Blog: The Truth About … Home Sweet Home

Blog: The Truth About … Home Sweet Home

November 1, 2013


Wow … I’ve realized something big, I think.

My personal life just got dragged through the gutter. Not my family … everything is okay there, but I just sold a house. A BIG house. An amazing work of art house. A beloved place of many years filled with love, laughter, friends and family. Big celebrations occurred there, dozens and dozens of concerts in the home and hundreds of ensemble rehearsals and private lessons, not to mention the music that was birthed and created there. Music reverberates throughout this house, the walls vibrate, the air vibrates and the neighbors are probably vibrating too! Every conceivable instrument has been played in this house. Besides all sizes of harps, my husband’s Baldwin Concert grand piano, cellos, violas, violins, lot’s and lot’s of flutes, basses, drums, all woodwinds, and even shakuhachi, bandoneon, vibraphone, all kinds of drums and percussion instruments and even singing bowls, bells, trombones, saxophones, French horns and trumpets. Then of course I can’t leave out the singers … soprano, alto, tenor and bass, singing art songs, classical and baroque, opera, pop and jazz. I mean, really, this house is so connected to the universe it’s floating!

So imagine, when I go to sell it, people come out of the atmosphere all wanting a piece of it somehow. We had many offers, too many signed purchase agreements, and much bad advice. Mean advice. So there was suddenly dis-chord, arguments and harsh words about us, our home and even about who we were as people. It got ugly. Not the pleasant harmony of music making that had been here for 22 years. How gut wrenching, disappointing and extremely upsetting.

Still, in the middle of all of that I tried to maintain two things, my personal practice of both harp and yoga, and my personal relationship with my husband. Both crucial when going through such angst-ridden days. Everyday, we asked ourselves, why. What happened, what did we do wrong? I still am not sure, but one lesson learned is a lesson of the heart. We did not follow our hearts, we did not follow what we felt to be our truth. We allowed ourselves to be swayed and talked into things by others, that at a gut level we knew weren’t right. We weren’t sure of ourselves, our path and so thought what we were doing was the correct thing, only to find out in almost every case, it was wrong. What we had felt, we did not follow.

But this is hard to do when emotions are high and one has attachments. Exactly the thing yoga tells us to avoid. So the message of the heart is lost and difficult to hear. The vibrations are distant and sometimes not there at all. But practicing and teaching everyday, both harp and yoga kept me on track. Having to dig deep to continue to teach daily while all around was chaos allowed me to find the ultimate message of the heart. When all else falls away, there is only one message, one truth. It is me … I am the truth. It resides within me and I can access it through experience and seeking. Life itself is the practice. I actually did nothing wrong in this situation … it was still me doing the best that I knew how and who knows, without the many teachings of yoga and the depth of my musical practice during this time, it might have been a lot worse.

And the best part of all of this … ?

I get to walk away from all the trappings a big beautiful home brings with it … the attachments of things, of owning stuff, and maintaining stuff … as I move to a small apartment in another beautiful neighborhood with nature all around me.

And the real truth? The big realization? It’s that the music goes with me, is still in me and will vibrate as me forever …

Yoga Class Schedule

Yoga Class Schedule

Basic Yoga Class: Tuesdays, 7:45–8:45 p.m.

Yoga Planet
3062 Walton Blvd.
Rochester Hills, MI 48309

I am now on the teaching staff of Yoga Planet in Rochester Hills. More Information: www.yogaplanetstudio.com


Slow Flow 2: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 6:30 a.m.
Ashtanga Yoga: Fridays, 7:30 a.m.
Fit For Life Yoga: Fridays, 9:00–10:15 a.m.

Oakland University Recreation Center
2200 N. Squirrel Road
Rochester, MI 48309

I teach this schedule at the Oakland University Recreation Center which is open to the greater community. More Information:
www.oakland.edu


Blog: Start something really big in 2013

Blog: Start something really big in 2013

January 12, 2013


“Start a huge, foolish project, like Noah … ” —Rumi


Start something really big in 2013 and go for it 100%.

