into something more serious.
That´s a good start. There are so many different plants and home remedies in Peru. Basically in the jungle or the sierras (or many provinces, outside of Lima or other large cities) there is little access to Western medicine, and so health is managed with local plants and herbs.
Posting this late...
I'm having a hard time believing it has been so long since I've posted a blog...well...actually not really. It has been such a busy year. Most people I know confirm: what happened to 2013? Almost like a zip-through of the year....
I am happy to report that 2013 was a good year for me. I have made new friends that I'm Oh, so grateful for. I have deepened my connection to old friends that I'm equally grateful for.
Rather than detail everything in words...I thought I'd share my experiences with images.
Hope you enjoy.
I spent most of March in the southern part of the Peruvian coast.
I began working with a group of women, sharing Energy exercizes, Soul Dancing, Meditations and Yoga!
Dawn break on the Beach
In Magdalena, Lima you'll find a statue of John Lennon next to the Skate Park over looking the Ocean
Still busy working with Acutonics, Aromatherapy and Sound...overlooking the ocean!
| Demonstrations at Whole Life Expo, SF |
Spring and Summer Festivals!
During May I shared Acutonics at the Whole Life Expo in San Franciso.
In July, the One World Music Festival in El Cerrito with colleague Valerie Carpenter.
| Sharing Acutonics at One World Music Fest |
Mt Shasta in August, teaching Dowsing as part of an Acutonics Intuition Retreat, and leading an expedition into Pluto Cave
September was magical, meeting a group of strong, intuitive, warm women in Sitka, Alaska! I shared Acutonics, Sound Healing and Access Bars. I definitely felt a deep connection there.
Mt Shasta and Shastina in August
Sitka, Alaska: a group of islands...floating mountains.
A new friend and Acupuncturist Joyce, describes "Devil's Club", a plant in Sitka's Rainforest that was traditionally used for bruises and pains.
I joined an a capella trio in the Fall, and by December we were ready to share three holiday performances.
Anjali trio: Francine, myself and Rosana. Anjali: Songs from the deep heart.
Added treat: Salmon spawning season. THOUSANDS of salmon jumping!
In October/November, I joined with colleague Valerie Carpenter for a re-launch of The Vestibule Center for Sound Living, in El Cerrito. I've been offering treatments and classes there.
Drumming and Ceremony are one part of the offerings at The Vestibule.
Laybrinth by Alex Champion
Here is an excerpt from Jo Carson's film "Dancing With Gaia". Alex Champion, dowser, labyrinth creator, describes his experience with creating earthworks, and explains some of the energetics that arise from his work. THis is really interesting, as he talks about his experiences with discovering the energylines coming out of some of the ancient earthworks in the UnitedStates.
Click on the picture or go to this Youtube link to watch the video: Check out: http://youtu.be/SApIi52ii6k
In our fast paced lives in which headlines vie for more attention as magazines, TV news, radio stories, email newsletters, internet cry out ”the number one thing you need to watch out for your health”, etc.. It’s not easy to step back and NOT worry about what else will make you sick or the latest thing you absolutely have to know about. It’s stressful to even know what you need to know!!
Stress and insomnia can go hand in hand: too little sleep, the body loses its ability to deal with stress, so normal inconveniences grow to epic significance, which leads to more stress, which leads to less sleep, and the cycle continues.
Reducing the stress in your life can help bring some relief with insomnia issues, and relieving your insomnia can help bring your stress level down. How do you go about doing that?
Most research agrees on a few things:
1. Limit your caffeine intake. (that includes coffee, tea, chocolate, some sodas).
2. Exercize to bring more oxygen into your body. The amount varies depending on your lifestyle. If you don’t
get much exercize, even a 20 minute brisk walk will help. Dancing is exercize too! Remember if you overdo
it, you may have to deal with some other issues.
