Day 7:

New Cumberland, PA

After a wonderful stay with Barbara in East Aurora, NY, I headed out in the late morning.  East Aurora IMG_5684really captured my heart – a beautiful town with old victorian houses, a sweet and vibrant main street, and a definitively progressive vibe.  I can’t wait to go back!  After a delicious breakfast that included some amazing locally grown blueberries, YUM, I merged into the rolling hills, idyllic with their fields of wildflowers, picturesque barns, and fields of crops.  And lots and lots of wind energy turbines ~ a good sign in our progressive transition to sustainable, clean energy.

The rolling hills morphed into small mountains, and the roads were often lined with marshland reeds and cattails.  I had noticed so many dead trees throughout this area, and had asked Barbara about the issue.  She told me that a particular kind of insect has been destroying trees in this area, and it was truly devastating to witness the result.  In places, it seemed that we were in the dead of winter… and yet, other deciduous trees were surrounding these dead zones, clearly still in the full glory of summer green.  Yet another reminder of how important it is to find ways to protect our beloved IMG_5690Pachamama ~ our Earth Mother, our home.

Eventually, the road turned south, and I crossed into Pennsylvania.  For much of the afternoon, I travelled alongside the magnificent Susquehanna River.  Years ago, I had been so taken by the beauty of the Susquehanna, I wrote a poem about it.  (I’ve included it below, for your enjoyment!)  For the most part, the road took me through towns and small cities, a welcome reprieve to the impersonal endless speed of the highway.  In the mid-afternoon, I rolled into Harrisburg, grateful to have arrived.

IMG_5687Our Sound Medicine Journey was at the beautiful healing arts center, Bee Present Wellness.  Jaque, the visionary owner of the space, instantly felt like a kindred spirit and sister, and we talked nonstop about healing, shamanic practices, and the traditions that we have learned.  Originally from Brazil, Jaque and I especially connected in conversation about the sacred traditions of South America.  Our Sound Medicine Journey was deep and awesome, a perfect way to enjoy a Tuesday evening, and everyone lingered to chat and share about the experience.  It seems that New Cumberland is quite the center for healing arts and souls called to the path of healing themselves ~ always a wonderful inspiration!

As the evening closed, Jaque invited me to return ~ which I certainly will, gladly!  We IMG_5696also began planning a wonderful weekend initiation into the Rites of the Munay-Ki for the spring, and I am excited to bring this beautiful weekend workshop ~ and my beloved Helene, my co-facilitator ~ back to New Cumberland to initiate a group of people into these powerful Rites.  Very exciting!

My favorite thing about this tour so far is travelling with blessings in my heart to share with others ~ I still have some of the tobacco ties I made back in Brooklyn, and will be picking up new fabric today so that I can make more and keep spreading the love.  This is becoming a great teaching for me, a practice of living in the immediacy of Ayni ~ sacred reciprocity ~ each day.  I give these little blessings, as well as my words and my Sound Medicine offering, from the love in my heart.  My heart’s sincere intention is to bring others into peace and harmony, to provide a space so that we may come to know ourselves and our own truths, and to hold the space for healing to unfold, whatever that may look like.  I am so grateful for this path, and for this life.

 

SusquehannaIMG_1576

 

Afternoon sunlight
glinting on the still surface of
the Susquehanna…

Yes,
the road goes this way,
we have erected towers
of gray,
rigid and secure,
safely above her waters.
A solid, gray bridge,
a clear, reliable structure
beneath our cloudy gray sky,
surrounded by our tall gray
buildings,
places where we lock ourselves away
in the realm of
dull gray suits,
dull gray thoughts,
dull gray hearts.

Electric ribbons of light,
formless,
incidental,
raucous,
rip their way across the river.
Out here,
on the banks of the Susquehanna,
there is just enough
fresh air,
just enough
brown, blue, green,
just enough
subtle silence
to coax
imagination from its
hibernation.

The space between thoughts becomes greater…

The path of the wind becomes clearer…

The hollowness of the world of man is revealed to me once more,
and I feel alive.

 

 

Day 6:

East Aurora & Niagara Falls

After finally getting a full night’s sleep, I awoke in the most deliciously comfortable bed IMG_5662to a beautiful sunny day ~ my one free day during the tour!  I took my time in getting up for the day, and eventually made my way downstairs to greet Barbara.  We enjoyed a delicious breakfast together and shared stories from our lives ~ stories of adventure, stories of resilience, and stories of the beautiful spiritual journey that we both share in common.  Sitting on the porch was a delight, just like it is at home, and I was so grateful for having this leisurely time to connect with my beautiful friend and sister.  It’s only in the spacious times that we begin to open deeper and share the stories of our lives that help others to really appreciate all that we have become through the challenges and mysteries of this beautiful journey of life.  Listening to these kinds of stories just fills me up!  It was a wonderful way of starting the day.

