We’re back! After enjoying a long summer break we are ready to roll.
Frying Pan River at Beyul Retreat
“The literal translation of this Tibetan word is “hidden lands “. Our name honors the idea of real places, as well as a state of mind, in which physical and spiritual worlds unite.”
Denise and I have been traveling, teaching, and pursuing personal educational experiences. Denise took two classes and I went to a personal enrichment camp in Colorado at Beyul Retreat at the Diamond J. We both spent time with family and continued to pursue our passions.
This summer I was thrilled to hit the road again and renew my nomad life. As you know, traveling opens the door for so many rich experiences, serendipitous adventures, and it absolutely forces one to be in the moment and practice resilience! I hope one of my experiences this summer will inspire you to listen and explore all of the new songs just waiting to bubble up inside of you!
In June, I had the wonderful opportunity of attending Flow Genome Camp in Meredith, Colorado. Rising Appalachia provided inspiring music for the program and they led singing sessions outside by a beautiful river. A perfect experience for someone who believes in the mindfulness of singing!
About twenty of us gathered in a circle by the river pictured above. Leah and Chloe (singers from Rising Appalachia) instructed us to make a sound, absolutely ANY sound! There was no “correct” singing sound that we needed to produce. One by one we would go around the circle and create a sound. The main objective was to listen to the person before you and play off of whatever they created. We were guided to simply listen and not think of ANY preconceived sounds or melody until the very moment it was our turn to sing. Once someone started a pattern, they would continue that sequence until three more people created their part. This provided a nice harmony and a foundation for the next person to enter in with their own unique sound.
As we went around the circle multiple times the cohesion and creativity grew! The simple act of not knowing what the person before you would sing, raised everyone’s level of awareness and created an opportunity to ride into a flow state.
Perhaps many of you have experimented with similar improvisational activities in a theatre class. I have as well, but what surprised me is that in the following days I became much more aware of the “music” all around us! After camp, I spent a few more days in Colorado trying to soak up all the experiences that I had gained from such a rich week. As I walked the trails, I heard the rhythm of my feet on the mountain and a song would ripple up.. “I’ve got music in my feet, I’ve got a song in my soul and my hands can’t keep from clapping…. “
We are ALL creative beings with a song, book, poem, etc. just waiting to bubble up to the surface. For many of us, myself included, we are waiting for the “perfect” song to rise up instead of playing off of whatever surrounds us. We have a preconceived notion of what our sound is and we generally allow for that one idea. Once we drop our expectations, then we are free to explore totally new sounds, languages, and rhythms. What arises from this freedom might shock and surprise us!
Singing and especially improvisational singing, can make you a better singer and also releases some feel good hormones. One of the studies we like, talks about how improvisation can make you a better singer and opens the door to increased creativity. One way to do this is by simply listening to the song in your soul. Once I started singing without expectations, the songs kept flowing! Unfortunately we all tend to put ourselves in musical boxes. I am a “fill in the blank” type singer and we don’t give ourselves permission to explore the incredible symphony of sounds in our own souls.
So go play, walk in the woods, feel the sound and the rhythm of your feet against the trail, or listen to a new song from the background sounds in the kitchen. Wherever you are, let your own inner song bubble up.
And remember, just like the exercise at the river, you don’t need perfect tone, perfect words, or perfect pitch. Let the song of your soul overtake you and give yourself the freedom to sing whatever comes up!
Cheers to better living through Singing!
Denise and Toni