3. Drink lots of water. Stay hydrated to wash out toxins from your body.
4. Try not to watch TV in bed. Watching TV just before you go to sleep is a big no-no. Especially if you’re
watching action, horror or news. It’s important to control what is the last thing that goes into your
consciousness before you go to sleep.
5. Don’t drink alcohol too late before you go to bed. That glass of wine may make you sleepy, but it may also
be the reason you wake up at 2 or 3 AM.
Try calming chamomile with mint tea or lemon balm tea.
Now let’s look at some other things you can do to help reduce your stress levels and help you sleep better.
Traditional Chinese medicine would indicate that insomnia is caused by an uneven distribution of energy, because the energy flows in the body cannot flow freely. We have 12 main meridians in our bodies, each related to an organ system. As well, each meridian is “dominant” or in ascendance for a certain 2 hour period each day. Based on this, if the organ system that is in ascendance during the night is blocked, you may have problems sleeping.
There are five meridians at play here during the night hours, and here are their times:
From 9-11 PM, the triple warmer or (fight or flight meridian)
From 11PM – 1AM the Gall Bladder
From 1-3 AM the Liver
From 3-5 AM the Lung
From 5-7 AM the Large Intestine
So, for example if you usually wake up between 1 and 3 am, maybe your Liver meridian is at issue. Do you have a tendency to eat a lot of oily foods, or have a cholesterol issue? What if you can’t go to sleep between 9 and 11 pm? Those worries and thoughts about what you need to do and how are swirling through your head; that’s the triple warmer at play here.
In addition, insomnia is related to the Heart Meridian, and if there is excess energy in the Heart meridian, it may be hard to sleep.
Working with the Acutonics Tuning Forks and Tibetan bowls, I find that clients typically go into a meditative state in which the body can do its own healing work and energy blockages can be released in the body and the mind. In fact, some clients go to sleep while they’re on my table (though they report having detailed dreams, almost like waking dreams).
But what can you do when you’re at home and you can’t sleep?
There are certain Acupressure points that you can work on to help insomnia. Remember: press and release slowly.
• on the inside of the heel is a point called “joyful sleep” (on the kidney meridian)
• on the outside of the heel is a point called “calm sleep” (on the Bladder meridian)
Press on both of these points and release slowly. Do this a few times. It could help to just massage around the achilles tendon and heel area (both sides).
• on the outside of the wrist at the notch is a Heart point called
Pressing on this point, and releasing slowly can help calm the heart and relieve anxiety.
• on the top of the foot about an inch towards you from the crease between the big toe and the 2nd toe is a Liver point that helps release excess energy from the liver meridian. This can also help with insomnia.
• if your mind just won’t stop “chattering”, try a spleen point located on your shin, about 4 fingers width up from the ankle. Many people (women especially) find this point to be a little tender, so go gently. Remember press, then release slowly.
REMEMBER to BREATHE!!
What are you listening to? When you’re driving are you listening to radio with lots of fast-paced commercials jangling at you? Maybe you’re listening to upbeat music? While that may put you in a good, energetic mood, it also increases your heart rate. Try listening to slower jazz or mellow world music and watch how your heart rate can slow down. When I’m feeling frazzled, I turn on meditative music and notice how those nagging “issues” seem to take less importance. Yes, they can be issues I need to deal with, but I cannot deal with them while I’m driving, so I might as well use that time to recover my “zen” so to speak.
I read an article recently by Stephen Halpern about brainwave entrainment. According to Halpern, “Rhythmic entrainment is the physical phenomenon in which a stronger external rhythmic system causes a weaker system (your heart) to synchronize to its rhythm.” CommonGround, June 2012 issue. www.commongroundmag.com
With brainwave entrainment, your brain responds to the beats per minute, and that can affect your brainwave frequency.
There are four main frequency ranges: Delta (deep sleep), theta (REM sleep, deep meditative states), alpha (drifting to sleep, meditative), beta (normal everyday life, talking, thinking, etc.). Obviously, if we wanted to get to sleep, we’d want to get into the alpha state, and could do that by listening to brain entrainment music, meditating before sleep, listening to soft, slow music before sleeping, slow deep breathing, etc. www.innerpeacemusic.com.
Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis, an otolaryngologist specializing in voice and hearing disorders began working with sounds in the 1940s, but later progressed his work so that more recent research based on his discoveries have confirmed that music does improve brain function by helping the crossover activity between the right and left hemispheres. But more importantly for this discussion, certain listening programs, when used with headphones that vibrate the bones in the ear affect the vagus nerve, which acts as a regulatory device, helping us to respond to stressful situations and then return to a calm state. (Alex Doman, healing at the speed of sound www.alexdoman.com
That is why sound healing works so well. When I use certain tuning forks, around the head and certain acupressure points , the stress melts away, and the body relaxes. Tibetan bowls, certain crystal bowls, other instruments can have similar effects.
Some of us respond to certain frequencies in certain ways. I read a story by Dr Upledger who created the Cranio Sacral Therapy about a successful orchestra conductor who suffered terrible back pain. To make a long story short, Dr Upledger discovered (with intuitive hits and his experience) that the A note caused his spine to tighten up and the pain to increase, while the G and B notes were effective in relaxing the back muscles and helped relieve the tension and pain in his spine. Interestingly the orchestra always tuned up on the A note. I wonder if he tuned his orchestra on the G note after that discovery? (Please note that this may not be true for everyone…each person responds differently to different notes or frequencies). (Your Inner Physician and You, John E. Upledger, D.O., O.M.M.)
The takeaway from all this? Pay attention to how different sounds affect you and your mental and emotional state. There are many things you can
control in your environment!
Smell and Aromatherapy:
Try placing a drop of Lavender oil on the palm of your hand, cup it over your nose and breathe in deeply. Not sniffing, but deep, slow breaths, feeling the aroma absorb into your body and all of your cells. The volatile nature and low molecular weight of essential oils allow them to disperse quickly through the body. The quality of the oil is relevant!! It can mean the difference between a sharp, clinical feel, to a subtle unfolding of different levels of sensual delight!
While I use different essential oils from a variety of sources, my favorite Lavender is Floracopeia’s Lavender Kashmir.
Ylang Ylang oil is another useful oil, and is a tremendous help in lowering blood pressure and stress.
Try going to your local herb shop or place that sells essential oils and smell the testers to see what resonates with you. It is also possible that certain smells may trigger emotional memories (pleasant or not), so try the testers on your wrist and stay with it, observing your reaction. (one oil at a time).
Try taking a nice bath in 2 cups of Epsom salts before you go to bed. The Epsom salts are made of the mineral Magnesium Sulfate which are sedatives for the nervous system. They also draw toxins from the body through the skin and relax the muscles. Magnesium is the 2nd most abundant element in the human cells and many of us are deficient in this mineral. Are you a sensitive person, who tends to feel confusion and disorganized after being around a large group (conferences, faires, etc)? A bath in Epsom salts is a GREAT way to release any energies you may have taken on or picked up that doesn’t necessarily belong to you!
So to wrap it up, here are a few things you can do on you own to help reduce your anxiety and stress and to help you sleep better.
-sound healing (with programmed music, or just changing the music you listen to)
You can also talk to your local herbalist about certain herbs in teas or tinctures that can help, such as melatonin , valerian root or Ashwaganda. Herbs can have different effects on different people and what may work for one, may not work for you, and vice versa. For most people, it’s not a fixed remedy; you have to experiment until you find what works for you.
A pianist friend of mine sent me this speech given to the incoming class at Boston Conservatory by concert pianist Karl Paulnack. For her, it gave her renewed inspiration to practice, for me it renewed the awe I have for the power of music and sound.
The key that I picked up: the Greeks said that music and astronomy were two sides of the same coin. Astronomy was seen as the study of relationships between observable, permanent, external objects, and music was seen as the study of relationships between invisible, internal, hidden objects. Music has a way of finding the big, invisible moving pieces inside our hearts and souls and helping us figure out the position of things inside us."
