A Beautiful Destination

What is Harp TherapyA couple months ago, I spoke to the new International Harp Therapy students. In preparation for our call, the host asked me to speak about how I came to the harp, how I got interested in harp therapy and how I currently “structure” my harp therapy business. It was an honor to be present with this group!

During my presentation, I talked about how I had been going through a challenging time at age 30, when I gave myself harp lessons to soothe my soul. (This is how I came to the harp.) And then when I took the harp therapy classes, I hated hospitals to the extent that I passed out every time I entered a hospital building! After I talked about both of these situations on the conference call, the host said to me, “You have really overcome a lot to be able to do harp therapy work!”

This was very affirming and validating, and it reminded me of this quote from an unknown source, “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.” I feel blessed to have worked through lots of issues and situations to get to do the beautiful work that I am called to. Indeed, it has been an interesting journey to get to this beautiful destination!

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Your Cell Phone Chime

Cell PhoneDo you have a cell phone? Do you have it set so that it chimes at you every time you get an email, text or voice mail message?  I do!

And when I was recently practicing my harp on a song that was in the key of “G,” I heard my cell phone “ding” and it was in the same key signature that I was playing in! What I found interesting about that is “G” is correlated to the throat chakra – all about communication! It makes me wonder if the cell phone company is very intentional about this or if they even have an awareness about it?? Either way, I love that my cell phone chimes to the note of excellent communication. When we connect via my cell phone, I’ll do my very best to be an excellent communicator!

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Darkness vs. Hope

Darkness & HopeAs many of you know, “darkness” kinda goes along with my harp work – many times, I am experiencing people at their most vulnerable, painful and “dark” time.

It is vital to be present to these times and frequently, when we “sink” deep into the darkness, hope and healing happens. Yes, it’s a mystery, but I see it time after time.

This George Chakiris quote says it beautifully, “No matter how dark the moment, love and hope are always possible.” Important to remember – on many levels – these days, right?!

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When Violence Strikes – Got Music? (Part II)

Stop Violence - 2As soon as I posted the last blog about music and violence, I realized I had more to say about this important topic/issue.

Whenever violence “hits” us, we are left wondering why this continues to happen in our beloved country. Is it violent TV, movies and video games? Is it gun laws (or lack thereof)? Is it deep unrest in the depths of our souls? Is it a mental health issue? Is it geo-political? Is it stress-related? Or something else???

And as a harpist, I can’t help but ask, “How can my music help? How can I be a part of the solution? How can I assist and/or facilitate the healing process through music?” When the harp is played with a peaceful intention, it is music to soothe the soul, comfort our contemplative core, calm our jaggled nerves, and move us into deep rest.

After each violent episode, I reflect, “What is my intention with my music?” My answer – to bring peace. To nurture your heart. To relax you. To relieve stress. To facilitate healing. I am honored to help you with your journey. To receive the gifts I offer, click to watch videos, order CDs and/or music devices, and purchase downloads. Many continued blessings to you …

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Well-Being and the Harp – Part IV

Well BeingThe harp is a very spiritual instrument and our work is very spiritual. Spirituality is the fourth area of well-being that we will cover in these blog posts.

We find again and again that a spiritual practice (meditation, prayer, quiet time, centering, etc.) helps to build our resilience, as well as survive/thrive in the world today.

The spiritual/metaphysical connection occurs as the harpist grounds (connecting to the Earth) and taps into the heavens, then the music can flow through our fingers and bodies, and through the instrument. This is the process of channeling – allowing Spirit to flow through us. Our body/mind/spirit pathway is:

  1. Align our physical body
  2. Channel love: universal quality
  3. Bring out the harp’s best harmonics
  4. Create a circle for healing (keep in mind the harpist’s body is round – our elbows up create a circle around the harp, our hand position is round, our fingers curve inward forming another circle, etc. – and all of this helps make the music is round).

This model of spirituality explains the spiritual process of making music:  We connect then flow, co-creating with Spirit and back to connection; it is a circle of spirituality and healing.

And finally, it is important to listen to the energetic, spiritual messages our bodies give us. For instance, do you feel energy in your fingers, heart, shoulders, hips? (It can be anywhere and the point is to be mindful of our own body.)

As we connect to our own spiritual well-being, it deepens our music and the healing that occurs.

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Well-Being and the Harp – Part III

Well BeingMental well-being for harpists is an important component of our overall health. To begin, a quick question to ponder … when you get a challenging passage in the music, what do you tell yourself:

  • Here comes the hard part? OR
  • I’ve got this!

What we’re talking about is our self-talk, which also links to setting intentions. To define intentions, they are similar to:

  • Goals
  • New year’s resolutions
  • Prayer
  • Dreams (heart, not sleep!) –> manifest

Our energy follows our thoughts so if we think it, this is where our energy goes. This is why it’s important to think good thoughts. It is almost like a brain re-program or paradigm shift. For example:

  • Is our language filled with hope and possibilities or is it of drudgery, negativity?
  • Does our life go smoothly and flow with ease and grace or are we tripped up with trauma/drama?
  • Have you noticed if we tell ourselves we’re tired, going to be a rotten day vs. I have good energy to accomplish what I need to today – it impacts our day!

