Happy Halloween! In the spirit of Halloween, mystery was the theme of the October, Tap Into Transformation. For those of you who have not yet seen the promo video CLICK HEREif you want to put a smile on your face!
We encouraged our participants to come dressed in costume. I wore my witch costume shown in the video, but David wore his hippie costume! Isn’t my husband the most darling man in the world?! One of our participants, Linda Farrell, came dressed in glorious white lace. She even wore the most precious bonnet I’ve ever seen. If I had to label her costume it would have been Magical Mother Hubbard! Truly heartwarming.
After having a delightful time with the Addams Family tap dance we enjoyed a home cooked meal. Yes, yours truly pulled off orange chicken with brown rice, broccoli, and a scrumptious salad. Yum! I’m thinking of cooking my mother’s famous spaghetti sauce for next month’s Tap Into Transformation. We’ll see! I’ll let you foodies know for sure in the next Tap Into Transformation flier.
After dinner, I kid you not, we played the Mystery Game! One Wednesday morning last month, David and I sat outside Spruce Confections, our favorite little coffee shop down the road from our home, and created a list of mystery questions.
Here are a few examples:
Tell us about something mysterious that left you awestruck
Tell us about a mystery you would love to be involved in.
Tell us about a mysterious place that you would recommend for us to experience.
The following Wednesday, we sat in our studio and decided on the hiding spots for the mystery questions. We knew we wanted to put the mystery questions in envelopes and hide the envelopes in the studio. For each hiding spot, we created a clue in the spirit of Halloween to guide people to find a mystery envelope. Here are some of the clues:
Clue – What kind of sneaker sneaks around on the ground and goes tippity-tap, tippity-tap?
Hiding spot: hip hop tap shoe
Clue – What’s brown on the bottom and white on top and when you HIT IT… the beats don’t stop?
Hiding spot: Djembe drum
Clue – Where do you find a gentle stream that soothes the senses and moistens your screams?
Hiding spot: water fountain
On the night of Tap Into Transformation, the mystery questions were put into envelopes and hidden in the hiding spots. David read the clues aloud in his most spooky voice! What fun the group had searching for their mystery questions. Then with mystery question in hand, each person shared their answer with the group. What occurred was the most amazing conversation we’ve ever had at a Tap into Transformation as people shared the mysteries of their lives. For those of you who were there, thanks again for your beautiful and I dare say spectacular shares. It was an unforgettable evening.
Over the last few years I have often thought that one of the biggest mysteries in Boulder, CO, is what happens in the Viriditas Studio! In an attempt to “solve” this mystery for people in Boulder, David and I decided to list the Viriditas Studio in the NoBo 1st Friday events. Every month the NoBo Art District lists the studios that have open houses on the 1st Friday of each month. So, we’ve had lots of people visiting the past year during our Tap Into Transformation event. I would meet and greet these visitors while David taught the dance.
After doing this for a year, David and I have decided to move our Tap Into Transformation event to the 3rd Friday of the month and to focus solely on the NoBo 1st Friday open house on the first Fridays of each month. This will give both of us the opportunity to fully engage with the NoBo Art District visitors – yes, we will get them into tap shoes I promise you! In addition, I can once again be fully engaged in the Tap Into Transformation evenings and we will maintain the sacred space for our Tap Into Transformation groups. Please tell any of your friends whom you think might enjoy our work to come by the studio on the first Fridays and explore the magic of Viriditas with us. We will be there between 6pm and 9pm.
As I consider everything that has happened in the Viriditas Studio, the mystery for me is not so much what happens there. Instead I marvel and ask how is it possible that the work keeps evolving so beautifully? I initially created the studio as a space to birth the production of Feathers on the Breath of God. After performing Feathers in Boulder and in Fort Collins, my dream is to now take the performance piece to Denver. After launching Feathers,Tap Into Transformation came along and is now continuing into its fifth year! David and I have also created two performances of Tap Into Love on Valentine’s day, and yes the third performance is coming next February! And finally, our workshop, Tap Into Power For Life Now was launched. Such wondrous work.
