I’ve always loved rainy days. Growing up in Arizona, where the sun nearly always shines, days where my mom didn’t tell me to go out to play were few and far between. I coveted them, those dark cozy times when the water-conserving coating from the creosote bushes would be released fragrantly into the unusually humid air. I would sit in an armchair in my living room, floor-to-ceiling glass filled up with the Saguaro-dotted green foothills and the purple-hued Santa Catalina Mountains beyond, and I’d read, stopping occasionally to sip from my icy Coke with a fresh lemon wedge, or to pop a Cheese Nip in my mouth.
I went places in those books, far away from my desert home. So many writers wrote about the East Coast, about New England and…New York.
Here I am, so many decades later, on the first day of fall, rain pelting the glass that opens onto the Indian Head range of New York’s Catskill Mountains, the smell of lavender oil I use for my Sacred Bloom Sound Baths filling my nostrils. Nostalgia along with excitement for now, and later, washes over me.
Life seems a strange continuum, intentional and unintentional circumstances conspiring to create one’s ‘reality,’ if there is such a thing.
I happened upon this strange California hippie house three years ago while on a random drive to find…I wasn’t sure what. I wanted to find something, something familiar, something new, something to give me a good feeling outside of the crazy Brooklyn life I had created for myself and my family. My oldest son had left for college, the younger was beginning the search for his own next step, and I took off in the car on a solo discovery mission.
I was on my way to check out Hunter Mountain ski area, where I’d never been, when an auto show derailed me onto a strange windy mountain road. I reversed when I passed the For Sale sign, struck by the dilapidated wood structure with the odd angled windows jutting out over a front atrium. I didn’t know until later that it was built in 1985 based on the design of a Lake Tahoe passive solar house, but it had given me the feeling of the old cozy California cabins I’d coveted on summer vacations in the 70s. I could almost smell the patchouli.
I could do my thing here, I thought. Make art, and play music, plant flowers like my Mom had, I could throw fun parties where the neighbors might not complain about noise after 10 o’clock. I could do those wellness/creativity-building retreats I've been wanting to do!
It was totally run down, with rusted out old Jeeps sitting forlornly amidst the litter, and I fell madly passionately in love.
I sit here in that atrium, rain dripping in from those old angled windows. The price had been right, and we gutted it to make it modern and bright. The garage has been converted to a place for my art supplies and a ping pong table for when the boys and their friends visit, a crystal bowl bought in Woodstock sits on the countertop, and we have indeed had some super fun parties. And those retreats...dates TBD!
This week, I am up on the mountain offering my new meditative sound bath to corporate groups at Scribner’s Catskill Lodge. I am filling the roller bottles I bought hurriedly in the early days of the pandemic with lavender essential oil (the harmony herb) to put in little pouches along with a rose quartz stone (the harmony stone) and little tiny plastic sword. When I wave the sword and tell people, “it’s to fight all your battles…” they laugh, even at the homeless shelters where a sense of humor about one’s situation can be hard to muster.
It is a funny road that has brought me here, to now. Music has played such a large part, like a siren song, luring me along to the finale.
It is often hard to figure how to feel good and well. I talk about it when I do my sound bath, how we need to pay close attention to our minds and bodies to be able to read the signs and signals they are sending, to listen and determine what we need. We are strange vibrational beings, and sound can help slosh things around so that we might feel more keenly how we feel, we might recognize something familiar and safe, something that feels oddly for sure might resonate.
I am grateful for all the people along my path, grateful for the guidance of mountains and forests filled with oxygen-providing trees. I am grateful this week for the lovely people of CAMBA for allowing me to work with their shelter residents to see how drums and bells and bowls might help; for the generous ladies of WeeBloom (pictured at right) for trusting me to inspire them forward in their mindfulness practices for little ones; and for Scribner’s, who has brought me in to relax and rejuvenate a variety of companies’ executive teams, most recently the very engaged global group from biopharma company Atai Life Sciences, who are developing treatments for mental health.
This beautiful week will culminate with An Evening of Musical Play event this Saturday, September 24th, at El Barrio’s Artspace in East Harlem for The Jeptha Group. Founded by Jason Naradzay, an alumni of the Musicambia and Carnegie Hall Musical Connections programs at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, Jeptha helps bring music instruction and musical instruments to the mentally ill inside prisons.
The event will honor the incredibly inspirational founder of Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections program, Manuel Bagorro, and features an interactive musical master class and performance by guitarist Jan Esbra, percussionist Dani Markham and saxophonist Dan Elbert. I will also be offering a Sacred Bloom Sound Bath. Yummy snacks will be donated by Cheryl's Global Soul in Brooklyn. Cash bar for wine and beer. Suggested donation is $50, but everyone is welcome regardless of the donation they are able to contribute. Buy tickets/donate here:
or pay what you want at the door via cash or PayPal.
I have told you a story today about me, and where I’ve been, where I am, and what I’m doing…I want to hear your stories! I believe it is a crucial part of understanding ourselves and moving forward to share our stories with one another. To that end, I am beginning a new six-week writing workshop series called Drawing on Life on Wednesdays beginning October 19th, on Zoom (or in person if you are local to Brooklyn.) Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
I am eager to work with you for private or group sessions. May this new season usher in beautiful things for you, including deep listening to yourself and others. To book, text me at 917/974-6166!!