When there are no new beginnings in our lives, we tend to keep our eyes glued to the tiny details that surround us and easily forget the bigger intentions. I have never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions. In a sense, they are too limiting right out of the gate heading into a new year. They can be too simple, or nebulous and easily forgotten or discarded, because they were perhaps unfulfilling, uncertain, or impossible to maintain.

I’ve been “rumi – nating” about intention as we embrace a new year. It’s not uncommon to think about what we intend to do with the rest of the year as it yawns open before us. And intention feels different than a resolution. I was wondering how to incorporate intention into my daily harp and mat practice. I wanted new intentions to really sync-up to the intentions already planted in my practices so that real change could happen.

Sankalpa

Intention or resolution is sankalpa in Sanskrit. Sankalpa also can be, will or a goal. I always like to check out these meanings in relation to yoga. There is always a greater meaning in this ancient language. Anyway, as I was thinking, studying, discussing, it became clearer that sankalpa could be “intention,” but that in itself was a limited understanding of the experience of sankalpa. As I first understood it, sankalpa, as an intention on the mat might be; staying mindful of your breath, but it also is, staying mindful of the breath and the breath in body alignment. But not limited to that, so it’s also, breath, alignment, energy flow, and back to the breath. Then it might expand to breath, alignment, energy, and effortlessness and then comes back to breath again. You see, it means one thing and all things. It’s the energy of intention and/or resolution. It’s the meaning behind the intention. Not just the “doing” of the intention. It is the energy of all small intentions morphing into a big universal intention. If we take it as resolution, then it’s many ideas resolving into one big idea. (In a piece of music, it’s the resolution of all notes to the final tonic).

Let’s look at this again. When an intention is made, there is energy created to sustain that intention daily, a transformation begins as the intentional energy is manifested again and again. Deeper consciousness can grow and we open to our energy of change with this daily experience.

I have a habit of doing big projects.

I imagine big outcomes and dream big dreams, working very hard and concentrating diligently. Often it is to the point of foolishness. But over time, they blossom, not necessarily the way I had imagined or wanted them to though, and I am always a little surprised when my big project happens, but always, I have grown immeasurably in the entire process.

I think intention is this. It’s not limited to just a small detail of practice (although that’s a start) but maybe having your eye always on the donut and not too much the hole. We need small goals to help ourselves along the way, but remembering that the experience is energy and energy that we create with our resolutions again and again. The mind/body stuff begins to respond in ways we don’t even know or understand to this intention. To get to a point where we can actually speak through our instruments with freedom and clarity, and to move through our experience of life with grace and compassion is to stand in a higher sankalpa, the daily intention of opening to that intention. To really make change in our lives, our communities and our world, is to have a big project in mind, and go with it … like Noah.


Blog: The Month of Light

Blog: The Month of Light

December 2012

The Month of Light

For me the month of December is a month of celebrating light.

Really, you ask? In the northern hemisphere of the planet, the month of December is the darkest month. The days are their shortest all year, and the winter solstice occurs late in December, this year it’s on the 21st. So how can this dark month be light-filled? The dark days in December are a reminder of light. We can celebrate that light is coming and that we have passed through the deepest, darkest cycle of the planet’s shift away from light. It is a reminder of the promise of light. There is no doubt that the sun will reappear. All the various religious practices that occur during the dark days of November/December have deep in their rituals and myths a celebration of light, the coming of light, and the promise of the coming of light.

This past week I taught a master class with all of my harp students. I had been noticing that as the majority of my class is maturing, going into their teens or early 20’s, they are struggling with nerves, anxieties, tensions, apprehensions about playing, that they didn’t have before. (Probably about growing up in general as well). With the very first student who performed, it was clear to me that it was time to address this issue openly and with all of them. They were ready. As a start, I worked with them to help them discover what they were thinking and physically doing just before they began to play. It’s the old “fight or flight” response. There were two very basic ways in which to begin to play: exhale, … then—inhale.

In my practice and study of Anusara yoga, there are 5 Universal Principals of Alignment that are applied to the body/mind as it moves through postures in space. The very first principal is “Open to Grace.” “Grace” can mean whatever you need it to mean for you. God, a Higher Power, a Universal Energy, light, possibility, relaxing… and all of those things. It’s a softening to that which is about to manifest. An opening and acknowledgement of something that is universally within you. It can sometimes be just a physical action that you may not even be aware that you are doing. For instance, exhaling.