Now, let me tell you about the new things that are happening in the Viriditas Studio. No mysteries anymore! David just started teaching tap dancing in the studio. On Tuesday nights from 6-7:15 pm he has his beginners class. On Thursdays from 6-7:15 pm he has his intermediate/advanced class. He also teaches private lessons. David teaches both classic tap dance and hoofing. His classes are primarily for fun and exercise. Did you know that dancing burns more calories in 30 minutes than any other foot raising exercise? And tap dancing raises your feet like nothing else! The cost is $20 per class and $40 per hour for private lessons. There are packages of 4, 6 and 8 lessons available for a reduced price. For more information, please call David at 408-396-5179 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And while David has begun teaching tap dancing, I having been getting ready to launch my new healing work which I’m calling Doctor of the Soul. The first live group event will be in the Viriditas Studio on November 5th. I have created a new website and marvel how much progress I’ve made using technology. The creation of this website happened very quickly, and I knew exactly where to go for support. Go to www.doctorofthesoul.com and click on the Live Events tab to purchase tickets for the event on Sat. Nov. 5th from 3:30-5 pm. If you are looking for some deep soul nourishment, this is the event for you!
In closing I would like to add that another one of the mysteries in my life that I have been exploring in recent years is “what does fun look like for me?” It is so important that we have fun every day of our lives, and so I’d like to tell you about two events this weekend that I highly recommend if you want to have a great time.
The first is the annual Kutandara fundraiser, Moon & Stars held at the Boulder Dinner Theater on Sat. Oct. 22nd. This year there will be live and silent auctions as well as a concert featuring Tendai Muparutsa and ZiMBiRA. David and I are going and we hope to see many of you there. Come dance the night away with us. (CLICK HEREto purchase tickets.)
Secondly, on Sunday, October 23rd from 4-6 pm, David and I will be attending the Boulder Chorale’s concert, Take a Closer Look at the Boulder 7th Day Adventist Church. The concert will feature women’s work, poetry and music. One of the featured composers is St. Hildegard of Bingen! Join me and David and soak in the glory of female creativity. (CLICK HEREto purchase tickets.)
In the mean time, may you all embrace the mysteries of your lives!
I am very excited to tell you about the new healing work I will be starting next month. As I have reviewed my life this past year, pieces of my life’s puzzle have come together to form a new vision. The inspiration came from several sources including St. Hildegard of Bingen and other mentors I have had through the years. This vision includes my life experiences of being born in London and educated in Switzerland. It includes that I am fluent in English, German, Spanish and French; that I hold a doctorate degree in Ministry, and Masters degrees in Counseling Psychology and Education. It also includes that I am an accomplished artist and educator.
Now, factor in this. I have healed from a decades long congenital heart defect and a painfully frozen pelvis. All of this while journeying through a massive Kundalini energy awakening! How did I do that? I can tell you that none of my degrees or accomplishments taught me how. Over the years I developed a powerful connection to the spiritual world, and it is this connection that helped me heal and grow more than anything. Now, I want to share what I have learned and experienced with others to help them heal and have the amazing lives they so yearn for.
I am calling my work Doctor of the Soul. To find out more please go to my new website www.doctorofthesoul.comand join me live at my beautiful Viriditas studio on Sat. Nov. 5th, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. There you will receive a profound soul healing. You will experience a spiritual awakening and leave with an inner knowing about your soul’s purpose, direction or yearning that is uniquely for you. During the live session on Nov. 5th I will be using music composed by St. Hildegard of Bingen in our soul healing process. Her music opens the door of the soul in powerful ways. CLICK HEREto check out this introductory video.
Mark your calendars for the launching of Doctor of the Soul on Sat.,Nov. 5th, 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
At the Viriditas Studio
4939 N. Broadway, Unit 65
Boulder, CO 80304
Come get a witch’s shawl on and a broomstick you can crawl on and find your way to the Viriditas studio! We will be getting into the spooky, mysterious and delightful spirit of the Halloween season as we tap dance to kooky and fun tunes, including the Addams family theme song. Be sure to wear your Halloween colors.
