Our spring recording sessions began on a recent sunny afternoon with smudging – the Native American ritual of burning medicine plants for purification and cleansing – and a prayer asking the Great Spirit to sing through us. We met in that sacred dimension where time and space are limitless, where energy is infinite, where sadness and suffering are transformed into joyful communion. Our recording sessions began.
Making music together with Allison and the Community Gardeners, I felt moved by the gifts of the Spirit given to me by my parents, teachers, and ancestors, and inspired by friends who have developed their musical gifts well beyond my own.
As we met in this place of music we sailed through several songs together, telling stories and laughing in between. Recording is intense, fun work. For me it is like a combination of therapy and spiritual retreat in the way that it brings attention and awareness to details within songs that may otherwise go unnoticed. Recording has taught me that engaging in and trusting the creative process is just as important as the end product.
Making an album is a journey best experienced when shared, and I have been fortunate to encounter many friends on my path with whom I have the privilege of working. This is a road that is co-created with the Great Mystery and with loving hearts. This will be our continuation long after we are gone.
Recording also takes time, like any creative medium. So unfortunately you will have to wait a while yet before hearing the fruits of our labors. But you can rest assured that we are enjoying each step and every note along the way.
I am excited to share many of these songs at live performances this spring and summer, whether in a children’s concert or at a Spirits Rising show. Let’s meet in that place of music.
Snow is falling down on the street
I’ve got my slippers on my feet
I’ve got my hat on my head
It’s a snow day I’m going back to bed!
Its snowing, its snowing
Snowing for me, snowing for you
And all of the animals
Its snowing for them too
Those lyrics are from a new song that I wrote last week while on retreat at the Still Point Zen Buddhist Temple in Detroit. In the relaxed stillness of the retreat, I was finally able to hear my inner songwriter again and I wrote three new songs, this one inspired by the simple magic of the falling snow.
Snow is a wonder of nature that I can easily overlook with feelings of frustration and trepidation when I have to drive somewhere or “get something done.” But because I had the privilege of being able to stay in one warm place while it was snowing, I could appreciate the simple beauty and transformation that was happening all around. And I was inspired to sing about it!
I am so grateful to have been able to take those few days in retreat, to take refuge in community and in the spiritual practices of prayer, meditation, and songwriting. These new songs will be added to a children’s album I will be working on this year called Diversity. I am excited to collaborate with Allison and our fellow musician friends to produce this fun collection of songs.
Today we are enjoying another snow day here in Michigan, where we received about 16 inches of snow in the last 24 hours. I am reminded of yet another recent snow day I experienced last month while on tour with the Earthwork Music Collective in Kalamazoo.
We were scheduled for a concert in Traverse City that evening, normally a 3-hour drive from Kzoo. The snow was coming down all night and day and thankfully we made the collective decision to postpone the concert until the spring and stay put in Kalamazoo.
The result was a wonderful gift of being together with nowhere to go and nothing to do. Michael and Laurel of Red Tail Ring invited everyone over for a fish fry and we enjoyed visiting, eating amazing home-cooked food, laughing, telling stories, listening to vintage records that Seth had just found at a local thrift store, and making music together. What a gift the snow gave us!
Like the retreat, the snow is a wonderful reminder to slow down, to let go of my busy agenda that seems so important, and enjoy the moment. I am grateful to be safe and warm in this moment, to be with my love, and to have music in my heart. I am looking forward to sharing music with you soon, weather permitting!