Are You Feeling Weak And Shaky?

Dear ones,

Wie gahts? (Swiss German for How are you?)

I have always known that St. Hildegard’s life and work is infused with Celtic Spirituality. It was during my doctoral program years ago, however, when I first discovered that the foundation of Celtic spirituality is Ancient Hinduism. The connection between the Celts and Ancient Hinduism fascinates me. The Celts are said to have found their way to West Asia during the Iron Ages!

Our roots run deep, don’t they?

It made me wonder – where were my roots? How deep did they run?

So, when one of my doctoral teachers, Clarissa Pinkola Estes encouraged us to explore our own roots, I was intrigued.  Although I had lived in the United States for over 30 years, I realized that my roots were not actually here.

My roots are primarily Swiss.

That afternoon in my Gospel Singing Class I found myself pondering, “How could I sing my Swiss roots?”

I could sing them through yodeling, of course!

Right at that moment my teacher Jackie Hairston asked for someone in the class to sing something and picked me! And you guessed it, I started yodeling! I still remember the look of surprise on Jackie’s face. But she went with it and started leading the class in a gospel accompaniment to my yodel! Wow, what a feeling. I felt so totally empowered in my being Swiss that day!

I invite you now to have some fun! Want an insider view of my childhood and adolescence?! Click on this link to watch a video of children singing Vo Luzärn gäga Wäggis zue. The footage in this video is of the Central part of Switzerland, the land of my ancestors. Yes, I grew up singing this song and it is the song I sang in my Gospel Singing class all those years ago! Enjoy!

Interested in exploring your roots more? Check out my blog post this week, How to Find Strength in your Roots: St. Hildegard’s song, O Virga Ac Diadema. Are you feeling weak and shaky in any way? Doing the practice I outline in my blog will help give you strength for your life, NOW!

Clarissa Pinkola Estes was right, only when we have long strong roots will we live powerful and beautiful lives. My next trip to Switzerland will be in February of next year! If you haven’t read Clarissa’s incredible book: Women Who Run With the Wolves, I highly recommend you do. It is one of the most empowering books I have ever read.

In the mean time, may you connect to your roots and find great strength and joy in them.

Tschüß! (Swiss German for Bye!)

Jeannine

A Sure-Fire Way To Ignite Your Divine Spark!

Dear ones,

It’s still dark when I wake up in the morning these days. The darkness seems to hang heavily upon the Earth, even as the house lights sparkle in the early hours of the morning.

Every year, at this time, I’m reminded of the time that I was pregnant with my son, Josh. What a gift the pregnancy was! And… what a fearful time too. I’d already had 2 miscarriages and was very sick. I was terrified I would lose this baby too. I remembered that my first pregnancy with my daughter had been very rough.

I recall working with a doula I had hired to help me during the pregnancy and birth. One day, she asked me, “What gives you strength?”

“Singing,” I answered. As soon as I said that word, I knew it would be music that would give me the strength that I needed for this pregnancy and birth. I started noticing songs on the radio that were being sent to support me.  I started singing these songs. And these moments of healing music brought light and warmth into my days.

And, when it came time to birth my son, I even chanted music as he came into the world.

Now, of course, my son is a grown young man in high school. Each time I see him head out the door to DJ an event or listen to him working on his latest composition, I smile and remember the light that music is for me and how I now see that same light shine within him.

I invite you to take a moment and consider what gives you strength. How do you find the light in your life when you feel there is only darkness? Check out my blog post this week to access a song that will help you find your divine spark in times of darkness. 

I am currently on Isla Mujeres, a gorgeous little island off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. David and I are here for a few days, soaking in the light of the Mexican Sun and the warmth of the Mayan culture. One of my favorite things about being here is that we get to drive around the island in a golf cart! (giggle)

I will close with this photo I took of the view from the hammock I am lying in on our terrace of our house Casa Vaya Vida (House What A Life!) as I write to you. May this photo inspire you to find whatever it is that will give you strength for your journey!

Sending so much love from Mexico.

May the light keep shining in your life!

Abrazos y besos, (=hugs and kisses)

Jeannine

Live Under The Protection Of God All Powerful

Dear Ones,

What brings you strength in times of trouble? As you know, I was recently in a car crash. While I was not physically hurt, the whole event did shake me up a bit. And so I turned to one of the greatest sources of strength I know, Psalm 91.