We will teach you tap steps
WE PROVIDE TAP SHOES!
NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY
Join husband and wife tap dancers Jeannine Goode-Allen and David Sharp in their gorgeous and inspiring Viriditas Studio.
Yesterday I walked out to my garden to pick the ripe raspberries which I was going to serve for dessert. Needless to say I couldn’t resist savoring some of them while I was picking. How fragrantly sweet they were as they melted in my mouth.
I remembered the year I planted the little raspberry seedlings in the fertile and rich soil hoping it wouldn’t be long before I could enjoy fresh raspberries from my garden. Year in and year out I have weeded and watered my raspberry patch. Each October I cut back the plants trusting that in the spring they will grow back with fresh berries. I love how the ripe berries pop out against the green backdrop of the leaves each year.
What is the harvest in your life right now? What seedlings did you plants perhaps many years ago that are now bearing fruit? And most importantly, are you truly savoring the fruits of your labor and dedication? I know I often am focusing on the next project and forget to celebrate and enjoy my accomplishments.
It was in this vain that my marimba teacher Randy McIntosh gathered the members of my marimba ensemble Titandare together at the beginning of the month. He wanted us all to acknowledge the incredible work and dedication that we had all put in over the years which enabled us to play at the annual Zimbabwean Music Festival (Zimfest) in Oregon. He said that we had learned and developed so many wonderful songs. Now he said it was time to enjoy all that work. While yes, we would be learning new songs, he felt it was really important for us to further develop and really appreciate the music we brought to Zimfest. And so I am greatly enjoying our current practices as we regularly spend some of our time together playing and mostly enjoying this oh so familiar music.
My husband David was in the audience at Zimfest and filmed some of Titandare’s concert. Click on this linkand enjoy what was truly one of the musical highlights of my life to date! One of my favorite moments was when a Zimbabwean woman came up and joined us on stage at the microphone. Wow, as she was standing right in front of me and looked into my eyes, I felt the power of her soul as it connected with the music. Unforgetable! Another favorite moment was when one of our beloved teachers Simba Tawanda joined us to play the lead marimba on one of the songs he taught us last year. After four years of playing with Titandare with two new members joining us last year, I marvel at how I have grown so close and enjoyed getting to know more deeply these beautiful people. What a blessing!
Another accomplishment which I want to celebrate is that next month David and I will be completing our fourth year of Tap Into Transformation! What a fabulous time we have had as month after month over these four years, we have been guided by our joint tap dance muse to create unique and uplifting evenings for hundreds of people.
This month our theme was Ritmo. Inspired by the powerful rhythms of the Rio Olympics and Brazilian music, we found some glorious Brazilian percussion tracks and created a fabulous choreography. Here is the promo video David and I created so you can enjoy a taste of the dancing we did that night. Click here to view the video.
David and I discovered Five on Black which did the catering for the event. The tag line for Five on Black is “Take the titillating taste of BRAZIL and mix it with a scintillating slice of CARNIVAL. It’s Happiness in a Bowl.” Hmmm…really if you want to have a happy lunch some day, go by Five on Black in Boulder. I highly recommend the Feijoada. What is Feijoada you ask? It’s the national stew of Brazil made with bacon, sausage, beef, black beans, herbs and spices and slow cooked until it practically melts in your mouth. Check outFive On Black’s website to get your mouth watering.
Looking ahead to our fifth year of Tap Into Transformation, David and I will be moving the event to the third Friday of the month starting in November. We will be sending out a special reminder email at the end of October.
