Come Walk in Beauty
These songs of spirit have come through me in amazing places and led me to and through experiences resulting in deep joy. Although they come from the personal they transcend it. They evolve out of indigenous healing techniques and messages from nature. These are teaching songs; simple melodies and lyrics, which are easy to sing and carry. Here's a little backstory for the songs on this album to acknowledge the muses, inspiration, situations and helpers that made this music possible. The teaching songs taught me about myself and about the workings of the Universe. They continue to teach me through their gentle reminders to trust and to be a little brave. The Songs & their Story SpiritSong - Learning to SpiritSing opened my life - both personally and professionally. A vehicle for connecting more deeply to one's own inner wisdom as well as to all that surrounds us, SpiritSong enchants, heals and inspires. Many of the songs on this CD began in SpiritSong. My Teacher, Shawna Carol, often reminded us that sometimes we sing and sometimes we are sung. In either case, Spirit moves through it. I offer deep deep gratitude to the Teachers of the Way of Song for their guidance, which continues to help me trust not only the song, but also myself. This CD opens and closes with a SpiritSong. The first offers blessings and serves as a benediction. The last offers gratitude. I invite you to enter the song, and follow wherever it leads you. Healers Awake - I remember sitting by a river and listening for it's authentic voice. It grew as I sang it back and within the song, I found the river singing my authentic voice back to me. I still feel the warmth of the late day sun dancing across my skin as I sat in the pleasure of such deep connection with another being. This should happen more often, I think to myself. The river says, "You should come more often". I smile and wonder why I don't. Then I promise to. When we awaken to one another, we heal ourselves and the world. This is the teaching of the river from that day. The time has come for the healer in everyone to awaken. Healers Awake is a call to that purpose. Serpent Mound - A big Mother Drum sits in a quiet room at my friends Lanie and Kay's house. The forests of Eastern Massachusetts surround us. The soft stillness of an autumn afternoon slips into the room and the chatter of our news fades. Sharon, Dirk, Lanie and I settle around the drum and begin a conversation in the rhythms of our hearts and hands. The drum shifts us and we follow. I begin to hear this chant. As it grows stronger I begin singing. And although I have never been to the mound, I feel that I know it in some way. 2 summers later I travel across country with my father to my ancestral home in NW Ohio. We plan to meet up with Lanie, Kay and Terri Rivera Piatt at the Serpent Mound for a workshop I will co-facilitate. We arrive a day early so I can experience the Serpent Mound for the first time, clear of distractions. I ask for permission to enter this sacred ground while offering tobacco and strands of my hair. The air seems to shift and I enter another time. Flashes of ancient people celebrating births, death and other rites of passage flood my senses. I hear rushes and rattles, chants and drums. I smell the smoke and feel anticipation pervade my very being. The Serpent begins teaching me these celebrations and showing how the energy of the ancestors and elders, of the women, men and children traveled through over and under her body. And the chant moves through me once again, and I sing. Voices - This chant offers a different voice on this album. For me it speaks of the motivation behind gathering these songs and producing the CD. So many voices pull us away from our own knowing and our very purpose. I wanted to create a sense of the internal dissonance that occurs when we allow these voices to have control in our lives. I happened to have been with my friend Pam when she realized it was time for her to turn away from all the outside expectations and listen to her own wisdom and knowing. Sitting with her I could feel my own version of feeling pulled by so much outside need. I knew the pain of choosing and in that moment I knew how vital it is follow one's heart and do what one feels called to do. Surrendering to the call of the heart and one's purpose to heal the planet suddenly seemed obvious. And from that epiphany flowed this chant for Pam. This version begins in discomfort and resolves in peace. Gaia's Gifts - This was written in two pieces: a song of calling and gratitude to recognize the different faces of the feminine; and a cleansing song I wrote while driving during a rain storm. One day I was humming and they merged into one another and became a cleansing song from Mother Earth. Winds of Change - A labyrinth on a warm autumn day on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound invited me to walk. I grounded and centered myself, made my offering, chose the question I would carry and entered. "What am I to teach and how will the teaching best be delivered?" In the quiet of the labyrinth I was taught to trust my own knowing, to teach from that knowing and present it in a way that brings me joy. Each of us is invited to carry our knowing with awareness and allow it's power to help us manifest what it is we are here to create. And when we do that, it brings us great ease. We are gifted with talents that bring us incredible joy and it is these same talents that the world needs desperately. In this system our service to the world becomes a source of personal energy and never a burden. A second level of teaching came to me inside the labyrinth: we cannot hide from our own significance. What we do matters; anything we do changes the world. We are the winds of change. I emerged from the labyrinth, headed to the car for pen and paper and wrote this song. Miranda's Song - My young friend Miranda was about 2 years old when this song came to me. We were sitting in the gardens at BodySong Healing Arts Center when we noticed the bamboo whispering to us. I had just learned the Japanese tradition of writing prayers/wishes on rice paper and tying them to the bamboo so they become manifest. It seemed the bamboo was confirming this tradition and inviting us to participate. Many times Miranda and I would talk and sing with the bamboo. So I think of her whenever I sing it. Spirit Love - I originally wrote this chant to sing to the directions and honor the Elements, which are part of me - and you. The descant and base line came a few days later. I remember thinking the words weren't ones I would particularly choose. Two months later at a SpiritSong retreat, we were all closing a session with personal words of gratitude. One young woman made her offering using the words in these two lines. This was the beginning of understanding a new level of my psychic gifts. Spring - Pam Gerke, the director of the Sacred Fire Choir many years ago, asked me if I knew any spring chants. We were performing at Gaia's Temple and Rev. Judith Laxer requested a chant to spring. I said I didn't know one, but I could write one. Here it is. I sing this chant in the spring but also anytime I feel called to rebirth something in my life. Kore's joyful return from the Underworld, the hope of cherry blossoms and the unforgettable moment after a long hard winter that tells you new life is awakening - these are the feelings I call upon with this chant. Children of the Earth - In 2004 I received a movement pattern for dancing with the moon during a dream. Later as I was walking the pattern in the garden I could feel it teaching. The words, which captured the sense of that teaching, became a chant. (Veronica Appolonia helped me fine tune it.) Later I felt it could be expanded into a song with some verses. The verses change depending on why I'm singing. Prosperity Song - Veronica Appolonia and I met on a regular basis to sing and write chants. Sometimes we listened and other times we offered a harmony to each other's work. Occasionally we co-created a chant. This is one of those co-creations and we had a lot of fun writing it. We sat in a garden at the BodySong Healing Arts Center in the middle of Seattle and were inspired by the abundance surrounding us. It's what we call a "zipper" song. We invite you to "(zip)" your own expressions of abundance into the verses. In Beauty I Walk - Many mornings I begin with movement, simple song and this Navaho prayer. Over the years I worked with the words of this prayer in my heart and life. They became a mantra for how I wished to walk. This song is a commitment to walk in beauty and choose to see the beauty that is all around. When I brought this song to Dan and he eased right into the song adding his harmonies, I basked in the ease and beauty with which he creates a harmony. It's a delight to sing in beauty with this brother of mine!