Find Your Voice

I had an amazing insight with a student this week. Pam has been taking lessons once or twice ahawk month for two years. One of her goals was to find her voice. At our first lesson, Pam said, “The more I find my voice, the more I find myself – in the rest of my life, too.”

What does it mean to “find your voice?” There are dozens of books with “find your voice” in the title or sub-title, about everything from singing to writing to speaking to psychology, politics, leadership, acting, self-worth, communication, even a title which directly echoes Pam’s comment, Find Your Voice, Find Your Life.

Our voice is our soul print. We are born able to make a wide variety of essential sounds. As we freely explore these sounds and mimic the sounds around us, we learn language and the subtleties of communication. Along the way, we also learn how to constrict and silence our voice. Finding your voice means re-discovering your authentic voice, peeling back the layers of expectations, have-tos, shoulds, and efforts to please and sound like others, hearing your original voice, the voice your were born with, your soul print.

In our lesson this week, Pam shared a valuable insight. She realized that in this process of finding her voice, she did not need to find it somewhere else. Pam said, “Finding my voice means releasing the voice I already have.”

WOW! Just writing this I had to stop and take a breath. That seems so obvious once it’s said, but, in fact, it’s a very common, subterranean and damaging belief. Students start lessons with the goal that they want to “sound better,” and when they do, their voice will sound like somebody else, a friend, a teacher, a singer who’s achieved some fame. All the voice reality TV shows have this fundamental belief. They are molding singers to fit a standard of “good” that is predetermined, narrow, and external to the individual singer. The singers themselves have made it to the show because they already sing on that narrow highway.

Pam continued, ”The voice is in me already. It’s like a plant or a child. If I give it the right conditions, it will grow and flourish.” The right conditions are tools that allow students to express themselves, to grow and develop the fullness of their resonant voice. Pam’s tools include learning about breath, posture, and flow, releasing muscle constriction, finding resonance, and vibrating every cell in her body back into alignment.

In the last two years of lessons, Pam’s voice has grown in color, confidence and authenticity. I realized that our authentic voice is the one that puts us back into alignment with who we are. It’s the voice that fits us like our skin, the one we already have, not the pleaser, the comic, the critic, the belter, the mimic, the whiner, or the diva, but the unique voice with which we were born, blooming and precious. The tools help us to get out of our own way. Singing and feeling the vibrations of our authentic voice, we are home.