The last accomplishment that I want to celebrate with you is that I have started working on developing healing sessions using St. Hildegard’s music. After studying and performing St. Hildegard’s music for over twenty years, I have experienced first hand the healing that can happen with her music. The healing sessions will be held at the Viriditas Studio on Saturday afternoons. Believe me, you do not have to be a musician to benefit from these sessions. The first session will be on November 5th between 3:30 and 5:00 pm. Mark your calendars! In the mean time, I invite you to check out my blog and the first post in a series of meditative experiences using St. Hildegard’s music. (Click here to view the blog)
In closing I would like to leave you with these words from St. Hildegard.
“Through this world God encircles and strengthens humankind. Through and through, great power is ours, such that all creation, in all things, stands by us.”
May you continue to receive this great power and may you savor and celebrate the fruits you are currently harvesting in your lives.
Creator of life, awaken love within us, Christ of love, awaken love within us, Creator of life, awaken love.
I experienced the healing power of St. Hildegard’s Kyrie many years ago. I was in a circle of singers all singing the Kyrie and suddenly I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I then found myself on the floor as a powerful image came roaring into my consciousness. I immediately recognized the image as one of my recent paintings and as that recognition happened I knew that I must deeply address the significance of this painting as part of my healing journey.
I would like to gift you with an experience of the healing power of St. Hildegard’s Kyrie. I invite you to get comfortable in front of your altar or in your favorite spot in nature and to gently close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths and then listen to the recording of the Kyrie. (click below to listen)
As you receive these notes and words, ask the Creator to let you feel the love within you. Accessing that sense of love, ask the Creator to show you what your best life looks like. Notice what happens within you as you ask for this awareness. Keep breathing and keep asking the question: What does my best life now look like? If you notice an awareness of some obstacles to having that best life now, let the music wash over and through you and sense that the obstacles that were revealed to you are leaving you. Feel them disintegrate and disappear. Also, if obstacles do come up, ask the Creator if there is anything you need to do to help the obstacles disintegrate.
Once the recording ends, I encourage you to draw any images that came up for you as well as to write down any of the guidance you were given.
For those of you who would like to experience this meditation live, I am offering a 90 minute soul healing event at the Viriditas Studio on November 5th between 3:30 and 5:00 pm. At this event, we will experience more in depth the healing power of St. Hildegard’s Kyrie. Please contact me if you would like more details.
As many of you know, St. Hildegard wrote many letters. This month I would like to start out by sharing a section from one of my favorite of her letters. This is a section from a letter she wrote to a young Benedictine nun, Elizabeth. When St. Hildegard wrote her this letter, Elizabeth was severely ill, partly through her own excessive asceticism.
“O daughter of God, out of your love for God you call a poor creature like myself, ‘Mother’. Listen then to your mother and learn moderation! For moderation is the mother of all the virtues for everything heavenly and earthly. For it is through moderation that the body is nourished with the proper discipline… When there are unseasonable downpours, the fruits and vegetables growing on Earth are damaged; when a field has not been plowed, you do not find good grain springing up; instead, there are only useless weeds. It’s the same with a person who lays on herself more strain than her body can endure. This is a sign that the effects of holy discretion are weak in such a person. And all of this immoderate straining and abstinence bring nothing useful to such a soul.”
What does St. Hildegard mean by “the proper discipline“? This month, I have been thinking about the breath… we breathe in and then we breathe out… I know that I can often focus for long periods of time on the in-breath and just forget that I must breathe out! I, too, find that “the effects of holy discretion are weak” in me. One of my recent prayers has been, “God, please show me today how to breathe out.” Or… in the words of St. Hildegard’s letter: “God, please show me today how to not lay on myself more strain than my body can endure.” And the guidance comes: “Go for a leisurely walk for thirty minutes. Watch the Olympics. Take some time to enjoy the flowers in your garden. Order take-out. Ask for help from family members. Go to bed early. Take the scenic route. Don’t set an alarm tonight. Say no!”
Breathe Out was the theme at our August Tap Into Transformation. David and I chose to create a dance to one of our favorite pieces of music. It is called “Sigh” by Praful. I invite you to find a peaceful spot, close your eyes and focus on your in- AND out-breath while listening to this song.