It's a little long, but well worth the read. Here's the whole address: (you can also read it on his site at the Boston Conservatory. One of my parents' deepest fears, I suspect, is that society would not properly value me as a musician, that I wouldn't be appreciated. I had very good grades in high school, I was good in science and math, and they imagined that as a doctor or a research chemist or an engineer, I might be more appreciated than I would be as a musician. I still remember my mother's remark when I announced my decision to apply to music school—she said, "you're wasting your SAT scores!" On some level, I think, my parents were not sure themselves what the value of music was, what its purpose was. And they loved music: they listened to classical music all the time. They just weren't really clear about its function. So let me talk about that a little bit, because we live in a society that puts music in the "arts and entertainment" section of the newspaper, and serious music, the kind your kids are about to engage in, has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with entertainment, in fact it's the opposite of entertainment. Let me talk a little bit about music, and how it works.
One of the first cultures to articulate how music really works were the ancient Greeks. And this is going to fascinate you: the Greeks said that music and astronomy were two sides of the same coin. Astronomy was seen as the study of relationships between observable, permanent, external objects, and music was seen as the study of relationships between invisible, internal, hidden objects. Music has a way of finding the big, invisible moving pieces inside our hearts and souls and helping us figure out the position of things inside us. Let me give you some examples of how this works.
One of the most profound musical compositions of all time is the Quartet for the End of Time written by French composer Olivier Messiaen in 1940. Messiaen was 31 years old when France entered the war against Nazi Germany. He was captured by the Germans in June of 1940 and imprisoned in a prisoner-of-war camp.
He was fortunate to find a sympathetic prison guard who gave him paper and a place to compose, and fortunate to have musician colleagues in the camp, a cellist, a violinist, and a clarinetist. Messiaen wrote his quartet with these specific players in mind. It was performed in January 1941 for four thousand prisoners and guards in the prison camp. Today it is one of the most famous masterworks in the repertoire.
Given what we have since learned about life in the Nazi camps, why would anyone in his right mind waste time and energy writing or playing music? There was barely enough energy on a good day to find food and water, to avoid a beating, to stay warm, to escape torture—why would anyone bother with music? And yet—even from the concentration camps, we have poetry, we have music, we have visual art; it wasn't just this one fanatic Messiaen; many, many people created art. Why? Well, in a place where people are only focused on survival, on the bare necessities, the obvious conclusion is that art must be, somehow, essential for life. The camps were without money, without hope, without commerce, without recreation, without basic respect, but they were not without art. Art is part of survival; art is part of the human spirit, an unquenchable expression of who we are. Art is one of the ways in which we say, "I am alive, and my life has meaning."
In September of 2001 I was a resident of Manhattan. On the morning of September 12, 2001 I reached a new understanding of my art and its relationship to the world. I sat down at the piano that morning at 10 AM to practice as was my daily routine; I did it by force of habit, without thinking about it. I lifted the cover on the keyboard, and opened my music, and put my hands on the keys and took my hands off the keys. And I sat there and thought, does this even matter? Isn't this completely irrelevant? Playing the piano right now, given what happened in this city yesterday, seems silly, absurd, irreverent, pointless. Why am I here? What place has a musician in this moment in time? Who needs a piano player right now? I was completely lost.
And then I, along with the rest of New York, went through the journey of getting through that week. I did not play the piano that day, and in fact I contemplated briefly whether I would ever want to play the piano again. And then I observed how we got through the day.
At least in my neighborhood, we didn't shoot hoops or play Scrabble. We didn't play cards to pass the time, we didn't watch TV, we didn't shop, we most certainly did not go to the mall. The first organized activity that I saw in New York, on the very evening of September 11th, was singing. People sang. People sang around fire houses, people sang "We Shall Overcome". Lots of people sang America the Beautiful. The first organized public event that I remember was the Brahms Requiem, later that week, at Lincoln Center, with the New York Philharmonic. The first organized public expression of grief, our first communal response to that historic event, was a concert. That was the beginning of a sense that life might go on. The US Military secured the airspace, but recovery was led by the arts, and by music in particular, that very night.