The Four Layers of the Voice

TN waterfallI have not written recently because I have been working on a book about life lessons and voice. Here is an excerpt about the Four Layers of the Voice, a concept I have been exploring for some years. I would love your feedback on these ideas. What do you think? Do they trigger any personal experiences with your own voice? Do they ring true? Thanks for your reflections.
______________________________________________________________
We use the word ‘voice’ to reflect a multitude of situations – from speaking to singing to expressing ourselves to the voice of an artist or a group to the sound of an instrument, the melodic voice of a symphony or a whale. Voice can be aloud or silent, the voice of a singer or a painter, friends talking or speaking in sign language. We give voice to our feelings and opinions. We speak with one voice or many. We are in good voice or not. We lose our voice – physically or psychologically. We listen to the voice of birds or the sea. We listen to our inner voice and the voice of Spirit.
In my voice lessons, workshops, rehearsals and performances, voice encompasses all these experiences, expressed in words – silent, spoken, written or sung, in work, in creative endeavors, alone or with others, and in creating a life, giving voice to who we are. Over thirty years of teaching, I have sung with toddlers, children, teens, adults and seniors – from ages two to ninety-two. What everyone has in common is the deep urge to connect with others through voice, to give voice to our thoughts, needs, feelings, cares and desires, to share and listen.
Some years ago, I was invited to teach a Vibrant Voice workshop for a women’s chorus in Rhode Island. The Director was a good friend of mine. She wanted her women to experience their voice outside of the confines of choral music. Singers and voice students can get stuck in the limiting expectations of having a “good voice,” of singing carefully to meet the directions of their teacher or conductor, and of separating their musical voice from the voice of their life.
In the introduction to my workshop, I explained that we were going to explore the four layers of the voice – the Public voice, the Private voice, the Inner voice and the Core voice. The concept of the Four Layers of the Voice gave them permission to try some new things, to use their voice in ways they had never tried before. Most singers strive for a beautiful Public voice, separating themselves from the deeper levels. By digging into all four layers of the voice, we can enhance the expressive beauty of the Public voice. As I told the participants, opening one layer, opens them all. Exploring a deeper level of the voice helps them sing in a free-er, more embodied way.
Briefly, the Public voice is the voice we use in public. It is polite, socially acceptable and carefully modulated. It follows the rules. It is essential to daily interactions. It is the painting, the performance, the book.
The Private voice is the voice we use in private, at home, speaking with our family or trusted friends. Because our family relationships create a measure of safety, we feel more comfortable saying what we really think, feel or need. This layer can be more honest, but it makes an effort to speak “appropriately.”
The Inner voice is the voice in our head, our interior monologue. It is the voice that narrates our experience – observing, commenting, judging, and planning. It is what we really think about someone or a situation, which we deem imprudent to say out loud. This layer is the most complex because it includes our own thoughts, feelings and judgments as well as the thoughts, feelings and judgments that we have adopted from others -like our parents, siblings, teachers, friends, ministers, therapists, etc. It can be confusing to sort out which voice is ours and which is actually the voice of another, which we unconsciously absorbed as truth. This is especially true of the voices and beliefs of our parents. When we are newly born, their voice is our first means of organizing this strange new world.
The Core voice is the voice of the soul. It is the vibration of truth. It is the voice that knows what we want, what’s truly good or bad for us. It prods our choices. These truths can be inconvenient and create conflict with our public, private and inner voices. The upper three levels can be very noisy and compelling, distracting us from the quiet urgings of the Core voice. The Four Layers of the Voice are intertwined. As we experience the depth of each level, we expand the resonance of our voice across the spectrum. We begin to fully inhabit and embody our voice.

Let me know what you think. Keep on singing!

Midnight at the Oasis: Tropical Love Songs

For our annual Valentine’s concert, Kent Allyn and I traveled to exotic locales – deserts, islands and

Kent Allyn and I after our concert

Kent Allyn and I after our concert

any place that had water – Beyond the Sea, the Blue Bayou, and, of course, Midnight at the Oasis. In 1973, reviewer Matthew Greenwald said that Maria Muldaur’s saucy song, “may have been responsible for the most pregnancies from a record during the mid-70s.”

Preparing for this concert always makes me nervous. For the last two years, I’ve gotten a cold the week before the performance, a sure sign of stress. I love this concert. I love the process of picking music. I love rehearsing and creating arrangements with Kent. I love having the songs fill my body and brain for a month. What makes me nervous is that I know most of the people in the audience. I will see them in the hall of the Music School or at the bank, in the Coop or at a café for coffee. They are my friends.

This fact is also what allows me to relax. At 12:10pm on the second Thursday of February, my friends joined me to celebrate Valentine’s Day with songs of love. Afterwards, a friend, Emily, said to me, “It’s like we’re sitting around a living room together having a conversation and fabulous music.” This give and take with the audience has made me aware that I don’t need to perform. All I need do is be present, sharing songs that I love.

I have sung all my life. Children don’t “perform.” They sing for joy. The concept of performing probably crept into my consciousness when people began telling me what a lovely voice I had. By junior high I was soloing in church. Singing was still fun, but the effort to live up to expectations further reinforced the need to perform. Just singing was not enough.

Performance is a common word used to describe what people do on stage for an audience. But performance can also mean a separation of self and “performer,” in which the self –I- watches the performer – singer-me – perform, put on a show, don the mask of performer and, hopefully, give a good performance. That is how I have sung for a large part of my life, but I was always aware that the space between me and the singer-me made me uncomfortable, nervous, and disconnected from myself.

If I believe that a concert relies solely on me – my voice, my technique, my ability to express the song, my performance, then the weight of all those expectations can be nerve-wracking. That viewpoint assumes I have no help. I give – the audience receives. But if I believe that a concert is a conversation between the audience and me, that there is a give and take of energy, presence and breath, then the pressure is off me to deliver the whole experience. We are in this together. We both give. We both receive.

