Dear Viriditas Community,
This month I’d like to discuss the topic of Joy. As many of you know I have been studying the work of David Hawkins for many years. David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D., is recognized worldwide as a leading teacher of the way to Enlightenment. His extensive background includes 50 years’ experience in psychiatry. In his book: Transcending The Levels Of Consciousness: The Stairway To Enlightenment he writes the following about Joy: “As Love becomes increasingly unconditional, it begins to be experienced as inner Joy. This is not the sudden Joy of a pleasurable turn of events but instead is a constant accompaniment to all activities. Joy arises from within each moment of existence rather than from any outer source…. This is the domain of saints, spiritual healers, and advanced spiritual students. Characteristic of this energy field is a capacity for enormous patience and the persistence of a positive attitude in the face of prolonged adversity. The hallmark of this state is compassion. People who have attained this level have a notable effect on others. They are capable of a prolonged, open visual gaze that induces a state of love and peace.” Have you ever experienced this sense of Joy in yourself or another human being?
It is this sense of Joy that inspired The Joy Collaborative:A Transcontinental Call And Response, and our website was launched this month. Our first song “Where Do You Find Joy?” is now available for your listening pleasure. I encourage you to read about the music and how the project came into being. I would love to hear any feedback you may have. Our second song is in the works. I guarantee you can look forward to a lot of wonderful music being shared in the coming months!
Further on the African music front I want to congratulate the two winners who answered the final African music challenge: Steven Sparough and Randy McIntosh. Both of these men as well as their wives have been huge supporters of my work. Steven Sparough is my next door neighbor. He and his wife Pamela not only came to Feathers On The Breath of God in 2011 at the Nomad Theater but they have also graced us with their presence at our monthly Tap Into Transformation. Steven likes to send missives to our neighborhood email list promoting Viriditas events. Pamela is especially interested in all things Hildegard. What a blessing to have them as neighbours!
Randy McIntosh together with his wife, Amy, are the founders of the KutandaraCenter. Randy has guided my journey with the marimba and is deeply connected to the spiritual component of African music. He had the following to say about the singing at the well in Ethiopia. “Yes, the singing is important to help keep time with the work, but it is equally important to sing so as to invest in the Spirit, to keep the Spirit, the Energy going.”
Our song, “Where Do You Find Joy?” was the inspiration for our October, Tap Into Transformation event. Click here to watch the video showing the dance David and I taught our amazing group of tap dancers. As our group danced to the sound of marimbas and djembe drums, I felt all of our ancestors smiling down upon us in total delight.
During the second half of the evening we asked the group to tap into what their inner sense of joy feels like and to draw it with the help of Crayola Crayons! The drawings were then placed together and here is a photo of our Group Joy!
Finally, I would like to share with you how St. Hildegard and I visited the MessiahCommunityChurch in Denver last week. Both of us are still basking in the Joy of the events that were held last week!
David and I spent Saturday, October 4th, transporting and setting up the St. Hildegard’s “A Journey Through The Senses” Traveling Exhibit. How stunning it looked in the back of the sanctuary! On Saturday evening I put on my St. Hildegard costume from Feathers On The Breath Of God and guided the vernissage guests through the world of St. Hildegard of Bingen. Truly St. Hildegard was present. In fact, the sign on the front of the church even said as much!
On Sunday, we held the worship service St. Hildegard style! I sang her “Kyrie” with the congregation and performed “O Frondens Virga.” David tap danced Genesis I:1-5, demonstrating the power of scripture when it is tap danced.
The entire congregation read the following St. Hildegard meditation in unison:
“I am the one whose praise echoes on high.
I adorn all the earth.
I am the breeze that nurtures all things green.
I encourage blossoms to flourish with ripening fruits.
I am led by the spirit to feed the purist streams.
I am the rain coming from the dew that causes the grasses to laugh with the joy of life.
I call forth tears, the aroma of holy work.
I am the yearning for good.”
I then shared my personal St. Hildegard story with the congregation. The main message of my story is that St. Hildegard’s calling to me and to all of us is to create what is in our hearts to be created so that our own and others’ healing will follow. We filmed the presentation. Here is a video showing the end of my presentation which includes David and me singing and tap dancing to our recording of Psalm 91. Enjoy!
I think the most joyous moment for St. Hildegard was witnessing her Heart Wine and Nerve Cookies being distributed during the communion while I was singing “O Viridissima Virga” accompanied by the recording of Gary Grundei’s magnificent arrangement which he created for Feathers On The Breath Of God.
After the service, I talked to the members of the congregation about the St Hildegard Exhibition. Here is a video showing the final minutes of my presentation. Watch and delight in the beauty and laughter. I dare any of you to locate a tiara, put it on your head and send me a picture!
The Exhibition was open to the public Monday through Thursday, 5-8 pm. On Tuesday night I gave a presentation, “St. Hildegard’s Gifts For Our Times” which to a great extent was inspired by the work of the theologian, Matthew Fox. In summary here are the gifts I spoke about:
- St. Hildegard’s Holy Trinity: Art-Science-Spirituality
- A Broader and Deeper Practice of Pyschology
- Opportunity for Global and Religious Ecumenism
- Being a Prophet
- Ecological Spirituality
- “Folk Education”
- Reaching Out/Community
As I was driving home on Tuesday night my heart was full of gratitude for Matthew Fox’s work on St. Hildegard of Bingen, gratitude for David’s gifts and his delight in joining me that week and especially gratitude for Pastor Wolfgang Stahlberg and his willingness to bring St. Hildegard of Bingen to the Messiah Community Church.
I will close with the words from the benediction we used at the end of the worship service Sunday. They are the same words that are on the wall of the Viriditas Studio.
“As the Creator loves Creation,
so Creation loves the Creator.
was fashioned to be adorned,
To be showered,
to be gifted with the love
of the Creator.
The entire world
has been embraced
by this KISS.
God has gifted Creation with everything
that is necessary.”
May Joy be ours!