Monthly Archives: October 2009

How Do You Create a State of Bliss — Daily?

Buck Springs Overlook 8-19-09


There is something you probably do for yourself that takes you out of mind jabber and into pure positive nothing-ness-everything-ness where all things wonderful are born.

In this beautiful space there is no thinking, no strategic planning, no mental arguing or defense, and no worry. There is no inner dialog recounting a past conversation repeatedly, until you get the conversation “right.”  In this expansive and creative space, there are no “couldas” and “shouldas.”  Only experimentation and acceptance followed by more joyful, all-out-no-holds-barred creativity.

There is no future and no past in this bliss space. Only now. You can’t think AND do this thing, whatever this thing is for you that creates blissful presence.

Do you know this space I’m talking about?

What is this bliss-producer for you? Do you know?

What are you doing when time disappears?  (And, NO, sleeping doesn’t count…. :–) What sends you straight to that open heart space where good things get created in your world?

Just being around music doesn’t necessarily do it for me, although I have experienced some rather amazing vocal concerts and heavenly musical events. Learning a song or voice technique doesn’t do it. Taking a hot bath doesn’t do it, even though a hot bath on a winter day is pretty much heaven.

Maybe the bliss-producing-time-erasing-negative-conversation-obliterating THING, in most cases, is something you DO, not something you enjoy that is coming to you from someone or somewhere else.  I don’t know.

I do know that one of my bliss-producing time erasers is improvisational singing in a resonant space. Pure and simple.  Add a few like-minded singers and the positive effect of the experience heightens exponentially.  It becomes totally indescribable.

drops of water Improvisational singing in a resonant space is where every sound OUT comes BACK around to anoint me with a happy barrage of good feelings — something like  a surprise shower of sun-filled, life-giving, sweet tasting, sparkling clear drops of water.

This singing is my “thing that I do.”

I don’t know if this kind of singing is nirvana to you, but from presenting it to groups lately, it seems to have appeal to a certain section of the human population, perhaps to those of us for whom sound is serenely soothing.

And for those of us who stop thinking altogether when we sing.

Roses at Farmer's Market in Paris

Roses at Farmer's Market in Paris

Singing in this way does it all for me. It’s like going on vacation to Europe, seeing a field of flowers in bloom, walking through a farmer’s market full of color and goodness from the earth, looking out over the Great Smokey Mountains, eating a gourmet meal, having great sex and hearing 1,000 angels — simultaneously!

You can see that singing is pretty high on my list of favorites!

Would love to know what your bliss producer is… Thoughts, questions and discussion welcome.


Alone in the Rain with No Transportation

This is actually a favorite kind of day for me….

… And NO, I’m not stranded outdoors with a broken down car.

I’m home alone, no meals to fix, and nobody to tend to except already contented animals. Nothing I’m up to requires a car and I’m all cozy and warm, slippers on, with plenty of time to write, create and brainstorm. The golden beeswax candles are lit right next to me, soft lights brighten up the cloudy day and surround-sound music bathes me in my favorite rainy day albums.beeswaxcandles

The longer I’m here on this beautiful earth, the more I appreciate this kind of time. Being busy is highly over-rated. Being home writing, with a hot cup of French Roast and great music on the Bose Music System to keep me company is, well, pretty much my idea of heaven.

Sure, there is a rather hefty stack of paper staring at me that needs sorting and filing. But am I doing that?


Today is for me and my whims. When I am alone, my creative muses talk to me the most about music and making joyful sounds.

Want to know what they said today?

One of the best ways to get started with improvisational singing is to “practice it” when no one is around. You can experiment in ANY way. Go ahead. Have a wild and woolly practice session.

And here’s the thing. It doesn’t mean you necessarily practice improvisational singing. Case in point — today I chose an Opera piece that is (let’s be honest) a musical train wreck for me.
Il mio bel foco (My Joyful Ardor) by Benedetto Marcello.

It’s not an easy piece and on top of that the version of the accompaniment that came with my music book moves like lightning. Nobody who sings it well has this speed-demon accompaniment. Oh, and for strike three, it’s in Italian of course.