In solo performance mode, my primary support is what I can personally generate. In

conversation mode, support comes from everyone. I may be the initiator, but I am not alone. Which is what I have been feeling in the last few years of these concerts. I am sharing great love songs with friends. I get to prepare and enjoy the support and engagement of everyone present.

This is one of the silver linings of age and experience. I have learned that I am connected to my audience no matter what words I forget or mistakes I make. Singing and making music create the vibrations that join us together.

The Healing Power of Sound

“I had no idea what to expect. I leave feeling joyous.”
~Kathy Burpee, a participant

That was the general consensus after a daylong workshop January 23 that I taught with my good friend, Kathy Lowe. Called The Healing Power of Sound,

Healing Heads

Healing Heads

we spent the day exploring the many ways sound can be used to pro-actively change energetic states. Sound is a carrier wave of intention. Resonant intention, channeled through sound, has the power to move energy and enhance peace within one’s life. As Kathy said, “Sound moves energy, energy moves emotion, sound grounds emotion into balance in life.”
Sound changes molecular structure. Where there is constriction, i.e.- pain, whether physical or emotional, sound creates space, making incoherence coherent. Since everything in our bodies is vibrating at a cellular level, introducing a consonant sound to the system will cause the breath, body and mind to harmonically align, becoming coherent and consonant. The effect is to feel centered, balanced and whole.
I arrived an hour early to set up in plenty of time before the participants would come. I had not planned on being unable to set up the sound system. I got all the wires plugged in, but could not get sound out of the microphone. People began arriving. I could feel my anxiety and adrenaline consuming my body and mind. I felt frantic. I called my husband, who knows how to hook up sound systems. He told me to breathe. My head wanted to explode. I breathed as he talked me through the connections. We found my mistake and the mic magically worked.
That frantic energy could have hung around for hours, affecting my ability to be present for the workshop. I kept breathing, knowing what our first exercise would be.
People arrived and sat in a circle. We asked them to close their eyes. Kathy and I then began to tone the group. Kathy played a rain stick- a light, tinkling sound that creates relaxation. I used two tuning forks around each person’s head to calm their nervous system and bring them into the present moment. I switched to playing a crystal bowl and Kathy and I added our voices to the mix – toning the energy of the room, of all of us present, of our breath and beating hearts.
Afterwards, we asked people how they felt compared to when they arrived. “Calm.” “Relaxed.” “Present.” “Open.” “Receptive.” In fifteen minutes, I had totally forgotten my earlier volcanic anxiety. It had flowed out of me during the sounding. We were ready to begin.
This workshop reminded me of the simple, immediate power of sound. Extensive research has shown that chanting and toning: oxygenate cells, lower blood pressure and heart rate, increase lymphatic circulation, increase levels of melatonin, reduce stress hormones and release endorphins – the body’s natural painkillers.
We can all access this powerful tool of sound.
Try this: While you are getting ready in the morning for your day, take 3-5 minutes to tone. Toning simply means to sound a note for the length of your breath, then breathe and repeat. Stand, sit or lay down. Open your mouth and let a note come out. That is your note for the day. Any vowel. Any note. Breathe and sound your note for 3-5 minutes or until you feel like stopping. After 3 minutes, your brain waves will change as the variable frequencies of your organs, muscles and bones align harmonically. All you have to do is breathe and tone. When you are done, sit in the silent afterglow of resonance. Take that peace with you throughout your day.
At the end of the workshop, 22 people left with joy in their steps, Kathy and I included. Pam Clark, a participant, summed up the experience this way, “The workshop created space within me and moved my energy from sleepy-tired to awake and peaceful. It inspired me to be more willing to use my voice as a channel for grace in the world.”
May we all be a channel for grace in the world.
If you would like to experience The Healing Power of Sound for yourself or host a workshop in your area, let me know.

Solstice Reflection

Our solstice candles

Our solstice candles

Toward the Light
by Ann Weems

Too often our answer to the darkness

Is not running toward Bethlehem
But running away….
Christmas Peace
Comes only when we turn and face the darkness.

Only then will we be able to see
the Light of the World.