Slow it Down.

When an athlete is about to perform his or her task they sometimes back away from it.

Slowing down time. They take a breath and step out of the batters box for a minute, say, or relax shoulders before the golf swing, or even in a fast paced game like hockey, feel the puck on the stick, then shoot. Mentally and physically, they are allowing the body to open, soften, letting it feel what it’s going to do before it does what it has been trained to do. When we’re about to perform, we can do the same thing. (After you have checked and re-checked that the harp pedals are correctly set and your bench height is right).

Thinking only within that moment, pausing, relaxing the fingers on the strings, the arms, the shoulders and jaw, sort of a physical softening response to the exhale…or in other words, Opening to Grace. Slowing down the moments with breath. Letting the body feel the sensations of how it’s going to produce the music, the energy, the colors. We can even revel in that moment just before action begins. Realizing with joy and light that we can even have this experience of playing in this moment, and then doing so. What gifts we have! What light is about to be manifested! Remembering, too, that you are supported by everyone listening, by the composer who wrote the piece and by this promise of light. You are not going it alone. Every single student had a different performance experience when first they applied this simple principal of softening and opening only to what was just happening in that moment of beginning.

And speaking of light … back to my December. December is “Opening to Grace,” on a grand universal stage. It is the exhale. It is the softening. It’s the knowing that the inhale is coming and that the promise of light is just around the corner. December is a month of holidays, joy, food, celebration and spiritual renewal. On December 22, the days will begin to get longer and the promise is fulfilled. Now take the inhale and begin.

Always, Always Love.

Blog: Happy November!

Blog: Happy November!

November 2012

Lot’s happening in November.

A Presidential election, Thanksgiving, the Holiday harp gig extravaganza lurking around the corner at the end of the month and cold and cold and cold and dark and dark and dark! And I can’t wait! Nothing like being immersed in one’s duty to the nation, each other and one’s self! Each November event gives us an opportunity to churn the soil, to plant seeds in ourselves and nurture the dark, quiet moments inside. It’s a great time to practice, both music and yoga, to study, to read and to contemplate.

I find myself reflecting on a yogic principal called dharma this fall. It’s a principal that comes up again and again, both in classes and in texts and it’s a principal that is deeply embedded, in slightly different forms, in all our cultures and religions. It’s a Sanskrit word that means a moral, or regulatory order of the universe. It’s that which supports the natural laws of the universe. Also in yogic usage, it implies how one performs one’s duty and maintains harmony within one’s community. It’s a choice, or freedom that aligns one’s attitudes and behaviors. It’s a responsibility you have to life and by aligning yourself to your highest duty you become stronger and healthier, enhancing your community, family and self.

Dharma is civic duty, too.

One of our biggest duties and freedoms as citizens is to vote. Feeling a part of a community is essential to our nature of connecting to each other as human beings. Our dharma as members of society is to uphold the moral and civic laws of our society, to teach these ethics and orders to our children, and to enhance the beauty and safety of the places in which we live. Voting is a way of connecting to one’s dharma, one’s truth and aligning to a common good. By voting you participate in the betterment of your established community.

In this same way we can enjoy our common Thanksgiving holiday as a nation. Going through the rituals of the holiday in a mindful and dharmic way we are more aware of life’s abundance and the celebration that surrounds our experience of the ritual. It can take on even deeper meanings when we work in our communities to eradicate hunger and homelessness. There’s a great energy when we celebrate a ritual in which the entire nation takes part.

Embracing our dharma in these ways make sense.
But what about when we are doing our work as harpists?

Each one of us plays the harp following a unique dharma, following our own right way. In taking these individual paths, we uphold the whole of the beauty that is our instrument, and recognize our individuality makes it so. When we are aware that our playing affects all that are listening in a ‘right’ way, lifting the community of listeners to a higher consciousness, the everyday gig can turn into a ritual of deeper meaning, we are strengthened by our life’s purpose, our dharma. Now we can really understand what our gifts bring to the holiday season. Living our talents, they take on an important role, even at the holiday office party. This also supports the entire community of harpists, each upholding the practices that maintain the highest, the common good, and that sustain the art.