These statements become our energetic blueprint and connect us to what we manifest. We are encouraging mindfulness which is positive mental health and well-being for you, as a harpist, and for those you serve. Our final blog post of the four areas of well-being will be next week, on spiritual well-being.

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Well-Being and the Harp – Part II

Well BeingOur emotions are the next area of well-being that we want to “discuss” as it relates to the harp.

We are emotional beings, not logical. And throughout the International Harp Therapy Program (and beyond!), we are challenged to do our own emotional/inner work. The point is if we are peaceful, we play from this peaceful place.

As we learn the harp (or any musical instrument) and learn new pieces of music, we recognize music is rigorous. What we mean by this is it’s an examination, looking at many “deep places” within ourselves:

  • I’m not good enough
  • I can’t learn this
  • I’ll never be able to do/play that, etc.

Besides, we tend to be:

  • Super sensitive – with a tendency to take everything personally
  • Empathetic – understanding or feeling what another person is experiencing from within the other person’s frame of reference. This means we pick up the vibes from those who are around us.

While both of these make us good at what we do, we have to be mindful, using them to our advantage, not as a detriment.

Another emotional aspect is fear and anxiety. Fear, when it is a negative emotion, can stop us from being creative and it can definitely contribute to performance anxiety. It is helpful to play/perform from our heart and not the nerves.

This blog post gives you ideas of boosting your emotional well-being as a harpist. If you wish to discuss this topic further, contact us. Next up, mental well-being …

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Well-Being and the Harp – Part I

Well BeingLet us explain! The four areas of well-being are physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. In the next four blog posts, we are going to write about how one of each of these well-being areas relates to the harp. First, we’ll explore physical well-being.

An old mindset of yesteryear is it’s OK for musicians to “trash” their bodies. Where does this come from? While we aren’t sure of the origins of this old belief, we know this isn’t true today, especially with harpists. As a group, we spend a lot of time understanding the physical nature of both the instrument and the player’s body. Perhaps it is because the harp is a very physical instrument – both our posture and holding our arms up for extended periods of time, not to mention carrying it around!

A few other important points:

  • The main center of the body is the pelvis; important to ground and relax the pelvic/hip area.
  • The back “drives” the body.
  • Opening the chest helps us to relax and let the energy flow
  • Everything falls forward – our head, shoulders, hips, etc. and this “throws out” the back.
  • A gentle exercise is to move the shoulder blades in and down. This opens the heart and the heart meets the harp at the thymus, which is the organ of the immune system.

And a couple other things to remember about the harp:

Breathing is vital. Unlike a woodwinds or brass instrument, we don’t actually have to breathe while playing the harp. Breathing contributes to the overall health of the player/performer and it nurtures, sustains, cleans out our bodies and opens the chest. Breathing also helps with anxiety. We may have a habit of holding our breath or not breathing deeply. It can be helpful to breathe oxygen into our fingertips, even visualizing our fingers are breathing.

And finally, while the harp is all about helping people get rid of tension, the harpist must focus on this within themselves to help others.

  • If we hold our breath, we create tension in our bodies (another reason it’s important to breathe!!).
  • When the performers’ tension and the strings’ tension are released, we are one and heart-centered, giving to our audience/client/patient.

So, yes the harp is a very physical instrument and taking care of our physical health is vital to our long-term thriving with this magical instrument. Next blog post will be about emotional well-being.

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Freedom Quote

FreedomWe have come across a plethora of quotes and love sharing them because they make us think and definitely inspire. This time, we want to share what Marilyn Ferguson said, “Ultimately, we know deeply that the other side of every fear is a freedom.”

Is this timely right now or what?!! Is U.S. politics based on fear or freedom? Does it make a difference who is the “leader” at the helm?

We are also aware that if you feel fear, music (especially the harp!!) can help you go to that scary place to feel it and release it, moving into freedom. Here’s to your freedom…!

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Another Thought-Provoking Quote

QuotesFor the past few weeks (off and on), we have focused on quotes. It was Jerry Garcia who said, “What’s the music that only you can play?”

So … what do you think about yourself and your life as you reflect on this quote? Even if you aren’t a musician, do you have a creative outlet that only you can do? What is it?

Amidst all the craziness of these times, going inward to explore our creativity and bringing it out into the open can be incredibly nurturing and great for our souls! And when I ask a question of you, I must also reflect on it! My “music” is definitely connected to the harp, but also writing blogs and books and important social advocacy letters. My other “creative flow activity” is holding space for and sending energy to our planet during these very confusing times. In many ways, my “music” feels bigger than just music and songs and lyrics, but rather it is connected to love. I know only I can love the planet in my own special way … and that’s true for all of my readers, too. Be sure to “play your music” and love our planet with a perfect brand of you!

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