Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Year In Vignettes :: A Tribute to My Teachers [Blog Series Intro]

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As we all begin doing our 2012 recaps, I will likely get to the typical highlights at some point but what I really want to do is share with you some of my journey and the kind, generous, gracious teachers along the way who've shared their presence, their open hearts and their wisdom with me during this past year.


Many of you know that at the end of 2011, I lost my voice and it was pretty serious; actually, it was terrifying, and for a bit, looking to potentially cause a major shift in our lives.Ultimately, it was a physical manifestation of some deeper pain and life issues. So 2012 has been quite a journey of intense healing and intentional growth (as a human being and as a musician). I knew this year would be very much about rediscovering and redefining my voice - literally, musically, rhetorically. It has and I feel we've only just begun.

This is the stuff that makes up real life, so over the next few weeks, you can expect to see blog posts that will be personal vignettes of 2012 and tributes, with a heart full of gratitude, to my teachers. Above all, they've shown me that we truly never have to walk through the dark places alone or try to heal all on our own. They are gentle gardeners in the soul of my soul, bearing light and nourishment.

As always, my hope is that you might find some part of our story inspiring and that you might receive some good gift as you continue to travel with us on this adventure of both bliss and sweat. Thank you!



Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Cry for Peace :: It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

It doesn't happen to be my personal belief that those who've gone before us become angels, but yesterday, when I was practicing this song and working out an original chorus for it; I couldn't help but imagine the school children who died in the shooting in Connecticut. I couldn't help but envision them like angels singing to us a song of peace. They certainly showed to us our interconnectedness: what happens to one, matters to us all.

Perhaps they also drew out of us a song of peace that we all share, a deep cry within the flesh and bones and fibers and souls of each of us, a hope and a longing for true, lasting peace that transcends political opinions or anything material.

I believe this is what I witnessed when I saw everyone grieving, praying, trying to make sense of an unexplainable horror. I know I felt as though my gut was wrenched and my heart had sunken into my bowels. I wept...and longed for that kind of healing and whole, all-encompassing peace for grieving individuals and families, for the reconciliation of our nation and the whole earth.

May a song of such peace resonate deeply within us. May we live and move and have our being in tune to that song, in time to it's tempo. May that song permeate our thoughts, drip from our lips in the words we speak and may that song be shared through our open hands ready to embrace and serve and carry one another. May you and I BE Light, Love and some manner of Comfort to all suffering in violence.

A candle is lit for them.

Deep & True Peace to You and Yours.




Friday, December 14, 2012

My Neighbor's Christmas Lights :: Gifts of Memory Making

Every evening our neighbor across the way turns on her outdoor Christmas lights and her Christmas tree in the big picture window for just a couple hours, sometime after the sun has fully set and, I imagine, before they go to bed.


Some might see such a colorful display as frivolous commercialization or evidence of a meaningful holiday overrun by consumerism. You might even know someone who's put their lights up with more of a competitive spirit or obligatory spirit rather than a jovial, Christmas spirit. As with many things, the what doesn't seem to matter quite as much as the how or the why.

When I look out my window and I see her home aglow, (yeah, this gets cheesy for a second) my heart swells a little bit. I fell my facial muscles relax and my countenance open. I experience gratitude within myself because these lights are like a spotlight on a happy childhood memory. I remember getting all bundled up and my aunt and uncle taking me out in their pickup truck in snowy Down East Maine when I was still so small, I'd have to be lifted up onto one of their laps to help look for the houses with the most lights. I don't quite recall if we brought hot cocoa along, but it adds a nice aroma to the memory. 

To me, the lights represents a season in my childhood when I most experienced a sense of abundance even though we were materially poor and much of the rest of the year was often characterized more by fear and scarcity. These little lights symbolize Light in the darkness to me; light literally shining in the longer hours of the night as the windows of day become smaller until the winter solstice; and not just light, but festive and colorful lights; lights that tell stories. Some tell fairytales. Some are expressions of faith. And they remind me of my story, experiencing the gift of presence, of quality time and playfulness with loved ones -- of people who loved me as a smaller, more vulnerable version of myself and who still care about me and I, them.

Every child is a little person who is collecting such memories to carry into life. We all need these treasures to store away into our hearts and mind's eye. These are the gifts to cherish our whole lives and what a brilliant thing that I'll recall this gift of love every year for the whole month of December as long as the neighbor is putting up her luminous work of art all over her house and yard.

What's a memory of an immaterial gift given to you that continues to give your inner being nourishment and peace today? What symbols of the season remind you of this part of your story?


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tonight: Celebrating Voice + Community with Sample Night LIVE


Words can't express how glad and grateful I am this morning. It was almost exactly a year ago that I lost my voice and entered a turbulent, trying time of uncertainty and fear about my life as a singer, something I've been my entire life and I had good reason to wonder if this was all about to change. 

This time last year, I was "calling in sick" to the 4th annual Audience Favorites show for Sample Night LIVE, a show (the 5th annual) that I'm so delighted and honored to be a part of tonight! Thanks to the SNL audience for having me back!!

Friends, it's been quite a year and I keep thinking I should right a more extensive update for all of you relating some of the journey of healing as a whole human being, a journey of rediscovery and redefining my voice, a journey of even realizing more of who I am and how I need to live with a different 

rhythm that I was to be an artist and create and write and sing and ultimately share that with all of you. 

So, this morning, I'm celebrating recovery and healing and hope for the on-going journey. I celebrate all of you who have partnered with us this year and supported us in ways that have allowed me to heal and grow. You all know who you are and words can't say how much we're grateful for you, who you are, your generosity and graciousness in our lives.

If you're able to come out tonight to celebrate with us at the History Theater in St. Paul, check out the rest of the Sample Night LIVE line-up (all audience favorites from the previous monthly shows of 2012). Get info and buy tickets here:

Also, I just posted more photos on my Facebook Music Page along with the Sample Night LIVE Event Page/Invite.

Cheers! Peace and Gratitude from my heart.