Coming into November, we can look forward to what the fall and winter brings us. Taking time to nurture ourselves, we can be healthy, peaceful and surrounded in light, even in the cold dark days of November. Practice deeply, completely, fully, thoughtfully and follow your own dharma.

Always, Always, Love.

Blog: Creative Harp Collective International 2012 Review

Blog: Creative Harp Collective International 2012 Review

October 2012

Just a few notes about the first annual Creative Harp Collective International 2012, in Tobermory, Canada, that I birthed and created this past July with my harp buddy, Anita Leschied.

The Collective brought a group of amazing women together for three days in July to explore the harp in all of its creative aspects. The mix of ages was a delight and an added learning bonus for all as we shared ideas from all levels of harp and life experiences. There were three days of workshops: everything from harp basics to harp therapy, improvisation, yoga, music theory, technique, a drumming and rhythm class, meditation and at the end, an awesome concert! All Collective members performed in ensembles, duo or solo to a packed Tobermory United Methodist Church. The Tobermory Drum Circle even performed with us. It was an amazing evening.

Christa Grix was our guest performer this year. She was incredible. The audience loved her and our church in the woods was packed. Plus, after spending time learning about improvisation and being creative at the harp, Christa was the top icing as she jazzed her way through one improv after another, keeping the rhythm popping and the beautiful melodies flowing.

I felt so thrilled that the Collective came together as I had dreamed. It even took on a beautiful life of its own. Anita was a true inspiration to us all as she shared her wisdom of harp in therapeutic uses.  She discussed the use of modes and the ancient practices of healing with musical vibration. How amazing to have my traditional trained eyes opened to this kind of healing therapy from an instrument that I have been playing all of my life. It clearly is time …


Creative Harp Collective International 2013
July 16 – 20, 2013, Tobermory, Ontario, Canada.

Reboot your music, body and spirit. The premier summer program for every harpist. Join just for the 2nd Annual Creative Harp Collective International 2013 Harp Workshop. Event Details >


Continued Coverage and Follow-up to “The Core Issue” article by Kerstin Allvin published in the Harp Column September/October 2012 Issue

Continued Coverage and Follow-up to “The Core Issue” article by Kerstin Allvin published in the Harp Column September/October 2012 Issue

September 2012

I’m posting this as a follow-up to my article in the September/October 2012 issue of The Harp Column called “The Core Issue.” You can check it out at www.harpcolumn.com, but be sure to come back here for more information.


Some additional thoughts on core as related to harp health and harpists well-being:

As you begin to work with stretching and strengthening, pay attention to where things might be tight or where you have sensation. Noticing pain is very important to not hurting yourself. Only go where your body needs to be and not where your head is telling you to be. As always, do not do any exercise or stretch if you have a prior injury or contraindication without consulting your doctor.

Since the core is so crucial to your ability to perform, paying attention to how you are sitting is the first step to re-aligning your body center and becoming a more conscious player. Sitting at the correct height FOR YOU can be the single most important thing you do at the harp besides breathing and opening. I can elaborate on this here. You can experiment with height keeping these small guidelines in mind.

If you sit too low, the harp weight on your shoulder increases and more of that weight goes into the right side of the neck or through your shoulder into your mid-back and finally low back. It may also force you to lift your shoulders higher to reach the strings, or require your right hand and elbow to reach awkwardly over your shoulder and head to play the upper strings. You may also experience pinching in the hip-flexors (the muscles in front of the hip) and groin as your knees become higher than your hips. You may notice this especially when you stand up. This may make it more difficult to pedal as well, as the quads (thighs) can’t help you move your lower legs and feet. There’s too much weight in your heels.

The benefits to sitting lower are more connection of the core body into the seat which can support your weight evenly, less strain on the head and neck as it can sit straight on your spine without shifting forward in order to see the strings.

If you sit too high, the head and neck must “look down” at the strings thus throwing the head forward and/or straightening the back of the neck and taking the natural curve out of the neck. You’re farther away from the bass wires and the weight of the base of the harp can take the harp forward from you as you play forcing you to continually hold it against you with your fingers and wrists as you play.

