“They say to dance like nobody is watching. I think that implies that we are afraid or ashamed to dance in front of the people. I say dance like everybody is watching. Dance like your children are watching, your ancestors, your family. Dance for those who are hurting, those who can’t dance, those who lost loved ones and those who suffer injustices throughout the world. Let every step be a prayer for humanity! Most of all dance for the Creator, who breathed into your soul so you may celebrate this gift of life!” – Supaman
This is why I then say, to follow Supaman’s advice for everything we ever do; to sing, write, love, walk and even breathe for the Creator; the great mystery, all the magic in this universe. That each action we do, as small as it might seem be loaded with gratitude, gratitude for the mere beauty of existence, for the sun, the moon, the stars; Pachamama. This is something I learned when I was young, but that honestly didn’t made much sense until I started consciously singing – especially medicine songs – when I was 13 years old. I remember being sited in a circle in the mountains near Cali, Colombia, where Anita (my beautiful yoga and Buddhism teacher of the time) used to live with her partner of the moment, four other of our friends where there and they all followed the Red Road (North American Native tradition). They started singing, two of them played guitar, the woman sang, and another of my friends was playing a gentle rattle. I remember being lulled by the melodies that gently purred into my heart clear and loud, making their way; making my soul dance. Soon enough I realized being more and more inspired to sing; everywhere, at all times, specially in nature, sing as a praise for the sun, for a lake, for a bird; and even more powerful to me, singing to honor pain and suffering.
This experience deepened as I dived into singing circles and experienced different traditions with their different vocal prayers, such as Hinduism and Buddhism with the Mantras, Native American tribes with their powerful chants, the call and response styles of different African traditions and surely the sweet approaches I had to Sufi music and circles. Because singing, from what I have read, learned and experienced, was used in several contexts as a way to tune into our personal power and to unite it to the collective web. Such as the Native American tribes that will sing before going to war, before each ceremony and celebration, as a way of praying to the Great Mystery (The Creator). As well as today, using it as a way to raise their voice and fight for their rights, as Judy Da Silva and Chickadee Richards thought me when I actually sat with them and sing to the strong melody of the beating drum and the grounded force of their voices; experience that really touched me and nourished me, them, the woman; where standing for the well being of all living systems. Singing loud and clear to support their people and to ignite the force of all those fighting to protect the water, the air, the earth and their lives. They then shared their XXIst century battles against colonialism and exploitation of both their people and nature, during the World Social Forum in Montreal 2016. Other singing practices that still give me the chills and really touch me when I think of them are the African tribes that sang (and some still do) in their fields, as they worked each day for the benefit of the tribe, in circle sharing, as well as when they where being pushed to enter in the boats of the colonizers to get exploited – they sang, as it was the only way to remain united.
This experience has only gotten deeper and more nourishing, with time, with experience, as well as with the different teachings that keep on entering my life, as when Matt introduced me to The Work that Reconnects, by Joanna Macy, and its beautiful spiral that consists on: Gratitude, Honoring our Pain, Seeing with new Eyes and Going Forth – and well, surely enough, re-starting the process. We started then doing this spiral in celebrations, ceremonies and even inside the Sweat Lodge; all the time side by side with music. Stating the ground, starting always with gratitude; for it is the roots to all work, the net that sustains all life, from what I have learned, where there is gratitude there is energy to be resilient. Then, starting to gently spiral down, sharing that which is hard, that which triggers pain and suffering inside us, that which makes us uncomfortable, until at some point we touch the seed. Making space to observe it, to live with it, to acknowledge its existence; because we do live in a dual world and there is light and shadow everywhere we go. This for me is a precious work! In my life resilience has been a key for growth, and even if it is not easy process just by doing this I was able to dig inside me, as well as to observe and connect with the suffering around me, to honor it; to celebrate it in a way or another, to give it its very own rite of passage. It is always a very liberating process for me, but to be honest the times it has touched me the most has been during the Sweat Lodges. I can remember the last one we did, I was fire keeper and at the same time I was Sweating along with Marie, David and Mat, ooopaalai! I had just finished a loaded week, a lot of questions on the time to come, a lot of pain and misunderstanding of the situation of the world, the different massacres that where taking place, and somehow feeling so small and insignificant facing all that. I shared, I shared from the depths of my heart, and sang letting it all go, transmute; I was on the ground. Tears rushing down my face, my heart pumping, catharsis, memories flying by, the melody and voice of everybody where doing huge effect on me; the second the sweat ended I was on my feet again – a huge weight had left my body, and even my soul. I was ready for action, I was ready to give it all, to plant my seed in this incredible mystery; and some of this action comes thru every single one of this words.
Making that process in the Sweat that day ignited in me an even bigger desire to change, to stand up and take action. This change that happened in me thanks to the resilience I attained thru the circle, the music and the sharing, created space for me to nourish from life one more time. Which for me falls into the definition of resilience: “the ability to become strong, healthy or successful again after something bad happens ; the capacity to recover quickly thru difficulties.” And this is where the tweak came for me in relation to the Spiral mentioned above, for me it was thru music, the drum, the voice, the rattle; that the pain could be shared, liberated and even transmuted. To celebrate the pain, sing to it, make it dance!
So, here I go, tonight I will surely have my very own singing space, to honour what is, to transmute this anxiety and confusion and be able to re-ground myself in the present moment, to acknowledge all that is, in pure and divine gratitude.
This process has make such an important part of my life and of my very personal healing that I want to share it with you, - reason why I even made of it a “thing” : MUSIC & RESILIENCE. To create spaces all together, to dive into our own selves and sing off the pain. As well as to sing as a praise for life, as a reason to gather, as a way of sharing on circle – of sharing our heart, because to me is the most precious instrument we have. I put it up here because it is a crucial part of what I want to contribute to this magnificent existence, one of the many artistic pieces; that will hopefully be joined by more inspiring beings to create new circles. Circles of Resilience and Life thru all the different possible forms of art we can imagine!
Come and sing, come and share…. come to the never-ending circle one more time.
Always in gratitude for your reading, and for your input in my life.
Wishing you all a very radiant day.