A Sound Life

My life began when it ended in November of 1992. In light of an event that would take an entire book to describe, which I later found had all of the elements of a near-death experience (and beyond), I am so grateful for an early “mid-life” crisis or what I call an “awakening” at the tender age of 21. Poised to enter medical school, within months of completing my honors degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology and pre-med coursework, I had my life path all figured out. Or so I thought…

During the course of an evening, everything I thought I ever knew about anything was shattered completely into infinite pieces, as I fell into a space that I now feel to be the place we come from before we are born and the place we go after we die. This place is so completely ecstatic and blissful; one never wants to return to this world of form, where there exists great joy, great suffering, polarity, and eventually death. But if it is not time for the spirit to return to the primordial soul-soup, one cannot stay there. So I returned to this world, with great sadness, joy, and forever changed. I came out of the experience knowing the perfection of everything that ever happened in my life—it showed me that perfection exists within every particle of everything in every moment, on every level, unto eternity. There was a great peace that came from this awareness. This consciousness is the equivalent of heaven on Earth.

Within a few months of this experience, the didjeridu came into my life. I saw it one day, on the University of Arizona campus where I was finishing my last few months of coursework. Although I knew my path was now radically different than what I had thought, I also knew finishing my degree was important. Perhaps this was one reason why. Walking to organic chemistry lab, I saw a lady sitting on the grass with a long wooden pipe next to her. I had never seen an object like this before, but I knew it was an instrument and asked her to play it for me. As soon as I hear the sound, I said, “I need one NOW.” Since that time, the didjeridu has become an integral part of my life, and continually re-creates me from the inside-out.

When I play the didjeridu, it connects me to the place I went when I “died.” There is a deep experience of peace that exists within the pure, circular-spiral sound that comes out of this long tube, much like a birth canal or the “tunnel” people report in near-death experiences. During this experience recounted earlier, I also became aware of a new life-purpose emerging. I was to be a “voice.” Since that time, I have allowed my voice to open, to express, to inhale fully, to play music, to be a voice of the Earth. Most importantly, I have let the voice of my higher-vibrational self be heard, that I may be an instrument of peace. The didjeridu has taught me how to breathe deeply, to relax, to be in the moment, to be in my body, and to meditate. Through the therapeutic process of circular breathing and creating tones, it has helped my body come into greater harmony and clarity inside, on many levels. I feel that the healthier and clearer my body-instrument is, the easier it is for the full voltage of my spirit to be present in a physical form here on Earth. The didjeridu is a wonderful tool to assist in this process of healing and clearing.

When I was seven, I began my training in classical piano and later, silver flute. I always loved music and would practice diligently, but performing professionally was often a stressful experience for me. Making a “wrong note” was an alarming prospect… so I didn’t choose music as my life-path, though I loved it. My career plans were slanted toward the healing arts, and I chose medical school as my goal. However, it was not until my “awakening” that I realized I was not completely following my heart, and medical school would not be the best path for me. The day after this experience I went to see Dr. Andrew Weil, who helped me greatly in my integration process and helped me bridge and ground this experience into Earth reality. He also helped direct me to people and resources that helped to direct my next steps.

With some good guidance, and after a few years of travel and inner exploration, I decided to enter acupuncture school. During that time I took many courses in various fields of subtle energy medicine. One of them was a workshop by Jonathan Goldman about the healing properties of music and vocal overtoning. This ignited something inside of me, because I loved both music and medicine, and here was an ancient practice that put them together! Slowly, life circumstance directed me more and more toward my heart’s path, which has been an expanding practice of performing, teaching, recording, and doing private sessions using sound therapy.