And then I invite you to do what the participants did at Tap Into Transformation and that is to draw what out-breath means to you. I had this vision of me resting surrounded by Nature, held by the Earth, Warmth and the Ocean. Such peace! I drew this vision that night, and I encourage you to draw what ever comes to you when you ask yourself what breathing out looks like. I also encourage you to share your drawings with me.
Breathing out is also really important to do with those people we are close to in our lives. In August my husband, David, and I took a trip to Oregon. We celebrated our fourth anniversary with a scrumptious seafood dinner on the banks of the Columbia River in Portland and then took a leisurely drive along the Oregon coast from Cannon Beach to Newport. Here are some photographs from our time by the water.
Beach in Newport, Oregon
Haystack Rock at Cannonbeach, Oregon
And then we drove to the Zimbabwe Festival at Western Oregon University in Monmouth. For four days we lost sense of time. We breathed out as we immersed ourselves in the music and people of Zimbabwe. One of the highlights of this festival for me was meeting and taking an mbira class with Moyo Mutamba. Moyo grew up in the Ndau/Karanga-speaking areas of Zimbabwe, immersed in muchongoyo, maduda and ngororombe drumming and dance. He fell in love with mbira from hearing his great-uncle play at family gatherings and from recordings of gwenyambiras on ZBC Radio 2. Since 2007, Moyo has been teaching and playing mbira in Canada, combining mbira with storytelling. Moyo is the co-founder of Nhapitapi Mbira Group. In addition, Moyo is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. His work focuses on indigenous cultures, ceremony and ritual and their relevance to education in general.
One of the most sacred moments at the festival was playing the song “Pfumvu” with Moyo in one of the courtyards of the university. David filmed our playing. I invite you to watch this film and breathe out! (CLICK HEREto view the video.)
As you move forward into these fall days, I encourage you to find ways to breathe out deeply at least once every day!
Happy July!!! I smile when I think about what happened for me on July 4th this year. My 21 year old daughter Alicia, who is home for the summer, went out and bought some fireworks, and for the first time my family set off our own fireworks! As I experienced the colors and noise and excitement of all four of my family members (myself included), I rejoiced. How glorious to feel something being ignited and then after what is a moment of incredible anticipation to see and hear the bursting forth of color and light.
This month I want to share with you some of the color and light that is bursting forth in my life.
On July 1st, David and I hosted our monthly Tap Into Transformation. David created a choreography to Bruno Mars’ hit song Uptown Funk. Listen to this song and imagine tapping along.
I tell you, the bass vocal line that starts the song always sends a joyous flow of energy through my body. I dare you to sing along with the opening vocal and find some moves with your body that enables the joyous energy to flow. It’s the best! All of us that attended that night felt the joy in our bodies.
After the dancing we enjoyed a delicious meal catered by Moe’s Barbecue.Oh my, was it yummy! For those of you who live in Boulder, really, go by Moe’s barbecue and have lunch one day. The food is scrumptious. David and I went by and had the catfish with beans and mac n’ cheese while watching one of the European Soccer Cup matches on the big screen TV one day this month. I was in heaven!!!
After dinner I led our group in a guided meditation. After helping folks relax their bodies and quiet their minds, I invited them to enter into a magnificent garden and to explore all the plants they found there. Each participant then connected with a special flower that was especially calling to them. They spent time with this flower, taking in its beauty and fragrance. Then they listened. The flower had a message just for them. Here are some of the messages the flowers shared that night:
I am too shy to talk.
Be like a firework!
Expand your own colors.
What is a special flower in your inner garden saying to you? My special flower was a sunflower and its message was: “FOLLOW THE LIGHT!” Here is a photo of the sunflower I drew that night.
Another way that I am bursting forth these days is through my new blog series. As most of you know, I have been a student and performer of the music of St. Hildegard of Bingen for over two decades. St. Hildegard’s music is described as monophonic; that is, consisting of exactly one melodic line. Singing her melodies over the years has given me strength, healing and profound inspiration. I have now begun a blog series to share specifically how five of St. Hildegard’s songs have helped me in my life and to give suggestions for how to use them in your life. To find out more, go to my blog.(Click here to visit the blog.)
