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We Are All Truly Miraculous

An Evening of Poetry, Music and The Spoken Word at The White House May 12, 2009.

I’m incredibly moved and inspired. Beautiful opening performance by ELEW and Esperanza Spalding, soulful spoken word by Mayda del Valle and a powerful performance by ELEW.

“We’re here to celebrate the power of words and music to help us appreciate beauty and also to understand pain. To inspire us to action and to spur us on when we start to lose hope.” President Obama tells the crowd as he opens the evening.

“It is one thing for people to tell their stories in their own spaces and quite another for those stories to be welcomed in this space. Barack is president today because many people who thought their voices didn’t matter or wouldn’t be heard decided to show up on election day and vote anyway.” Michelle Obama

“Abuela, how did you pray before someone told you who your god should be? How did you hold the earth in your hands and thank her for it’s fecundity? Did the sea wash away your sadness? How did you humble yourself before your architect? Did you lower yourself to your knees or rock to the rhythm of ocean waves like I do?

“To be able to go in the White House and to represent my grandmother and my ancestors, it really means a lot. It’s a generation of women that don’t often get heard, you know, these old Puerto Rican women that no one ever really thinks about. To be able to use my voice to represent them on this kind of platform is really powerful.” Mayda del Valle

ELEW

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Listen To Your Heart’s Song

“Do not try to tame the heart,
but listen to its song,
and it will lead you to the place
where you most belong.”

~Author Unknown

Thank you Saroeum for the quote

and Tearsandrain for the photo.

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Singing the Blues

A guaranteed smile (for me at least!). Another treat from my God Friend Ethan and his dad, Brad!

(my apologies for the poor quality, I’m still figuring out the whole Youtube thing)

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Can You Help Me Write a Song?

As a school counselor I host Friendship Groups in classrooms. In the past I was responsible for 15 classes (preschool through 3rd grade). This year my main focus is with 9 classes (1st-3rd) which is providing me an exciting opportunity to be more explicit in the curriculum that I use and develop. I imagine there will be more to share about that as the year proceeds.

At the moment I’m focusing on our starting rituals. An important element at the beginning of a group is some sort of shared ritual, shared experience. When I was a teacher with my own classroom, I used a song for this. When I entered this job with 15 classes that I move between I started my groups with a bell and moment of silence. Unfortunately, however, coming and going busily from one class to the next, I was inconsistent and eventually stopped using the bell regularly. This year I want the opening ritual to be sacred. To always start each group.

I would like to create a song that shapes the space and invites us to be connected to ourselves and connected to one another.

Qualities of the song that I am interested in:

  • I’d like the song to be punchy – to invite body movements and voice inflection, to invite us to wake up and be engaged! A celebration.
  • I’d like for the song to provide an opportunity to experience harmony with each other, a vocal sense of togetherness.
  • I would like the song to invite us to be in our bodies, connected to our hearts with open minds, ready to learn, and connected to each other.
  • I imagine that at the end of the song there is a brief moment of silence.

Below are some words I’ve been playing with… they’re not ‘right’ yet, but it will give you a sense of the direction I’ve been exploring.

And then comes the request (you knew this was coming, right!): Do you have ideas to add to the creation of this song? I’m not very developed in my musical sensibility. Are you? Do you have a tune to offer that this song could go to? Would you like to help me create this song? If you’re technologically inclined and want to share an audio idea with me, I believe you can sing into this site, odeo.com… or if you want to schedule a phone call, send me an email and we’ll set a date to talk (opening space (oneword) @gmail.com).

Thank you so much for any help you have to offer.

The latest version I’ve been playing with:

You and me are here right now
Alive in our bodies
I’ve got an open mind
Ready for new ideas

I’m going to listen from my heart
I’m going to speak from my heart

You and me are here right now
Let’s feel us here together

….bell….

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A Song Can Lessen the Fear

Sderot, Israel is near the boarder with Gaza and is a city that experienced (experiences?) a constant threat of Qassam rockets being fired into the city. When a rocket is spotted, there is a “Red Color” alert that is sounded warning people to take cover.

Residents of Sderot have about less than a minute to get to a place of safety when they hear the warning “Red Color” announcing an incoming rocket (spotted by those who watch for them). Hearing a Red Color causes panic in many, especially children. ~ Source

“Children experienced real developmental regressions, some began bedwetting,” she said. “They were getting hysterical when the alarm sounded – some freezing in place, unable to seek cover. One day I felt like ‘now is the time’ and I took this song I’d made up to a kindergarten class.” ~ Source

It is not hard to believe that repetitively experiencing alarming threats to one’s life from ‘out of the sky’ would cause trauma for children. The following video is an example of how one woman helped create change for many children. She could not change the threat of the rockets, but she found ways to shape the experience so that the children were not stripped of all of their power and understanding but could, instead, become active participants in the event. The song she created for the children to sing integrates EMDR therapy, somatic exercises and relaxation techniques to help the fear and tension of the warnings move through the children’s bodies, and hopefully freeing them from some of the terror.

I am very inspired by this video. I wonder, what simple ways can we each use in our lives and with those whose lives we touch to gently reshape the ways we experience something, decreasing the impact of fear and unknowing?

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Piercing My Existence

Hi!

It’s been awhile since I’ve found a voice to offer here. I notice that when I’m experiencing deep and rapid change in my life, writing here can feel confusing. The sense is something like, I’m not who I was when I last wrote here… and how do I jump in with who I am now… especially when I don’t know who I am now?

Passion beats wildly as my heart.
Flying light,
like sparks and trails of fireworks,

piercing my existence
tingling a fierce dance
between pain and wakefulness

Here is a song whose lyrics resonate deeply with me right now. I highly recommend The Weepies.

The Weepies Big Strong Girl

It’s not now or never.
It’s not black, and it’s not white.
Anything worth anything takes more than a few days
and a long, long night.

Don’t push so hard against the world, no, no.
You can’t do it all alone, and if you could
would you really want to?
Even though you’re a big strong girl
come on, come on, lay it down.
The best made plans are your open hands.

Rest your head.
You’ve got two pillows to choose from
in a queen-sized bed.
Hold out for the moon
but don’t expect connection any time soon.

Feel the light caress your fingertips.
You have just begun, the word has only left your lips.
Maybe in time, you will find
your arms are wrapped around the sun
you’re wrapped around the sun.

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