IMG_5657After our conversation came to a close, we planned our day’s adventure:  visiting Niagara Falls!  Having never been in this area, I was excited to visit one of the most powerful waterfalls in North America, and to connect with the energy of the water.  I was also excited to share the 13th Rite of the Munay-Ki with Barbara ~ The Rite of the Womb ~ and had proposed doing this at Niagara Falls.  Being a lover of ceremony and ritual, I’d spend every day of my life honoring the sacred if possible ~ and most days I *do* spend at least a small amount of time in sacred honoring.  The idea of sharing this powerful healing energy with my beloved sister in such a magnificent place stirred every part of me, and she loved the idea.  It was less than an hour’s drive to Niagara Falls, and though it was busy with IMG_5668the tourism of late summer, we found a parking space only a few blocks from the park.  Barbara led me to the path along the Niagara River, and we made our way in the baking delicious sun.

The Niagara River’s waters were the fiercest rapids I had ever seen, and the energy of the IMG_5666current was so strong even at 20 feet away that it was dizzying.  The water was frenzied and wild, frothing and icy blue, and most certainly deliciously cold.  As we approached the point in the path where the water plummeted over the edge, falling below in its magnificence, I entered into a deep connection with this place.  This is a holy, sacred, amazing place, for sure ~ and I was moved to tears by the unbelievable power and force of the waters.  It was challenging to enter into a deep space of prayer here, surrounded by tourists and the capitalist culture that surrounds all tourist destinations, but in my heart, I understood why this place has become such a powerful destination.  Though it’s a bucket list place IMG_5656and many go to see it because it’s a world wonder, there is a deeper call that most don’t recognize or understand fully:  the call to be in the presence of something so magnificent that we feel small, truly insignificant beside of something to powerful, ancient, enduring, and unbelievably beautiful.  The truth is that we are surrounded by magnificence all the time, and we become numb to it, distracted by the happenings of daily living.  Though our American culture would like us to believe that we are dominant over the natural world, that we are brilliant and powerful and in charge, being in the presence of such an incredible place in the natural world reminds us that we are merely one part of the interdependent web of life, and that we are fragile, vulnerable, and at the mercy of forces far greater than ourselves.  Amazing!

IMG_5676In my heart, I was moved to tears in wondering how anyone could witness such an incredible place and choose anything but a deep commitment to the protection and care of the natural world.  How we could continue to want to focus on the moneymaking aspects of something so beautiful, and neglect the deeply rooted problems our culture is facing in protecting the waters, the land, the air, the forests, and all the natural world.  I may never fully understand the hungry ghost of greed that pulls the mind in the direction of wanting to possess, control, and profit from things at such immense expense.  And with that in mind, I was grateful to cross the Niagara River bridge and walk toward Luna Island in order to share the Rite of the Womb with Barbara.  She led the way, knowing the park well, and we found a small trail that led us to the river’s edge – it was just what we were IMG_5665looking for!!

After gathering a jar of water ~ the special request of my beloved Helene ~ I sang to the Niagara River and to the forest, calling the energies of the land to be with us for our ceremony.  I set up a simple altar, and we honored the seven directions.  As I shared this beautiful and powerful healing Rite with my friend, I felt the aliveness of everything all around, and was in utter awe at the magic of what was happening between us.  What an honor to share this energy, destined to bring healing to the Divine Feminine in all its manifestations, in such a powerful and sacred place.  Once our ceremony was complete, we made our way back into the thick of the flow of tourists, and back to the car.

IMG_5660What a day!  I bow in humble gratitude to all the steps that have come before this time that have led me here.  I offer my heart’s gratitude to my teachers and the wise ones who have guided my path along the way.  Today is a day that will live in my heart always!  Once I return home to the Mountain, Helene and I will have a healing and honoring ceremony around our Medicine Wheel to offer gratitude, prayers, and blessings to the Niagara River and Falls, praying that our world will awaken to the reality that the wise ones at Standing Rock have been making so heard in the past year:  WATER IS LIFE.