From these two experiences, I have come to understand that music is not part of "arts and entertainment" as the newspaper section would have us believe. It's not a luxury, a lavish thing that we fund from leftovers of our budgets, not a plaything or an amusement or a pass time. Music is a basic need of human survival. Music is one of the ways we make sense of our lives, one of the ways in which we express feelings when we have no words, a way for us to understand things with our hearts when we can't with our minds.
Some of you may know Samuel Barber's heart wrenchingly beautiful piece Adagio for Strings. If you don't know it by that name, then some of you may know it as the background music which accompanied the Oliver Stone movie Platoon, a film about the Vietnam War. If you know that piece of music either way, you know it has the ability to crack your heart open like a walnut; it can make you cry over sadness you didn't know you had. Music can slip beneath our conscious reality to get at what's really going on inside us the way a good therapist does.
Very few of you have ever been to a wedding where there was absolutely no music. There might have been only a little music, there might have been some really bad music, but with few exceptions there is some music. And something very predictable happens at weddings—people get all pent up with all kinds of emotions, and then there's some musical moment where the action of the wedding stops and someone sings or plays the flute or something. And even if the music is lame, even if the quality isn't good, predictably 30 or 40 percent of the people who are going to cry at a wedding cry a couple of moments after the music starts. Why? The Greeks. Music allows us to move around those big invisible pieces of ourselves and rearrange our insides so that we can express what we feel even when we can't talk about it. Can you imagine watching Indiana Jones or Superman or Star Wars with the dialogue but no music? What is it about the music swelling up at just the right moment in ET so that all the softies in the audience start crying at exactly the same moment? I guarantee you if you showed the movie with the music stripped out, it wouldn't happen that way. The Greeks. Music is the understanding of the relationship between invisible internal objects.
I'll give you one more example, the story of the most important concert of my life. I must tell you I have played a little less than a thousand concerts in my life so far. I have played in places that I thought were important. I like playing in Carnegie Hall; I enjoyed playing in Paris; it made me very happy to please the critics in St. Petersburg. I have played for people I thought were important; music critics of major newspapers, foreign heads of state. The most important concert of my entire life took place in a nursing home in a small Midwestern town a few years ago.
I was playing with a very dear friend of mine who is a violinist. We began, as we often do, with Aaron Copland's Sonata, which was written during World War II and dedicated to a young friend of Copland's, a young pilot who was shot down during the war. Now we often talk to our audiences about the pieces we are going to play rather than providing them with written program notes. But in this case, because we began the concert with this piece, we decided to talk about the piece later in the program and to just come out and play the music without explanation.
Midway through the piece, an elderly man seated in a wheelchair near the front of the concert hall began to weep. This man, whom I later met, was clearly a soldier—even in his 70's, it was clear from his buzz-cut hair, square jaw and general demeanor that he had spent a good deal of his life in the military. I thought it a little bit odd that someone would be moved to tears by that particular movement of that particular piece, but it wasn't the first time I've heard crying in a concert and we went on with the concert and finished the piece.
When we came out to play the next piece on the program, we decided to talk about both the first and second pieces, and we described the circumstances in which the Copland was written and mentioned its dedication to a downed pilot. The man in the front of the audience became so disturbed that he had to leave the auditorium. I honestly figured that we would not see him again, but he did come backstage afterwards, tears and all, to explain himself.
What he told us was this: "During World War II, I was a pilot, and I was in an aerial combat situation where one of my team's planes was hit. I watched my friend bail out, and watched his parachute open, but the Japanese planes which had engaged us returned and machine gunned across the parachute cords so as to separate the parachute from the pilot, and I watched my friend drop away into the ocean, realizing that he was lost. I have not thought about this for many years, but during that first piece of music you played, this memory returned to me so vividly that it was as though I was reliving it. I didn't understand why this was happening, why now, but then when you came out to explain that this piece of music was written to commemorate a lost pilot, it was a little more than I could handle. How does the music do that? How did it find those feelings and those memories in me?"