This Psalm came into my life during a very challenging time about ten years ago. I was going through a divorce, having heart surgery, and finishing my doctoral dissertation. All in the same year!

It was a difficult year where there were even moments when the pain was so bad, I fantasized about driving into ongoing traffic, hoping that I could then put an end to the pain I was in.

At this time, David and I were working together on my doctoral thesis. He was the peer on my dissertation committee. He knew how I was struggling and shared Psalm 91 with me. He told me that it had given him great strength and comfort in his life.

When I read Psalm 91, the words resonated with me in a powerful way. I decided to commit them to memory. Then, I could recite them whenever I wanted. This proved to be very helpful to me in the time to come!

After my heart surgery, I was waiting outside my surgeon’s office to have my post operation check up. While I sat there patiently waiting, feeling a bit anxious and still quite exhausted, I heard a melody bubble up inside me. I knew it was the melody to accompany the words to Psalm 91. I felt like it was a gift being given to me from angelic beings! I immediately picked up my phone and sang it as a voice message on David’s phone, so that I would have a recording of the melody.

Later that same night, while I was taking a bath, the second part of the melody came to me, and I quickly recorded it as well. 

What a beautiful song it is now! David created the arrangement based on my guidance. Every time I listen to or sing this song, I am reminded of what I once heard Thich Nhat Hanh say that when you set sacred texts to music they become even more powerful. It certainly has become powerful for me!

Read the lyrics and listen to the song in my blog post this week, Psalm 91 in honor of the 6th anniversary of St. Hildegard being named a Doctor of the Church.

What sacred text do you cherish? Has it supported you through difficult times? Have you committed it to memory? Leave me a message and let me know.

As M. Scott Peck says at the beginning of his famous book, The Road Less Traveled, “Life is difficult.” Yes, it is… but we are given the strength and the tools to live our lives, no matter how challenging. I know this to be true.

May “The Force” be with us!

So much love,
Jeannine

All You Need Is LOVE!

Dearest ones,

At this time of year, a time when we endeavor to find our courage and strength, we’re called to awaken the love within our heart. To let it courageously flow to ourselves and out into the world to all living beings. Particularly to those who are suffering and in need…which really is everyone, in some way, in this world.

St. Hildegard’s song, Kyrie, has always helped me ignite that spark of love within me and spread warmth from my heart to my whole being and to others in the world. You can read more about this song and a spiritual practice you can use to awaken love within your heart in my blog post here.

The first time I heard this song was in a class in my doctoral program years ago. Norma Gentile, a sound shaman, was leading the class. She’d been performing St. Hildegard’s music for many years.

She began to teach us the first phrase of the Kyrie. As we created a circle, she encouraged some to go into the center of the circle and sing the first phrase. So, I joined this group! She had the rest of the class stay on the outside holding hands and singing, “Kyrie” on a sustained note. Norma then began to sing the whole song.

What arose was an amazing sound symphony within the room! I remember holding the hands of the two people next to me in the center of the sound circle. The energy of the sound was so powerful, I felt like I couldn’t breathe and I might faint. As I closed my eyes and crouched down to the floor, the image of a painting I had created of an elephant that had been shot by bullets came to my inner vision. I felt totally held by the people in the room as the singing came to an end.

The two people holding my hands then helped me to my feet. I then knew I needed to get outside into the healing power of Mother Nature. I walked out into the forest surrounding the retreat center where the program was being held and began to weep.

This was the beginning of my own healing journey. A moment of deep love and awakening. I let the love of the Creator flow through me. I knew what was being released would be about me changing and gaining strength.

I also knew that day that as I healed, I would help other beings…both human and non human…heal.

Is there a sadness in your heart that weighs you down? Do you wake up in the morning and wonder how you are going to find the strength to face the day? Do you long for a way to access a feeling of compassion towards some people who have hurt you in the past? Is there some one that you know who is really hurting and you would like to find a way to powerfully send them some healing love? I encourage you to access my blog and explore how St. Hildegard’s Kyrie and the practice I outline can be a part of your own healing and/or spiritual growth.

This song has changed my life. Let it change yours!

Let the love flow!

Hugs,
Jeannine