 

Day 5:

East Aurora, NY

After a long drive on Saturday night, and another short drive on Sunday morning, I IMG_5641arrived in the charming town of East Aurora, NY with about an hour to spare before the daylong Power of Healing Sound Workshop ~ and we were expecting a full house!  The morning’s drive was beautiful.  Along the highway were rolling hills dotted by wetlands, cattails and tall marsh reeds thickly lining the edges, and magnificent fields of wildflowers in every color imaginable ~ even Monet couldn’t have painted something this stunning!  Farm fields were plentiful, and every few miles a faded, yet functional barn would appear.  Truly a spectacular scene.  As this was my first time travelling in western New York, I truly enjoyed taking in the land and sky!

My host was a dear sister I met in Peru in 2014.  Barbara, her daughter, Helene, and I all met while going through the initiation into the Rites of the Munay Ki in the Sacred Valley, and she and I had stayed in touch since that time.  In planning my tour, I reached out to her and was so thrilled when she agreed to host me for this daylong workshop ~ one of my favorite ones for sure ~ through her healing center, Crystal Bridge Healing.  As time approached for the tour, I kept getting updates on more and more people registering for the workshop, as well as people who would join us for the evening’s Sound Medicine Journey, too.  While the distance had seemed daunting at first, I was mostly excited to reconnect with Barbara, and imagine my surprise when I learned that the workshop was fully booked!  As we were setting up for the day, I was even more surprised to hear how many more people would join us for the evening’s journey ~ so many that we’d need to use chairs and cushions instead of having everyone resting on the floor ~ amazing!

During the day, we explored all the ways that sound can be used for self healing, as well as in working with others in both one-on-one sessions and groups.  We explored toning, chanting bija mantras, singing kirtan-style mantras together, and had some rich conversations about what it means to free your voice and liberate your creative flow. We also explored drumming as an entrance into trance states, and drummed together, such IMG_5636fun!  And we closed the workshop with my favorite:  the Sound Medicine Orchestra!  Everyone had the opportunity to choose a drum, rattle, singing bowl, or gong, and we created a rich and exotic tapestry of sound ~ once it was steady and flowing, I joined in with the flute, and it was really, really beautiful!

In the evening, over 20 people filled the space for our Sound Medicine Journey!  It was packed for sure, and the community was already well versed in journey space ~ there are so many healers, intuitives, and shamanic practitioners in this area, and that makes it so easy to slip into the space of deep listening.  It was pure magic!!  I truly cannot *wait* to come back to this community!  In fact, I think about half the people in the workshop decided that I should move here pretty much immediately so that we could all continue to share such meaningful and fun practices together on a regular basis!  I love it!

By the end of the day, I was so exhausted that I was feeling a bit delirious and couldn’t even fall asleep for a long time ~ after five days of getting far too little sleep, being on the road so much, and directing my energy externally far more than usual, I was in need of deep rest, and grateful for Barbara’s generous hospitality.  The bed felt like the most comfortable bed I had ever slept on, and the cool evening breeze coming in the open window was a delight.  Every day the gratitude grows bigger!

IMG_5645

 

 

 

Days 3 & 4:

Greater Philly ~ Haverford & Lafayette Hill

IMG_5621On Friday night, I was blown away by the amazing crowd that came to experience Sound Medicine at Prana Das Yoga in Haverford!!  It had been just over a year since I was last there, and both the community and the space itself have grown considerably!  The space was so packed, and even after our official start time, people continued to pour in!  We ended up needing to move some of the furniture in order to make room for everyone to rest comfortably ~ what a nice surprise!  Sometimes a group of people collectively go very deep in this process, and I can feel it opening up, and Friday night was deep, for sure.  It always means so much to me when people really let go into the journey space, and connect with their own true knowing.  In the conversations that followed this journey, I was witness to rich reflection and deep commitment to personal growth shared by several beautiful souls, and it is these conversations that really are touching to me.  One that really lingers in my mind is from a conversation with a young mother, as we shared our curiosity about IMG_5624and desire to heal the wounds of our ancestors in order to resolve ancient pain that we continue to carry and pass on to our children.  I was truly touched as she shared about her little ones, and the ways that her own work to heal the painful stories from her life is providing her children with a very different experience growing up.  *This* is the very essence of the transformation that is happening all around the world at this time ~ truly beautiful!