The benefits to sitting higher are, there is overall much less weight on the core of the body and you can be freer to move and breathe. The arms are at shoulder height or lower for the best strength and energy to run from your core to your fingers. And you can dance on the pedals as the entire leg energy is free to flow and move.

Perhaps you have noticed that if you sit at different heights, the harp may either come in close to the right side of the neck, if too low, or shift off toward the outside of the collar bones to the front of the arm, if too high. It also may sit high on the collarbone or low into the upper ribs. Somewhere in the middle of all this is the best. Wood on bone is not such a great idea, and pressure on the front of the arm bone can cause inflammation and connective tissue problems. I have to watch my students carefully as they tend to want to sit under the harp. Harp should come to you.

Finding a good height for you is taking the time to experiment and discover your best fit at the instrument, allowing you to perform in complete balance and symbiotic relationship with your harp.

Here are some other core strengthening exercises:

Supported forward folds
Stand facing a chair or bench with feet hip width apart, unlock the knees. Inhale and as you exhale hinge at the hips placing your hands on the support. Support the low back with a gentle lift of the low belly. Lead with your heart and not with your chin, keeping head in line with the spine. You can hold the posture for a number of complete breaths then press into the floor with the legs and keeping the knees unlocked, place your hands on your hips and come up to standing. Gradually with practice, you can lower your support, eventually placing your fingertips on the ground always staying supported through the legs and knees unlocked.

Side Bends
Standing with feet hip width apart, inhale and circle arms overhead. Keep hips pointing forward equally above knees and ankles and gently lift the belly. Side bend to right, hold, then left and hold, always breathing fully as you hold each side for several breaths. Repeat.

Back bends
While practicing side-bending above, take a moment to do a gentle backbend with arms over head. Keep shoulder blades on the back and shoulders away from your ears. Support with the low belly by drawing it in and softly lift your gaze to the ceiling. Keep feet planted, knees unlocked and hips even. Always be mindful of your stopping point, where breathing becomes difficult and uneven.

Sit-ups
Yes, I said sit-ups. A healthy core needs a healthy abdomen. Lying on your back, bend knees and align them with your hips. You can use a chair or low bed under your knees, but keep calves parallel to the floor. Keep the feet and shins active by flexing your feet so toes are pointing up. Interlocking your fingers behind your head and gaze to the ceiling, lift using your abdominal muscles. Do not use your head and hands to lift your torso. By keeping the spine straight and not lifting from the head, you may only come a few inches off the floor. These are working deep muscles here, so you may find that you don’t need that many repetitions. Try to avoid lifting with the chin and neck.

Blog: I’ve got peace on my mind

Blog: I’ve got peace on my mind

July 2012

I’ve got peace on my mind.

I woke up with the opening melody and lyrics going through my head to the song “Age of Aquarius.” What was I dreaming about? Wish I could remember!

When the Moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then Peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.

I am thrilled to have attended the 12th World Nobel Peace Summit in Chicago a few weeks ago, the first time ever that this event was hosted in North America.

I am now peace-filled, vibed out, and bursting with nonviolent consciousness-energy. I was invited at the last minute to go and jumped at the once in a lifetime chance to attend this amazing gathering of world leaders discussing PEACE! The three-day event culminated with a presentation including His Holiness the Dali Lama, President Mikhail Gorbachev, Sean Penn, Professor Muhammad Yunus, Professor Jody Williams and Dr. Shirin Ebadi. Attending a Peace Summit is uplifting by it’s very nature. Hundreds of individuals thinking and speaking peace in one place. How can a space like that not be vibrating peace? Music vibrates peace in this way.

Being a creative artist gives one an opportunity to create a moment of peace for anyone listening. Of course you can create chaos as well, but the ability to draw an emotional response from a listener and mold an environment for this response is why everyone listens to music. I like having this power available to me as a musician. It’s so amazingly fulfilling to know that the sounds you are creating can invoke such high-powered human emotional responses not only in yourself but also in others.

What would the world be like if we all listened daily to music inspired by peace?  What does peace sound like?