The Winter Solstice is my high holiday. It marks the returning of the light, literally and figuratively. Now that I am in the third third of my life, now that my parents are gone and friends are dying, I have begun looking at the dark as a respite, as sanctuary from running. I have run much of my life – run away from loss and transition, fear and grief, run toward love and struggle, perfection and enough, and even run in place, hoping I was moving. This year, all of my running is winding down and for that I am grateful.
The Winter Solstice spans December 21-23, three long nights before the days begin to turn back to the sun. Today is gray with low clouds and rain. I am sitting still next to my tree – bedecked and blinking. A CD is playing a song sung by Luka Bloom.
Close your eyes
Listen to the rhythm
Open your heart now
Listen to the rhythm.
The rhythm of dark and light, day and night, summer and winter, life and death, struggle and transformation.
This year, I know many people grappling with the swings of life’s rhythm, including Paul’s mother in chronic pain, my musician children, and friends with cancer. I prefer the light, but I am learning that it is the dark that informs the light. The light, in turn, reveals the whole in a rhythm of song and silence.
I sit still and close my eyes, turning toward the dark. Slowly, I feel my heart beating, the rhythm of the blood pulsing around my body. I hear a wind-chime ringing a steady bell. I feel cool air on the backs of my hands and cheeks. The CD has stopped, but music is playing in my body. Another song, written by a friend, sings in my head.
To sit within the darkness
Quiet in the night
The light comes forth from you.
Let us revel and be merry in this dark time. Let us be wherever we are. We are the light of the world.

Songweavers Sing at Second Start

“Thank you! Truly, words can’t convey the gift that you and your wonderful choir brought yesterday.”

Desire, teaching me a song

Desire, teaching me a song

 

Noella Olson, one of the teachers of ESL at Second Start, wrote me a note after a group of Songweavers sang for her adult students. Concord has a growing refugee population. In this class, there were students speaking over a dozen languages. Noella said that to get to America, to Concord, New Hampshire, everyone in the class had survived some kind of trauma.

Songweavers were asked to come sing so the students could experience English in the context of American folk songs. We sang some contemporary folk songs, like “So Glad I’m Here,” “Open Your Heart,” and “Courage My Soul.” We also sang an African song in Zulu. The students danced with us. Americans don’t typically dance and sing, especially not at the same time, but many of the students came from cultures where dancing and singing are normal daily activities for everyone, not just those who are talented. We all bumbled and laughed our way through the dance, happy to be moving together.

I taught the students some easy-to-learn classic folk songs like “This Little Light of Mine” and       “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands.” People stood up, clapped, swayed, smiled, and sang along. I asked if any of the students would like to teach us one of their songs. A woman in a colorful wrap skirt, blouse and turban, named Korethe, sang a heart-felt hymn from her country. A young man, named Desire, taught us a lovely song of praise.

We echoed his words as best we could, giving us an immediate experience of how hard it is to learn an entirely new language. Afterwards, I videotaped Desire singing his song v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y so Songweavers could learn it. He translated the words for me. They meant, “I’m singing for God and God sees me. I’m singing for God. He sees me and believes in me.”

Many students wrote thank you notes to us. One said, “Thank you for singing, dancing, playing drums. Good day, good dancing, good group. Come again. God bless you so much.”

We felt blessed that morning singing for these new Americans. Our hearts were touched and opened. We will definitely come again.

Noella described the impact of our visit beautifully.

“As I sat there, watching my students’ faces, I realized in a new way the acute reality of trauma over the lives of refugees. This is why I invited you to come; to remind them of the song that lives within, however dim the spark may be. Witnessing the joy over their faces, swaying bodies, shouts, whistles…was deeply gratifying. But then, I tuned into my own spirit and realized that I was receiving healing too! The terror attack on Paris is still weighing heavily over heart and mind. Your songs awakened joy, the fight to stay in the game with beauty and hope for the future, however dark the horizon may appear. I was reminded of the healing power of music, dance and song. This is language of the spirit! Songweavers brought healing. Thank you.”

 

Dragonflies in November

Dragonflies dance in my studio window.

Dragonflies dance in my studio window.

