Workshops are experiential, flexible, and suitable for all ages. They can run anywhere from four hours to an entire weekend. Almost everything can be adapted to be shorter for festivals and conventions, so let’s talk it over.
HeartSong: Building Communities of Practice
Whether you’re in a small church with limited resources, or in a larger place looking for a way to help your community find and/or build its collective voice, learn to play together, say yes to the Spirit, and be transformed, HeartSong is the workshop that will enable you to deepen your community of practice, through the shared creation of sound and silence. We will listen deeply to the spirit within, reclaim the joy of group learning by rote, utilize repetition, and engage our oft ignored ability to harmonize on the spot.
With simple chants and global songs, we’ll have a day of transformation and deep fun. Sing your way to your sweetest identity, individually and collectively, each person open to sharing more of who they are becoming and confident that the spiritual work they do to become their best selves will be honored and be integrated into the larger community. There will be singing, drumming, movement, and group improvisation (Yes You Can!), – all of which will leave your community with more tools to invite, encourage, and include absolutely everyone.
Sound as Prayer: A Not-So-Quiet Day of Spiritual Exercises Using Sound and Shared Silence
The voice is nature’s most perfect instrument; other instruments have been trying to replicate its magnetism since the dawn of time. Our voices reveal things about us before we realize them ourselves. The voice is a barometer: it measures the atmospheric pressure of our emotions. Voices can betray energy level – picture a child before bed, hoarsely crying, “I’m NOT tired!” Our voices disclose attitude: honest or dishonest, sincere or insincere – how often are the words “Oh, I’d love to, but …” belied by the feeling in the voice (“No way in hell!”). When we dream about our greatest dreams or suffer our biggest hurts, they are present in our voices. The voice you’ve been given is a part of your gift to the world and is unique in the universe. Knowing yourself can put you on the fast track to a healthy inner life.
In this popular workshop we will re-discover God with and in our voices; listen deeply and experience the ways sound touches spirit; explore sacred chant to heal ourselves and the world, learning how sound can enhance well-being; reflect on sounds that open (and close) our hearts. All are welcome at this day of humming, toning, singing, deep listening, and seriously fun prayer. If you can hum, you can come. Learn how your voice lives in your body, how to use it to generate health and healing, and how to let it help you bring your best self to all you do. Listen to yourself for a change.
Practicing Presence: Skills for Life and Singing
How can we be God for one another? We begin by finding and nurturing God in us. In this workshop we will learn to use chants as icons (from the Greek eikon, meaning “likeness, image”) of divine presence. We will tease her and coax her out from her hiding places. She will leap out and surprise us when we least expect it. We will find places of comfort and repose, and also begin to negotiate the places where we may not be very comfortable at all!
When we show up as our authentic selves, and encourage one another, channels of grace and play open and co-creation and possibility walk into the room and our hearts. When we make time to reflect on our lives as an image of divine presence, we make more love. We become that love insofar as we join with others in attending to the sense of how we sing what we sing (and for whom we sing it) reflecting on the things we tell ourselves and others, and learning to make our lives a continual offering. This is the way of peace and freedom (and laughter, and improvisation). Warning: You may have epiphanies in the context of group learning, and transformation and fun are highly likely to occur.
The Sacred Art of Chant Retreat/Workshop/Quiet Day
The purpose of our time together will be both to reflect at length on the nature of sound as prayer (In the beginning was the sound) and to discern new ways to open our hearts. We will create a sound community in which we will investigate the ways sacred sound nurtures our spirit; learn sound spiritual exercises and mantras to enhance our well-being in a unique way; and experience God with and in our voices. There will be periods of deep listening and silence (being still and knowing that God is God and we are not), walking meditation, writing, and lots of singing.
We will learn how sound enhances mental and physical well-being through working (and playing!) with our bodies’ energy centers, the chakras; and learn simple and powerful sound prayers and mantras from many traditions to incorporate into our prayer lives. If you think it’s time to be intentional about growing in compassion and love, you’re in the right place! If you pray with a portable instrument, please bring it.
Open Your Mind, Open Your Heart
Explore practices of humming, toning and sacred chanting. As musical beings, we benefit from regular practices that support us and keep us clear in the work that we do. An intentional practice will not only open up your singing voice, it will also help to ground and connect you to your spiritual center. Whether you are a singer, instrumentalist, health care professional, priest, teacher, therapist, body worker, or hospice worker, the more you know yourself (and your own vibration) and connect to who you are in your heart, the more effective you are at staying grounded and bringing your wholeness into any situation. These practices can support you in doing this. They are also good for your health: stress is reduced, endorphins are released, circulation improves, and clarity and focus are sharpened.
In addition to working with humming and toning we will chant seed sounds that address the different chakras. We will be chanting a number of mantras from various spiritual traditions; noticing how they affect us physically, mentally and spiritually, and exploring ways to incorporate them into our daily life. We will also be doing some free improvisations which will emphasize where the music is taking us and call attention to the ways we can listen intuitively to each other. This workshop is especially suitable for those who use their voices in their work, who would like to increase their comfort level and use them more effectively. Open Your Mind, Open Your Heart is often co-facilitated with Ruth Cunningham (Anonymous 4, HARC) and is an amazing day! Let me know if this opportunity interests you and we can plan accordingly.