It just might take us all down a notch or two. What the mind is thinking about all the time and what one is doing with one’s daily activities is who you are. If you have a thought, the body has to make a chemical response to that thought. Scientist Candace Pert discusses this in depth in her amazing book, “Molecules of Emotion.” So if you are surrounded by negativity, and think mean thoughts all the time, then the ability of the brain to understand and know peace is very limited. Or to know tolerance. Or to know compassion. Or to know love. So in order to live in peace, we must think and speak in peace. It becomes a daily language and part of the universal ideas of peace. It’s powerful because if you are thinking and acting in peace, then others may see it or sense it in you and begin to realize the capacity for peace in themselves, just like they can respond to the music of peace. Words are the music of speech.  Music and the language of peace don’t have to be “new agey” either, or ever out dated. I heard the Fifth Dimension was pretty cool in 1969 when they recorded “Age of Aquarius.”(At least that’s what I am told, I was too young!)

What does this have to do with harp playing? Plenty.

There is no room in life to ever play anything that does not resonate with you or to ever play just to “get it over with.” Every time you sit down to play, has to be the next best experience of life. To illuminate your audience and lift them up you have to set your intention to do just that. And in so doing you will illuminate and up lift yourself as well. There are times you have to just learn the notes and dig in to the work of learning. But when you perform, be power filled by your intensions.

This July I am embarking on a life-long dream of presenting a music workshop, festival and retreat all in one. I have called it The Creative Harp Collective International and it takes place in Tobermory, Ontario, Canada.

It’s for all ages and all levels of musicians because we are all creative artists. My desire is to create a space that stimulates creativity, creative thinking, creative performance, composition and improvisation and at the same time provide an environment of peace and tranquility, stillness and yet, energy.

For awhile, as this venture was unfolding, I didn’t have any idea as to what type of theme could unify all the events, but after the Summit it’s clear to me that to be the best creative artist and thus, a person engaged on this planet, peace has to be on our minds. One must ALLOW peace to enter the human experience and nurture it there. Then, the business of uniting each other in a global peace consciousness is achieved and can be sustained.

Towards the end of the final presentation of the Nobel Peace Summit titled “World Peace and Nonviolence: Never Give Up,” His Holiness the Dali Lama, was sitting next to His Excellency Mikhail Gorbachev. They were actually leaning against each other when His Holiness was asked:  “How can we not give up in our quest for nonviolence, compassion, human rights and tolerance when all around us is the opposite?” The Dali Lama placed his finger alongside President Gorbachev’s temple and replied, “It’s all in the human mind. We must change the way we think.”

May all your planets line up, your love steer the stars and may this new age dawn with the dialogue of peace.

Always, always, Love.


The Creative Harp Collective International
Tobermory, Ontario, Canada

For Pedal and Lever Harpist, For All Ages, For All Things Harp, and For People that Play, Enjoy, and Listen to the Harp. Click here to learn more information.


Blog: Something Old + Something Old = Something New

Blog: Something Old + Something Old = Something New

May 1, 2012

Inventive Math

I have been practicing something really old and I have been practicing something else really old and together something new is emerging. It’s called the Creative Harp Collective International and takes place in Tobermory, Ontario, Canada. It’s an exciting adventure with my friend and colleague Anita Leschied from Windsor, Canada.

The first old thing is the harp itself.

The harp is an ancient instrument. It’s possible that it could be more than 5,000 years old. It gives me chills to even ponder it’s history! As soon as there was a bow and arrow for hunting, there was probably a harp that came from that invention. Clearly there’s a reason why this instrument has been used and recognized in ceremonies and healing practices, in salons and care facilities and in orchestras and chamber ensembles. There is something about the sound of the plucked string, the direct contact of the physical body to touch and move a medium into vibration that produces a mystical, magical response.

The second old thing is yoga.

Now that’s REALLY old too. The first known writings of civilization, the Hymns of the Vedas, contain the basis of Tantric (yogic) spiritual practices and the healing arts of Ayurvedic Medicine from 4500 – 2500 BCE. The practice of yoga postures that we are familiar with in the west today are only about 150 years old. We are just beginning to experience the life affirming practice of yoga in all its variations.

Three Days.

For three days these two seemingly disconnected forces will merge into all things harp. Together, Anita and I will give attendees a new prospective on the instrument, changing how you think about playing, what motivates the practice, how to bring out the best creative aspect of yourself, the connection to technique and the connection to Self.

