While discussing ideas for doing some sound healing work in Colorado this summer, I was surprised to find that, when asked “what would make my heart sing,” I did not have an answer. After decades of asking “why am I here” I found the answer: to make sound (and music) to, for and with, the Voice of Mother Earth. I discovered this (my “mission”) while on a residency at the Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico. During that time, I wrote my first CD, “In lake’ch” (Mayan for “I am another yourself”), and after stepping back from it, realized that this was the music I had been looking for all my life. That CD grew into an ever evolving series of six disks with three more in the plans (found at CDBaby). Each disk (and most tracks) work on their own, and the whole thing is a single 5 1/2 hour composition. It has expanded into a sound meditation/sound healing practice, which has taken me deeper into the substrate of sound, vibration and oscillation, than I could have imagined! I love sound, and I love composing, yet when asked what sound events would make my heart sing, I stammered…
I have done so many things in my life: climbed all of Colorado’s 14,000 ft. peaks, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Shasta and Pico de Orizaba (or Aztec: Citlaltepetl, the 3rd highest summit in North America). I have built three medicine spaces: moving some big stones and creating a labyrinth, and I have a growing deep connection of honoring this land on to which I’ve moved. I have travelled, composed, adventured, worked hard, played hard, and when younger, drank hard. I even sleep hard! I got my doctorate, built a career in music and academia, and won some prizes along the way. I lived in New Zealand for nine months and Italy for a year. I toured Europe and visited lots of wonderful places. By all accounts I am a success, and prosperous, and I feel both. So why could I not answer the simple question “what makes my heart sing?”
In my youth, all of the activities I pursued were things that excited me, and that I truly wanted to do. I got a doctorate because I wanted to pass that test of mental rigor and discipline. I climbed mountains because of the experience with God I felt each time arriving at that 360 degree panorama. I rode century days on my bike to go one mile further, and travelled to find the next adventure around the corner. I was single-minded about goals, and reaching out further. I pushed myself, and pushed hard! I did things for the action of them, and to compete with myself-to go one step, mile, or achievement further. I rode my youth like a bucking bronco: enjoying the times I stayed on as much as the times I got tossed off. Each time I got back up and looked around for the next thing! Life was grand, gritty and full of gumption.
All that changed while on a trip to Colorado in 2007. I had one day left, and I was at the base of a pair of 14ers. Instead of climbing (by this point, I was halfway through the 2nd round, and even bagging some of the high 13ers), I chose to float the Arkansas River with a friend. Rather than toiling to a couple of summits, I let gravity take me down, and I haven’t climbed since. It was a turning point. In many cultures, age 50 marks a passage to elder-hood. This was my first sign-post, and came with a rather dramatic polarity shift. In a momentary decision, I moved from goal bound determination, to process oriented introspection. At this point, I am more interested in smelling the roses than bagging any more summits.
My view looks more inward, rather than outward… not always an easy shift when ones entire existence has orbited around achievement, but comes with minimized damage control of a bull-in-the-china-shop-youth! And so, thinking about “what makes my heart sing,” became a question of my youth. Time for a new question… “Doing” was what once made my heart sing, but not so much any longer. Looking at it in the opposite way, I found that it is not music, or “doing” anything else, that makes my heart sing now, but rather, it is my heart singing that makes music and all these other things! What I am no longer interested in doing physically, comes easy in the holographic universe, where believing is seeing, rather than the other way around. Elder-hood is all about “being” from who I am, not from what I know, or can even do. My guiding question has become: “what is created in the world when I let my heart sing?” And THAT has the potential to keep me occupied for the next 50 years.