A small dragonfly just landed on my arm, maybe an inch long with tangerine colored fuzz on its body. The breeze lifts its stick end into the air – the four wings shimmer iridescent in the sun. Its shadow embraces me. It flits off and returns, higher up my bicep. I can see its faceted head flick right and left. Even the wings, unimaginably thin, leave four tan shadows on my skin. Like the dragonfly, I bask in the sun this unseasonably warm November day. We are both absorbing all the light we can.

Now it’s on the back of my hand, a hand that looks like my mother’s, the same knobby knuckles and protruding veins. I can follow the sinuous tubes of my veins as they surface at my wrists and wind across the back of my hands. My mother died two years ago in November. I only have to look at my aging hands to remember her.

Now the dragonfly is over my heart chakra, its six legs, thinner than pencil lines, carefully perched on my t-shirt. Dragonflies are about illusion. In Medicine Cards, Jamie Sams and David Carson write “Dragonfly is the essence of the winds of change, the messages of wisdom and enlightenment, and the communications from the elemental world….It may be time to break down the illusions you have held that restrict your actions or ideas.”

In the fall of my 61st year, it is most definitely time to let go of illusions and restricting beliefs. My mother died of Alzheimers. Her world became progressively more restricted, her once mischievous spirit reduced to a rare twinkle. One illusion I am releasing is the idea that our lives get narrower as we age. I want to become more expansive as I age, more porous at the edge, knowing that my cells mingle with all the cells around me – this turquoise chair, this cotton shirt, this persistent dragonfly.

I want to be present to wisdom and enlightenment, wherever I may find it. This beautiful fuzzy dragonfly landed on me, alighted, and came back six times, staying several minutes each time. I was mesmerized and grateful for this reminder: November is a time of loss – light, leaves, loved ones and illusions, but loss makes room for new ideas and experiences, growth and expansion. I will remember that as the days get darker.

Built by Hand

Last week, I watched a Cape Dory 27 be launched into the Merrimack River by the Lowell Boat Shop. It was built by the hands of six

Paul is in the purple shirt with the yellow ball cap on the right.

Paul is in the purple shirt with the yellow ball cap on the right.

high school apprentices. Weighing 600 pounds and 27′ long, the gleaming Dory was built in a shop with walls on three sides and a garage door to the street, one floor up from the water level. I said to Paul, “How are they going to get the boat out?”

When the time came, 20 people, including the 6 apprentices, 2 teachers and Paul, lifted the boat by hand and carried it out to the street. Someone stopped traffic as it was carried to the grassy rise beyond the building. Hand over hand, it was lowered down the hill onto the boat ramp. After several speeches, it was delivered into the Merrimack River.

Built, carried, and launched by hand, it was essentially made (with the help of modern electric saws) the way Cape Dories have been made at the Lowell Boat Shop since their first Dory in 1793.

Music is also a timeless craft made by hand. These late August days, I am deep into Songweaver mode – planning, listening, choosing, arranging, and singing music for our upcoming year. Watching the intensity of the teamwork involved in building this Cape Dory, I was struck by how similar the experience is to singing in a chorus. Each person does their part so that the whole is beautiful. 1 + 1 = 3, or even 11.

All six apprentices spoke passionately about how grateful they were to have had such a life-expanding experience. From total strangers at the beginning, they had learned how to be an effective team, creating something glorious along the way.

Songweavers is like that. On September 8 and 9, women will come with their neighbors, partners, daughters and mothers to sing together. We gather to experience harmony of spirit and sound. We gather for kinship and community. We gather to create, to contribute our energy to the whole, and to give voice to something beyond ourselves. In the process, we are all enlivened and filled with joy. We come home to our true nature and that makes us happy.

The first week of rehearsals is free. Come experience this communal connection for yourself. We gather at:

Concord Community Music School, 23 Wall St., Concord, NH

Sept. 8 @ 7-9:30pm

Sept. 9 @ 9:30-11:00am

You are welcome to come to one or both rehearsals. I look forward to seeing you then.

For more information, go to ccmusicschool.org. or email me.

Where did June Go?

June 29, 2015

Where did June go?

Daisy Rondo

Daisy Rondo

June went to music – the music of flowers and of communities singing together.