Remember the Greeks: music is the study of invisible relationships between internal objects. The concert in the nursing home was the most important work I have ever done. For me to play for this old soldier and help him connect, somehow, with Aaron Copland, and to connect their memories of their lost friends, to help him remember and mourn his friend, this is my work. This is why music matters.
What follows is part of the talk I will give to this year's freshman class when I welcome them a few days from now. The responsibility I will charge your sons and daughters with is this:
"If we were a medical school, and you were here as a med student practicing appendectomies, you'd take your work very seriously because you would imagine that some night at two AM someone is going to waltz into your emergency room and you're going to have to save their life. Well, my friends, someday at 8 PM someone is going to walk into your concert hall and bring you a mind that is confused, a heart that is overwhelmed, a soul that is weary. Whether they go out whole again will depend partly on how well you do your craft.
You're not here to become an entertainer, and you don't have to sell yourself. The truth is you don't have anything to sell; being a musician isn't about dispensing a product, like selling used cars. I'm not an entertainer; I'm a lot closer to a paramedic, a firefighter, a rescue worker. You're here to become a sort of therapist for the human soul, a spiritual version of a chiropractor, physical therapist, someone who works with our insides to see if they get things to line up, to see if we can come into harmony with ourselves and be healthy and happy and well.
Frankly, ladies and gentlemen, I expect you not only to master music; I expect you to save the planet. If there is a future wave of wellness on this planet, of harmony, of peace, of an end to war, of mutual understanding, of equality, of fairness, I don't expect it will come from a government, a military force or a corporation. I no longer even expect it to come from the religions of the world, which together seem to have brought us as much war as they have peace. If there is a future of peace for humankind, if there is to be an understanding of how these invisible, internal things should fit together, I expect it will come from the artists, because that's what we do. As in the concentration camp and the evening of 9/11, the artists are the ones who might be able to help us with our internal, invisible lives."
I'm a Dowser and since I find it to be SO helpful for me, I also teach dowsing to others.
I taught a class yesterday and was so proud to see all my students catching on so quickly. Anyone can dowse, it just takes a little instruction, and a lot of practice. My favorite part of the class is seeing a person's face light up when he or she realizes that it is working!!!
You can use dowsing for many things: finding lost objects, helping to make decisions, or to find answers, finding where is the optimum place to dig for a water well, finding where the gas lines are before digging in your yard (quite helpful!).
Here I'd like to share a few other ways you can use dowsing that are good for your environment. (Thanks from the West Coast Dowsers
folks)EARTH-FRIENDLY DOWSINGWe are all energy, and our dowsing can be used to express that energy constructively. Here are some ways you can have a beneficial effect on the Earth using dowsing:
- Program your dowsing requests so that you do the least possible harm to the environment, for the highest good of all concerned.
- Learn how to transform energy, and purify and energize water.
- Connect and work with the Nature spirits in your home and garden.
- Use dowsing to communicate with the animals around you.
- Set up energy fields to control pests rather than use pesticides.
- Map dowse to narrow your on-site searches.
- Dowse for earth-friendly products.
- Use dowsing for clearing a home, a school, a park, a business, a prison, a government.
- Teach others about dowsing and how to dowse.
...and use your imagination to add to this list.
Walking a labyrinth is a fantastic way to get centered, grounded, to connect with Heaven and Earth.
I use dowsing a lot in my life. I'm also active with the West Coast Dowsers Conference, held in Santa Cruz, CA every two years. Now we're building up momentum for the conference this year, little more than a month away.
One of my favorite things about the West Coast Dowsing Conference is walking the labyrinths that Alex Champion creates in Santa Cruz during the conference. This year we’re in for a treat!! On Friday July 6, Alex will lay out the design and attendees can assist (and learn in the process) as this master labyrinth maker creates another masterpiece!