Over the past 10 years I have developed a practice that integrates the many years of studying I have done applying music as medicine, as well as other subtle energy modalities such as aromatherapy, Reiki, herbal medicine, acupuncture, nutrition, flower essences, and light therapy. An individual sound session uses many live instruments being played in the fields around the body, which is lying on a “vibrasound” table I built, along with these other modalities, taking the individual on a multi-dimensional, multi-sensory journey to access altered states of awareness in a safe and therapeutic way. Altered brain-wave patterns, caused primarily by light and binaural sound beat frequencies and overtones (using ancient and modern instruments), allow the individual to leave ordinary reality for a little while, where the soul can expand to perceive life from different angles and to become aware of other perceptions and possibilities. This in itself can be a healing experience. The tones of the instruments also carry the ability to harmonize the chakras and balance and restore imbalances in the body.

My path now continues to be focused on music as medicine, and with the current political and environmental challenges, the focus on planetary and individual inner-peace has become even more relevant. The type of music and sensory experiences of sound therapy, or of Music as Medicine inner peace concerts (I perform locally and internationally), are intended to help create a sense of peace and contentment inside each individual. Because we are all one, each a part of the whole, we are all connected energetically. I feel that each person who can maintain a sense of inner peace, quieting the inner wars of negativity, self-judgment, fear, addiction, etc., adds a piece into the whole and, one by one, shifts the collective environment of the planet. We cannot change what is outside of us as much as we can change our inner perceptions and thoughts. This may take some time and discipline, but it is each of our responsibility to do the inner work, becoming part of the solution, reducing our part in the collective challenges.

Every culture, in their theology, refers to sound as being the primordial matrix out of which the world was created. Even modern science refers to the “Big Bang.” The most recent theories of quantum theory go even further to refer to the world as made up of vibrating strings, all of existence being the symphony of how these infinite frequencies meet and combine. Indeed, working with sound can both create and destroy, so conscious and careful application is important. Yet it can be a most powerful healing modality.

I have found that being out in the sounds of nature is a healing experience. Besides the relaxation caused by physical exercise, clean air and time away from work, I feel that when we are out in nature the vibrations or sounds created by birds, the wind in the trees, a river or the ocean, actually nourish us in frequencies that we may be deficient in, as many of us live separate from nature in walled houses and spend hours in cities, moving vehicles, etc. As food nourishes us on a cellular level, other frequencies such as sound, light, prayer, etc. can nourish our subtle bodies in ways they may be lacking. We are vibratory beings, with each cell and every organ resonating at distinct frequencies. The brain, especially the limbic and the cortex, are charged and invigorated with sound, stimulating these centers in a beneficial way (depending on the type of sound). Harmonious music created by nature or by humans with loving intention can supply us with the needed stimulation to bring us back into harmony with ourselves, with each other, and with the Earth.

Part of my awakening experience showed me “as above, so below.” By this, I mean that I realized the holographic nature of reality, and saw a beautiful analogy of a pregnant mother to our mother Earth. It can be seen that we are like a baby in the womb of the mother, and each one of us is a cell, part of the whole living being (some ancient people called it Gaia or Gaea). Perhaps we are now in the final stages of development, with the nervous system integrating us all together (internet, cellular phones, all media and communication systems). We may be in a kind of preparatory-labor stage, preparing for a global birth into the next stages of our evolutionary process. The world certainly seems to be in turmoil and change on many levels. During the birthing process, the most important thing a mother (and the baby) can do is relax, breathe, and be in the present moment. For me, the didjeridu and indigenous music teaches deep breathing, relaxation, and connection to the core, the heart of mother Earth. The aboriginal people of Australia have been stewards of this Earth for as many as 150,000 years, and only in the last 50 years has the oldest known instrument on the planet—the didjeridu—spread all over the world. Perhaps these ancient tools are needed at this time, to help us all to remember, to relax, to listen to the mother Earth, to breathe, to connect to our individual and planetary core.

My wish for this Earth is that every person can follow their heart and do what they love, because then we have a healthy collective being, every “cell” doing what it came here to do, effortlessly and with joy. My greatest prayer is that my life, my music, my work, may serve as a catalyst to midwife the Earth, and to activate others into living their life purpose, so that we can be conscious and glorious stewards of the Earth’s. May her birth be graceful, even joyful, and may we all dwell in happiness, harmony and peace.