 

I was away last week teaching at two conferences. A week in the garden changes everything. Sadly, the peonies have departed. As I sit on my deck to write, I look up to see the rondo of daisies playing in my garden. A rondo is a classical music form much like a theme and variations in which a melody is played, then returns several times after forays into other musical territory. Shiny white faces balance on their long, elegant stems, clustering like a chorus of eager singers. The sopranos begin the melody, followed by a reverie of green, leaves and buds waiting their turn. Altos enter next, colored by the tiny notes of amethyst scented geranium. Red roses herald the entrance of the tenors. Confident and cocky, they fling the tune over the lawn to the basses, who anchor both the piece and the peace. Hummingbirds dart the song back to the beginning to be repeated as long as leisure permits.

My garden music mirrored my week of singing, many themes and colors filling and vibrating my whole being. I began the week at The Northfield Conference, a multi-generational gathering of people who come to Northfield- Mt. Herman School to reclaim their essential selves from the busy fret of the world. I taught a Vibrant Voice workshop on using sound for spiritual and personal connection. I also sang each morning in the chapel for Sound Meditation. Singing in that sacred, resonant space was the highlight of my week. The acoustics are amazing.

One night, while drumming in a circle with a dozen people, I heard some women singing. I looked around the circle. There were only three young women and they were not singing. I got up from my chair and walked around listening. Afterwards, Kathy Lowe, who led the drumming, said, “Did you hear the singing?”

She said every year the spirits of the chapel sing with their drumming circle.

Turns out, I LOVE sound meditation.

Using tuning forks to align and center.

Using tuning forks to align and center.

I began each session with two tuning forks. Tuned to a perfect fifth, or the interval between [do] and [sol] in the scale, I would place the forks near each person’s ears, switching them twice. This allows the two hemispheres of the brain to vibrate in sync with each other. I then played one of my crystal bowls, inviting it to sing in this vaulted space. Soon, I would feel called to sing myself. I would hum or ooh softly until my voice felt steady. I sang while Spirit played me. Kathy Lowe, who had invited me to Northfield, added her warm, earthy tones to my flutier sounds. Two mornings, Steve Schuch, a friend and phenomenal violinist, added his strings to the sound, lifting us all higher still.

Here are several reactions from people who were meditating in this sound bath.

“That was one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced. Your voice with the bowls took me to another universe. And then Steve joined with the violin and took me further. My heart flew open. I cried the whole time.”

Listening to and feeling the vibrations of the citrine bowl.

Listening to and feeling the vibrations of the citrine bowl.

‘I felt like I was floating. I literally felt like I was being called back home.”

“Your morning sound meditation has been a transformative experience for me.”

For me, too. I thought to myself, Oh, this is what I am supposed to do now.

 

I finished the week at Dartmouth College singing with 100 singers and choral conductors at the NH/VT ACDA Gather at the River Conference. I taught a Vibrant Voice workshop to 70 people, focusing on how to use the vibrations of sound to release a singer’s natural technique by connecting breath to heart to voice to spirit. We closed the conference with a concert, singing Duruflé’s exquisite ‘Requiem’ with organ. Along with the other conference ensembles, the women’s ensemble that I led sang a song by Kathy Lowe, “A Song Will Dawn on Me.” She came up to hear us, bringing this musical week full circle for me.

Singing wherever I am, singing with others, singing for others, singing with and for Spirit – these are the daisies of my life, not flashy or colorful, just stalwart and steady. When my WASPY, New England heritage would have me play the reserved introvert, singing takes me out of myself and connects me to others. I am deeply grateful for singing in my life.

A New Opening

A bell hanging in the breezeway sounds with the wind – a deep, metallic tone like a harbor bell rocking in the waves. The wind curls

A new opening

A new opening

around the house, swooshing through the screens. Birds call across the field. Deborah, a voice student, and I stand in my living room with our eyes closed – listening, breathing, letting our breath loosen our joints. Then, we exhale with an audible sigh, adding our own vibrations to the soundscape. Deborah and I then toned through the following 15-20 minute exercise. When we finished, she said, “In the silence after we finished, I realized for the first time that I made an agreement when I was 3 that I could not be a solo singer. I could feel that agreement and how it has limited me my whole life.”