This year Alex will be making a Jin Shin Jyutsu labyrinth. The following is a little background on labyrinths and his process in creating the Jin Shin Jyutsu pattern labyrinth.
Here is his description of the process, as well as a little background information on labyrinths:
"For years I have been somewhat interested in Jin Shin Jyutsu (see The Touch of Healing by Alice Burmeister or go to http://www.jsjinc.net/). Then for a reason, now lost, I started a daily Jin Shin Jyutsu practice in November of 2010. in January the next year, I went to a 5 day workshop and was further intrigued, and increased my practice to about an hour daily.
Holding the Fingers. One of the techniques one can use in JSJ is to simply hold one's fingers/thumb and listen for a pulse. Each finger/thumb represents a specific attitude (worry, grief, anger, fear and pretense), and a particular depth.
The depths refer to levels of vibration from the highest source down to eventually the crystallization of the energy into matter. A stepped down spiritual energy begins to interact with humans at the 6th depth. The relative depths important to humans are the 1st through the 6th depth. Each depth is represented by a digit and a color:
1st depth - hold the thumb (worry, yellow).
2nd depth - ring (grief, white).
3rd depth - middle (anger, green).
4th depth - index (fear, blue/black).
5th depth - little (pretense, red).
6th depth - Palm of the hand.
Notice that in going from the 1st depth represented by the thumb, one goes three fingers in for the 2nd depth to the ring finger, and then comes back one for the 3rd depth (middle), back one again for the 4th depth (index), and then forward three again for the 5th depth (ring). That is the same path as the meander pattern, the order of rings going into the Cretan labyrinth, starting from the outside (0) is 03214. From the thumb (1) it goes, depth wise, 14325. The same pattern. The meander pattern in one of the oldest known geometric patterns. It was found in Mezin Ukraine on a bracelet made from a mammoth ivory tusk, and was dated to around 20,000 years ago.
Meander pattern: one of the oldest known geometric patterns, dated 20,000 years ago.
It is also the basis for the two oldest and most famous labyrinths, The Cretan (Classical, 7 circuit) labyrinth
is easily 3,000 years old,
Chartres labyrinth, 800 years old
and the Chartres labyrinth, 800 years old.
By dowsing many have shown that the meander pattern brings in feminine water energy and a male solar energy band, which together produce a higher level energy called power spot energy where one can have interesting, including spiritual, experiences.
So why not make a meander pattern type labyrinth that mimics the sequence of holding the fingers in going from the 1st to the 5th depths? So I came up with the following design:
Jin Shin Jyutsu labyrinth to be created at the West Coast Dowsers Conference in Santa Cruz, CA, July 6, 2012.
Each depth is represented by a color, so the semi-circular arc (a barrier line over a ring) is chalked the appropriate color. Adding color also expands the energy of a two dimensional design to fill the entire design.
In walking the design I want people to hold gently the finger/thumb indicated by where they are in the design. While walking a ring, one should walk slowly, listening for a good pulse. When the pulse is achieved, then move on to the next ring (depth) and repeat.
In the center one places the thumb of one hand on the palm of the other (6th depth).
As one walks through each ring, one should hold the digits of one hand or the other. Which one? Dowsers would say - dowse it.
The Jin Shin Jyutsu labyrinth, Following the Depths, will be, for the first time, at the Dowsers' West Coast Conference, held on the College 8 campus of UC Santa Cruz, July 6 - 10. What will happen? We will find out.
I will lay it out in chalk Friday morning at 10 AM or so. I am always looking for volunteers to help with the layout.
The Cretan labyrinth will be laid out on grass at about 4 to 4:30 on Friday near the registration building. Volunteers wanted."So If you're interested in dowsing or in building labyrinths...check out the conference in Santa Cruz: www.dowserswestcoast.org! I'll be there!!