To listen to it, go to Youtube. Here’s a link. Spare yourself and don’t listen to the folks who sing it in their garage or for their recital. Trust me, it’s not that helpful. Listen to a singer who can actually give it a go.

If you want to get better at improvisational singing, practice something difficult for you — anything. I chose Opera today, but you could opt for a mountain bike, a skateboard, roller blades or a trampoline!! Pad yourself properly and then play like a kid. You could go play basketball, play catch with your grand daughter or find a game of beach volleyball. Why not have a dance lesson, or get up the courage to build a do-it-yourself website (argh), or make soup broth from scratch. Get in the car and drive somewhere without planning where you’re going.

Do something you’ve never done before or something that is predictably difficult for you — AND, this is important — you actually have an attraction to doing it. You want to do it.

If you practice something you’re not adept at doing, and go at it with a big dose of joy and reckless abandon, you learn about who you are — very important in improvisational singing!

You need to know YOU if you’re going to sing without a map. (More on that in a future post.)

During this “reckless abandon” project, pay attention to improvements only. Forget the “mistakes.” They mean nothing. Look for what you’re doing well and concentrate on that. Notice everything you do well and let yourself smile about it.

This is fabulous training for improvisational singing. And for life, too, for that matter.

To do anything well, it helps to be comfortable with everything about it, including mistakes and screw-ups. Make mistakes. Relax about them. Welcome them with open arms.

Long ago, I knew a Utah ski instructor who taught beginners. We’re talking newbies who somehow got railroaded into that ski vacation with friends or family. And here they were with their skis and poles and their brand new ski outfit all dressed up and scared to death.

And do you know what he taught them first and foremost on that bunny slope where we all begin?

He taught them how to fall.

I've Fallen And I Can't Get Up!

I've Fallen And I Can't Get Up!

After the falling lesson, where everybody ended up covered with snow and laughing, his students had great fun learning to ski because the worst part — the part that everyone was trying NOT to do — was over! Now they could get on with the standing up part of skiing.

Simple, yet brilliant.

This is what we’re talking about: Doing something “really wrong” or sloppily and getting it over with is liberating.

So strap on your whatevers and go attempt something ridiculously new and a tiny bit dangerous for you — and then write me and tell me all about it. I’ll be waiting with great anticipation for your report.

Singing to Deer and Other Wonders

Just a few days ago an audience of eight 4-legged creatures sauntered by while I was singing all by myself in the Peace Chamber near Saxapahaw, North Carolina. Sure, they were grazing, and really weren’t planning to come on in, but still, they were an audience, right?

When I peered from the door of the chamber to see them better, one spectacular young buck lifted his head. youngbuck

I don’t know what it is about deer that creates such a rush in a human’s heart, but mine lifted to the ceiling of everywhere when he stood at attention, all relaxed and fully confident. Being bathed in his field of influence was one of those private moments where you breathe in but forget to breathe out, because breathing out might cause whatever you’re in the presence of to go away. He didn’t go away. He stood there and radiated. His field, and the field of the group felt wide, and very soft around the edges and full of energy.

Hmmmm — I wondered to myself how they experienced this human sound called singing. When I sang at the doorway, they all lifted their heads, and two ran off, but the rest of them didn’t move. They looked up to see what the fuss was about, and went right back to dinner.momBabydeer

The Peace Chamber itself is quite an extraordinary experience, with its beautiful acoustics and welcoming vibration. This environment is a wonder in itself, where you can make sound and it comes back around to soothe you and vibrate you and give you the repeat benefit of itself.

I like it.

How about you? Have you ever sung improvisationally in an acoustically friendly room?

If you like it, you should know that I am looking for singers around Asheville, NC and the Saxapahaw/Graham area to form two local improvisational choirs. (I’ll get to other cities in the future.) Let me know if you are interested or what questions you might have.

*Your personal energy field is anything like the buck
*Singing is a joyful thing for you
*Other people love to hear you sing
*You’ve possibly been told that you sound like an angel (male or female)
*You live around Asheville or Saxapahaw, NC
*You want to sing with an unusual group in an unusual way

…please contact me.