My beloved friends Charlie and Joan are such gracious and kind hosts, and I am always IMG_5631so grateful for the care they offer when I stay with them.  Charlie always wants to make sure I’m taken care of, and even changed out a dead headlight bulb before I headed out for the next part of the tour.  I was excited to have some time with him to help him with his new adventure ~ learning to play the Native American flute!  The rain IMG_5626was heavy during the night on Friday, but Saturday morning was clear, and we sat out on the patio, enjoying the cool, damp air, playing the flute ~ Charlie had already discovered so much on his own while camping in the Montana wilderness the week before, and we explored new techniques to add to his style and creative expression.  He’s a natural, and I can’t wait to hear how amazing he sounds next time!!

On Saturday afternoon, I made my way to Sit Meditation Space, a new meditation practice studio in Lafayette Hill.  Jason, the visionary owner, was enthusiastic and down IMG_5632to earth, and I liked him right away.  Soon after my arrival, another bright spirit, Anthony, joined us ~ both of these kind gentlemen insisted on helping me bring all the instruments into the space, and were eager to learn more about Sound Medicine, and about my path.  I immediately felt a connection with this community, and was sure that if I lived in the Philly area, these would be my people.  As more people joined us, I was really delighted by the fun, lighthearted, genuine, and open energy, and the whole place was truly a breath of fresh air.  The guys had arranged the space beautifully, and since we were an intimate group, everyone was treated to exquisitely comfortable accommodation for the journey.  It’s rare that I’ve played in a space with no windows, totally enclosed ~ but those spaces feel so much like a womb, and allow us to be in near total darkness with few distractions.  It was awesome!!

IMG_5635Following the journey, I was so happy to hear someone singing the closing song, Compassion, one of my newest songs ~ and he said it was going to be stuck in his head for a long time.  It really is the *best* when I get to experience these songs ~ and this work ~ land fully with people, carrying the message as intended, and lingering as a positive influence in their lives.  It made my day!!  As I packed up and prepared for a long drive to Corning, NY ~ my stopover on the way to the Buffalo area ~ I was invited to come again next time, and I surely will!  Just before heading out the door, Anthony shared a few minutes of Reiki to help me transition from journey space to the highway, and it was a wonderful gift.  I left IMG_5638feeling grounded, awake, and filled up from so much positivity!  I hope that spaces like this really take off in this culture, as we need a mainstream movement toward being mindful, practicing presence, and learning to listen within ourselves with great courage.  The journey continues!!

 

Day Two:

Brooklyn, NY

The quiet of suburban Philly is a refreshing contrast to the controlled, friendly chaos of IMG_5606Brooklyn ~ the wind in the trees and birdsong welcomed me here just a little while ago, and I’m delighted to be in the company of my dear friends Charlie and Joan.  Soon, we’ll be heading out to Prana Das Yoga, the beautiful center owned by our friends Derek and Nadia.  It’s been over a year since I last came to share Sound Medicine at Prana Das Yoga, and I’m looking forward to being back!

Last night was the opening night of this year’s Sound Medicine Tour, and though our crowd was small, it was a beautiful night.  The Rakit Club is an eclectic, funky art space in an unassuming warehouse district, and if you just drove by, you’d likely never discover it.  But just inside, amid the bright and colorful lights, artwork, and assorted collection of musical instruments, is a cozy space that welcomed me with gracious arms.  We drifted in the deep space of singing bowls chiming, Koshi chimes carrying us back to unknown sweet spaces, and sweet, inspiring songs calling our hearts open to the depths of the spirit.  At the end of the night, we all sat in a circle, sharing.

I feel like many loose ends were brought together… I hope I remember!

IMG_5603I realized how being still is *always* going to be work… there is no “storing it up!”  We always have to be present in the moment anew.

I was able to process a lot of emotional stuff that I hadn’t been dealing with… tears flowed down my face all night!

I am so grateful for this work, and the beautiful people who I meet along the way!

Today, just before heading out of Brooklyn, my dear IMG_5613friend Neimah was so kind as to restring my 12 string guitar, giving her some much needed TLC ~ what a blessing, for sure, as it was LONG overdue!  Lalita will be delighted tonight, and so will I!

Looking so forward to continuing to flow with the trail of blessings along the way, and to bring the blessings and prayers for peace and harmony from my heart to the hearts of others.  IMG_5602

Tour Day One:

Harpers Ferry ~ Brooklyn

After a sweet lunch with Helene, my beloved, I got underway at around 1:30pm, and 20728984_10159125617485032_2405710432830669580_owhat a beautiful day for a drive!  The sun was bright, not too hot, what an anomaly for an August day on the East Coast!  What a good idea to get underway a day before my first event, allowing for some time to enjoy my dear friends, Neimah & Audrey ~ beautiful people I never get to spend enough time with!