Nurture and Connect

I am thinking of this adventure as appealing to all harpists. It’s for youths, adults, kids. It’s for experienced performers, teachers, and those that have recognized or would like to experience the healing benefits of the harp. It’s for pedal harpists and lever harpists and it’s for beginners that have never played and always wanted to play. Advanced harpists with or without physical problems could use this experience in the collective as a way to improve their performance level, concentration, technical skills and prevent the physical body from injury. In other words … to nurture the body-mind connection. So to this end, you can chose what classes you want to attend. You can go to a harp therapeutic session, or attend a technique and performance class. Perhaps theory and improve is intriguing to you or yoga and creativity.


Definition of COLLECTIVE
1. Assembled into or viewed as a whole.
2. Of, relating to, characteristic of, or made by a number of people acting as a group: a collective decision.


Our musical experiences are enhanced by life experiences too, so we have added an excursion to the breath-taking islands of the Fathom Five National Park and plenty of time for reflection and practice, all with woods and water, sun and moon steps away. Our Collective will have evenings of harp music making featuring our special guest, World Renown Jazz harpist Christa Grix performing in an historic Anglican Church setting and a final concert of all our Collective participants. The sweet village of Tobermory offers good restaurants and galleries, pizza and shopping and people watching by the beautiful sailboats and yachts.

I’ve always wanted to have a place where harpists could practice and study in an inspired setting. Nurturing a kind of synthesis with the instrument and one’s surroundings. Getting back to that primordial practice if you will. The Creative Harp Collective is a place of considered learning, without competition, in a totally supported environment. Our musical journey in our lives can be enhanced and nurtured within ourselves so that we can fully express our music through ourselves, to others, being creative, joyful, healing, and having lot’s of fun.

Practicing love, always, always, love.


Click here for more information and join Anita and I, whether you play the harp or not, in Tobermory.


Blog: Stay The Course

Blog: Stay The Course

April 1, 2012

Sometimes it’s hard to keep practicing.

Whatever it is you’re practicing. In order to be proficient at something you have to do it daily and over and over again.

Artists practice the art everyday. Athletes practice their game everyday. Lawyers and Doctors open up a “practice.” This is so that the object of practice becomes habit forming. It’s done daily because then it enters your lifestyle, habits and even how you think of the world in which you “practice.” Only then will it become a part of you, a calling.

But it’s really difficult to become proficient at something. Usually the reason that there is a practice to begin with is because there is a desire already imbedded within somewhere. We start the journey with excitement and anticipation and even love. There’s a fullness realized, an immense power that propels the learning forward making it easy, productive and joyful again and again and again and again and then … brick wall number one! Followed by number two, three … ninety-three.

The moment our practice becomes one of results is the moment that the joy, love and anticipation begins to fade. There are other walls to scale too, like the wall that says “you can’t do this” or the most famous one that says, “what do you think you’re doing?” followed by, “who do you think you are?” This mind speak are forms of desiring a certain result. We want it perfect and we think that by being perfect great rewards will be bestowed on us. (This is another topic for another blog-post, more on that later…).

Stay the Course

So how to “Stay the Course” when all around you there are critics? (The critics are all you, and they’re everywhere). You take a break or a few breaths and then get up and practice again. This time remembering the goal or original purpose of the journey helps to re-focus the mind away from practicing for results. Connecting back into the source of your expressive power takes you more deeply into your practice. Place yourself into your circle of excellence and DO IT AGAIN. Each time the practice is repeated, there is a shifting of experience that happens somewhere in the body-mind. You will know that it’s right, that you are on your chosen course and you will get better at practicing your practice. It takes courage to keep placing yourself on the path of greater knowledge and excellence, and to keep climbing that new wall that’s placed in the pathway now and then.

Oh yeah, and stop thinking, just practice.

I love this quote from Stephen King. When he was asked how he could write such great literature again and again, he replied “Writing equals ass in chair.” It’s impossible to become proficient from the living room couch. I keep trying it but I only fall asleep. OK then. Ass on harp bench, ass on yoga mat, again and again and again.

Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

I wish you many hours of beautiful practice and always, always, love.

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