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Easing the Journey Through Shadow & Light

  • Dawn

Let There Be Songs

Anti-Anxiety Tool of the Week: Hum With Someone.

Humming by yourself can be a lovely anti-anxiety gift. And humming with someone else can be a wonderful way to connect with an individual, or a group, and also reduce anxiety. You don't need to try to coordinate the notes. Simply hum peacefully, keep humming and see what happens. Being close and/or touching while you hum together can be very nice--you can feel as well as hear the humming and that can be deeply peaceful.

But you can also hum at a distance--standing at that infamous six feet. You could even experiment with hums at different distances--see how far apart you can get and still feel connected.

As with all zapchen exercises do a little, then rest--paying attention to how you feel--then do a little more, if you want.

Let There Be Songs

I am by no means a dead-head (as in The Grateful Dead). In fact, for a long long time, I confess, I assumed that they were kind of hippie-dippie airheads lost in drug fa-la-la-land, with nothing meaningful to say. Which might come as a surprise to those of you who knew me in high school, since back then some people might have described me that same way. And I retain vestiges of hippiedom to this day.

But alas, I am not free of the very human failing of prejudice--pre-judging someone or some group before I really know what the heck I am talking or even thinking about. And then getting stuck in the prejudice. So, although some of what I thought was true--they were residents of hippiedom, they did do drugs sometimes--I never really listened to the words for any Dead songs. True statement. Never listened to or looked at the words, fool that I was. How embarrassing.

Until Lawrence came along. Though he focuses the majority of his listening and learning on classical music and on the classic period of jazz, he has much more eclectic musical tastes than I do. He introduced me to a Grateful Dead album a few years ago, but I had forgotten how much I loved some of the songs.

Until he brought out that same CD yesterday. And--oh my. There is so much there. (And yes, we are still using CDs!)

As Zora Neale Hurston said, "All clumps of people turn out to be individuals on close inspection." (Close inspection, as well as close proximity and connection, being very fine antidotes to prejudice.)

As a writer (and occasional songwriter), the first two stanzas of one of the Dead's most popular songs, Ripple, particularly struck me.

If my words did glow with the

gold of sunshine And my tunes were played on

the harp unstrung Would you hear my voice

come through the music? Would you hold it near as it

were your own?

It's a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken Perhaps they're better left unsung I don't know, don't really care Let there be songs to fill the air.

I love the unexpected words or combinations of words, and the paradoxical images--two of the hallmarks of poetry for me. And wouldn't it be fine if others held my writing "near, as it were [their] own"?

And I definitely relate to the wonderings: is this song original or just a copy? Is there any true gold here? I think there is. I dearly hope there is. What is it I want to say, anyway? Maybe I should forget the whole thing?

I expect most writers feel that way, at least some of the time.

But, oh, how I wish I could sing that "don't really care" line in the offhanded way they do. Because I do feel we need to let out all the songs and stories and poems, so we can "fill the air"--and our minds and hearts--with hope and beauty and playfulness. Instead, I care too much about what people think, so I balk, tremble, hesitate at getting my work out there.

Ah! But then there's more to this song...

Ripple in still water When there is no pebble tossed Nor wind to blow

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty If your cup is full, may it be again Let it be known there is a fountain That was not made by the hands of men.

Garcia and Hunter, the songwriters, don't hit us over the head with images, they simply offer beautiful reminders that there is something beyond what we can see or touch or hear.

That's how I want to fill the air--with beautiful reminders in my poems, my stories, my blogs, my songs.

And it's clear I need to remember...I am not doing this alone.

So, dear ones, this is my prayer for you this holiday season:

If your cup is empty, may it be full. If it is full, may it be filled again.

May ripples on still water offer you hope; may you drink at a fountain not made by human hands.

And may your songs fill the air.

Here's a YouTube link to the complete lyrics along with the music. It's all I could find that offered both. The art is kind of hokey but you can ignore it if you want.

Until next time,


Photo credits:

Girls, Gemma Chua Tan, unSplash

Gerry Garcia, dead dot net

Golden field, Zwaddi, unSplash

Not made with human hands, Christopher Czermak, unSplash

Boy, piano, Kelly Sikkerna, unSplash


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