This tour is coming at the end of some much needed time on personal retreat, a time where I practiced silence during the days, fasting from all work and communication until after 7:00 pm.  After 11 days in rich silence, personal contemplation, and deep time with Pachamama all around the beautiful area I call home, I feel so blessed to step into the world with the intention of bringing peace, harmony, balance, and beauty to both beloved ones, as well as beloved ones I’m just meeting along the way.

At around the halfway point on my drive, I was listening for the first time to an album by a sister I met back in March in Boulder ~ and just as I was driving across the Delaware River, I was touched by the words of the song I was enjoying, words that were reminding the listener that we all have a choice in how we choose to show up in the world, whether we want to embrace selfish choices and think only of our momentary desires, or whether we want to consider the world we are leaving behind for the grandchildren of our grandchildren.  In that moment, clarity came to me about the ultimate purpose of this time on the road, sharing my work with Sound Medicine Journeys!  This is to be a time of giving blessings to those I meet, to staying connected in the heart, humble and sincere, and simply praying to leave all those whose paths I cross better than they were a moment before.  As I drove across the Delaware, I held up my left hand, sending prayers to the river, to the land, to the sky, and feeling the gift of knowing why I am here in the first place ~ always a good reminder!

After a delicious smoothie made by my beloved brother Neimah (oh the joys of watermelon – see recipe below!), I headed out for a while, waiting for Audrey to join me.  We ended up in a delicious little cafe, Meme’s, and had both an awesome, healthy meal and an awesome conversation about the power of healing sound, music, and binaural 20645253_10159125617470032_2973086623149634158_obeats with Carlos ~ a bright soul working at the cafe ~ inspiring me as I begin this tour, as it seems that more and more people are longing for this kind of energy, which is a catalyst for silence, inner peace, and self-connection.  What a gift it is to know that bingeing on TV, social media, and consumer pleasures is waning in its grip on people’s lives:  it is amazing to choose consciously what we consume, considering how it affects us and others, and what we truly want in our lives ~ as we come to know ourselves better and better, the shallow hunger of living fades into the background, allowing space for the true calling of the soul to speak to us.

In the spirit of being a carrier of blessings during this tour, I picked up a new pouch of tobacco, and with the amazing help of Audrey (a sewmaster extraordinaire), I was able 20728771_10159125617475032_182955176941937090_oto put together a collection of prayer ties to carry with me during the tour.  Singing prayers into the tobacco, and filling them with my best wishes for every single being in this world, and beyond it.  If I can choose this in my life:  to walk as a living prayer, as one who carries the deep longing for peace in my heart, and the desire to contribute my life to helping others and being of service using the gifts and abilities I carry, I know that my life will be a part of the healing of this world.  In Peru, the practice of Ayni is the law of the land among the traditional people.  This is the practice of reciprocity, of giving and receiving in balance.  In contemporary culture, there is an increasing movement in the direction of consumption, fickle desires met almost instantly by technology and the generation of material goods.  But in the practice of Ayni, the focus shifts:  how can I give from myself in order to be a sustainer of life?  How can I help?  How can I use my mind, my heart, and my hands to bring more love into this world?  What a far cry from the usual voice of capitalism:  competition, more-faster-better, and demand.

I will never be a biological mother in this life.  I will never seriously consider the future of my children, grandchildren, and their grandchildren in a personal way.  But I am a mother to those who I love and care for – friends, soul family, plants, animals, ideas, traditions, and lifeways.  I am grateful for having a heart to care, and the resilience to see so much suffering and pain and destruction and *still* maintain a deep longing to be a part of the healing of these things.  It can be overwhelming to face so much uncertainty and pain, for sure ~ and the world seems to be filled with it more every day, but to continue to open and inquire in what ways we can be a force of love, healing, balance, peace, and compassion… that is the path.

Today as we returned from a delicious lunch (yay, Brooklyn delicious food) at Sun in Bloom, we discovered that there had been a fire just down the street last night, and upon inquiring, we learned that an 81 year old woman had died in the fire.  A tragic and scary way to leave this world, for sure, not being able to escape the building.  With this, I offer up my prayers to Gertrude as she makes her journey onward ~ grandmother Gertrude, may your transition be blessed, and may you feel the love that you were surrounded with during your long life! 

Watermelon Smoothie Recipe:

Watermelon

Fresh Basil Leaves

Ice

Water

Blend and enjoy!  Thank you Neimah for your genius!!

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