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.