She paused. We both felt teary with the profound truth of that new awareness. Deborah continued, “Tomorrow I turn 60 and I can feel a new opening.”

The goal of this exercise is to open up the inner channels and energy centers so that the entire system can open to new possibilities. The exercise opened me up, too. In the afternoon, after our lesson, I felt energized, alive and eager to do what I needed to do – not weighed down by tasks, as I often am, but happy, eager, even excited about what I was doing. What is clear to me is that I need to teach voice as much as my students need to take lessons. The time vibrating and exploring together opens us both.

This is a powerful exercise. You can do all three parts at once or break them up. You can read it one part at a time, do that part, and then go on to the next part. Or you can record the directions and do it without having to read. There is no wrong way to do this. Just enjoy the vibrations, the expansive energy, and the opening of doors in your body, mind, and spirit.

 

Part I. Cleansing Breath

1- Standing or sitting, inhale from the earth up the legs and torso to the crown of the head. Exhale back down to the earth, letting the breath take everything that wants to let go – thoughts, stiffness, fatigue, tension. Inhale up to the crown and back to the earth 3 times. (3x)

2- Now switch. Inhale from the air (universe) through the crown down to the feet and exhale back up and out to the air. Let the breath take any stuck energy out of the body. Do this 3x.

3- Now do both at the same time. A bit trickier, the complexity gives the mind something to do. Inhale simultaneously up from the earth and down through the crown. Watch the energy streams pass somewhere mid-body. Do this 3x.

Doing it “right” is not the goal. The purpose is to flush the body with oxygen, clear the system of stuck energy, and connect the vibrations of the physical body to the vibrations of the larger system of which we are all a part.

 

Part II. Chakra Weave

In this part we expand the breath focus into a chakra weave. Turn your visual imagination on high. Watch the film of the following directions roll through your body and mind.

1- Inhale up the legs from the earth.

Exhale red energy out the tailbone or first chakra.

Watch the red energy curve up toward the low belly and change to orange.

2- Inhale orange front to back through the second chakra, (1-2″ below the belly button. Watch the orange energy curl up the spine turning yellow.

3- Exhale yellow from back to front through the third chakra, at the solar plexus. Watch the yellow energy curl up to the heart turning green.

4- Inhale green through the heart front to back. Watch the green energy curl up the back to the neck and turn blue.

5- Exhale blue out the front of the throat. Watch the blue energy curl up to the third eye and turn violet.

6- Inhale violet through the third eye, the point between and just above the eyebrows. Watch the violet energy flow into the head and turn white.

7- Exhale white light out the crown of the head and fountain down around the body back to the earth.

8- Take one normal breath in and out. Repeat from step one two more times.

 

Part III Chakra Toning

Continue by sounding each chakra 3x, starting with a low note in your range and moving up a pitch for each higher chakra. Do not worry about the specific notes. Just let each note be higher than the one before. Here is the sequence.

1- First or Root Chakra (tailbone) – Visualize red and tone a low note in your range on a groan-like vowel [uhn] 3x.

2- Second Chakra, the Sacral Center (1-2″ below the belly button) – Visualize orange. Sound a note slightly above the first note on the vowel [ooh] 3x.

3- Third Chakra, the Solar Plexus – Visualize yellow. Tone a note above the last note on the vowel [oh] 3x.

4- Heart Chakra – Visualize green or pink, whichever resonates for you. Sound a note slightly higher than the last on the vowel [ah] 3x.

5- Throat Chakra – Visualize blue. Sound a slightly higher note on the vowel [I] (as in me, myself and I) 3x. You will notice that [I] is comprised of two vowel sounds – [ah] and [ee]. Roll through both vowels in a way that feels good to you.

6- Third Eye (slightly above and between the eyebrows) – Visualize violet. Tone a note above the last note on the vowel [ay] 3x.

7- Crown Chakra (visualize the top of your head opening) – Visualize white. Sound a note higher than the last one on the vowel [ee] 3x.

8- Now sit or stand still, breathe normally, and notice the quality of the energy in your body. Revel in the wonder.