The brightest light and color that is bursting forth in my life these days is being created by my work with the Kutandara Center. The Center was formed in 1999, after the directors, Randy and Amy McIntosh, fell in love with Zimbabwean music and wanted to share their passion for this music with others. I am currently part of two bands at the center, and this month I have been performing almost every weekend. On July 2nd and July 16th I performed at the Louisville Farmers Market. On July 24th I will be performing at the First United Methodist Church in Boulder during their Sunday service. For those of you in the Boulder area, I would love you to join me and Titandare at FUMC on July 24th. The service starts at 10:30.
The great treat at the Kutandara Center this month is a guest artist/teacher named Simbarashe Kamurivo. We call him Simba. Simba grew up playing the marimba in Zimbabwe and came to this country to study. He recently completed a graduate degree in Choral Conducting at the Greatbatch School of Music and is beginning his second Masters Degree in Ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University. He has also served as the instructor of Simba Marimba, an African Marimba Ensemble at the Eastman School of Music.
Simba has been working with both of the bands that I play with. His focus is on showing us how to share the joy of this music through connection with our audiences and incorporating more body movement into our playing. And it is perfect timing! As you know, I will be performing with Titandare at the annual Zimbabwe Music Festival in Oregon next month, and it will be so wonderful to have all of Simba’s joyous teachings under our belts as we head to Oregon.
My favorite of his teachings is the following: “Every morning, when you wake up, go to the mirror and put on your happy face. Yes, put on a huge smile and look at yourself. Then bring that face with you as go through your day….especially when you are playing the marimba!”
I encourage all of you to give this teaching a try! I am not kidding, get up in the morning and start your day by smiling at yourself in the mirror. Even if you don’t feel like it… SMILE AT YOURSELF… I guarantee that if you do this consistently every day for two weeks, you will start to feel happier, and that happiness will begin to radiate out to others in your life.
So as we move beyond the fireworks of July 4th, I want to encourage you to keep sharing your colors and lights. If you feel like taking a moment and letting me know about the color and light you are sharing with others, I would love to hear!
I vividly remember the day I discovered the healing power of St. Hildegard’s music. I had recently joined a local choir and we rehearsed every Thursday night. At the time, I was teaching full time, and on Thursday we had our faculty meetings, so I was done with work at 5:30, would grab some dinner and then make my way to choir rehearsal. I would show up, tired to the bones.
Our director had chosen to do a concert of music written by female composers and so one night I arrived at rehearsal at the church and he passed out the new score we would start working on…you guessed it…it was the music of St. Hildegard of Bingen. We were singing her song: O Jerusalem in its original form. St Hildegard’s music is described as monophonic; that is, consisting of exactly one melodic line. And so the entire choir sang in unison. As we sang through the song, I felt a sacred energy fill the church as well as my body. It literally felt like I was being plugged into a source of power and life. My energy returned and by the end of that rehearsal, I left the church full of energy and joy. I was ready to take on the world!
Wow, what had happened? How was this possible? I knew that the music was the source of the amazing transformation in my energy. I was hooked. From that day on, I was drawn to St. Hildegard and her music. I knew she could help me in my life. And that is exactly what has happened.
In this blog series, I am going to write about five of St. Hildegard’s songs:
O Viridissima Virga
O Virga Ac Diadema
O Frondens Virga
I will share how each song has helped me in my life and give suggestions for how to use it in your life. For now, I suggest you create a sacred space some where in your home. It should have a comfortable chair or pillow for you to relax in. Find a little table and put a candle, some incense and some images or objects that nourish your senses on the table. Fresh flowers are perfect as well as your favorite stones. Of course if you have a special spot in nature, where you feel inspired and peaceful, that would work well too. Just think about where you would feel most able to relax and sink into some glorious music and inspiration.