Gregg Braden on “Conscious Creation”

Gregg Braden

Gregg Braden

I’ve been immersing myself in some wild wisdom lately. My explorer friends Ricardo Accorsi and Linda Parker introduced me to Gregg Braden’s work, and it’s a game-changer. I took the notes below while listening to the final chapter of Gregg’s unabridged audio-book, The Spontaneous Healing of Belief, one of his many works. I experience Gregg’s work as critically important, because 1. he has taken on the task of truly integrating the most exciting scientific findings of our time with ancient wisdom traditions, 2. he writes very well, and 3. he’s equally powerful as a narrator/presenter. This “triple threat” makes his work cutting-edge coaching in shifting beliefs and patterns toward consciously creating what we want. I’ve included a link to the audiobook above and in the final paragraph below.

As you read, imagine applying Gregg’s “15 Keys of Conscious Creation” to your life. My verbatim notes are in bold and regular type, and my comments are in green italics. Enjoy, and note that this is rich fare. Take your time. Take a break! Come back to it. It’ll be here.

Our beliefs become the software that actually programs our reality. That’s a strong statement, right? I suggest pausing to reflect on it. Our beliefs become the software that programs our reality. I get instantly curious and alert, like a gong has sounded a signal deep in my heart and mind.

Unlocking the MindGregg isn’t by any means the first person to make this provocative statement. What’s important and timely about his work is his very careful, thoughtful synthesis of decades of rigorous scientific research and exploration with the teachings and practices of ancient wisdom traditions. 

The “15 keys” that follow are code for change. Gregg offers the instruction that, with each key sequentially in place in our understanding, as part of us, actively explored and lived in our daily inner and outer lives, we change, experiencing and living transformation, and thus we change the world around us. He says: Meditate and reflect on each key, taking the time to internalize them and make them your own. Don’t be deceived by their apparent simplicity.

A "Rose" of Galaxies

A “Rose” of Galaxies, Hubble Telescope

1.  The universe is an intelligent field of energy.  Gregg initially trained in the hard sciences. He worked as a geologist and then as a senior computer technologist in the defense industry at the close of the cold war. He has since come to the conclusion above, along with many of the world’s leading physicists, biologists and epigeneticists who have been working on the forefront of the evolutionary sciences for the past forty years. He summarizes recent “paradigm shattering” findings in this audiobook. And very importantly, he includes research that goes much further back but didn’t fit the scientific mindset of its time and was thus considered anomalous. So he tells this story in a way that helps our rational minds to grasp it, including the fact that it has been slowly coming together since the early 20th century.

2.  Everything is connected to everything else in the field, and the implications of that are vast.  Gregg shares the results of fascinating experiments like a photon being split in two, with the two halves separated by fourteen miles. One half was then subjected to changes that instantly impacted the other despite time and distance. Consider what this means for you and me.

Sombrero Galaxy - Hubble Telescope

Sombrero Galaxy – Hubble Telescope

3.  Unleashing the power of the universe takes first experiencing ourselves within it, as truly, fully connected and part of that intelligent field rather than alone and outside of it. How many of us feel, truthfully, deep down, in our secret, silent core, alone in the world? The world’s foremost physicists and biologists have come to the tested conclusion that this belief is an error. The tipping point has occurred in interpreting all the research data that has been generated, and a foundational shift is underway in scientific interpretations of the world and our place in it. This new “quantum knowledge” hasn’t yet made it into textbooks. There is no “name” for it yet. Gregg chooses to use “the divine matrix.” Take the time, whether moments, hours, days, or weeks, to truly breathe into this key. Experiment with it. Celebrate it. For rationalists like me, it really does change everything.

4.  Once something is joined together, it will always be connected. How does this key impact your life? Allow it. Revel in it. Play with it. Pray with it, because in this mindset your prayers connect with their recipient instantly, and not as sweet thoughts and wishes, but as usable energy. To share a bit more about myself, prayer isn’t something that I’ve been able to authentically engage in for the past fifteen years or more. In this context, I’ve been taking it up again. That’s just one impact of this work on me.

Conscious5.  The act of observation is an act of creation. Consciousness is a creative act. Imagine this. Our consciousness has an impact. Again, this changes everything. Our intentional attention to the largest and smallest details of our lives is a creative act, not “just” a state of being. And I know: we have heard this before. But Gregg has organized all these powerful concepts for us and backed them up. His approach absolutely works for me, energizing me and catapulting me forward.

6.  We each have all the power we need to create the change we choose in the world. Consider this. Imagine it. Declare it for yourself. Meanwhile, truth be told, over here in my belief system, despite Gregg’s assertion that these keys are sequential, I need the ones that come next to create a place in my heart for this one, free of what feels to me like “New Age woowoo” that has worn as thin for me as tired religious language and images. When it comes to our power to “create our own reality”, I tend to go straight to a feeling of blah, blah, blah. That confessed, I’m intrigued and energized because of the intelligent context that Gregg creates, and I’m movin’ on to the juicy counsel ahead.

7.  The focus of our feelings becomes the reality of our world. We’re creating from our hearts, not our minds. I’m repeating the first part of that so you don’t breeze by it. The focus of our feelings becomes the reality of our world. Think belief systems again. Consider what parts of our belief systems serve us—because make no mistake, we each have our own, often largely unconscious—and what parts don’t. Get exquisitely conscious of all that. This key is a whole topic unto itself, with more and more data demonstrating that “who we are” is not, in fact, totally localized in the brain, and that the heart actually regularly transmits far more information to the brain than vice versa. To me, this new knowledge is thrilling. It profoundly affects the way I will live from here forward.

Running8.  Simply saying what we believe isn’t enough. We have to follow through in all the ways that allow us to embody that new reality in the way we live our lives. Again, for me, these keys are interdependent, since the next one informs this one and the two before in ways that make a difference to me. Meanwhile, as a couple of examples, we can’t stump for world peace in a meaningful way while nursing seething resentments against the guy in the next office. We can’t tape affirmations of self-love onto our bathroom mirrors and expect intoning them daily to change our lives while we’re still over-eating, drinking too much, and narcotizing ourselves in other ways. Em-body-ing our beliefs is another matter entirely.

9.  The feeling that comes from what we believe is a language unto itself, a language of the divine matrix that the consciousness field recognizes. Whoa. Stop, rewind, repeat. Reflect. The feeling that comes from what we believe is… powerful! To make change in the world, think, feel, and believe in what you want. Engage your heart. Go for it. Feel the feeling of the accomplished outcome that you seek. Feel the wonder of it, your delicious sense of gratitude for it, and live in those feelings, as an awe-filled discipline, rather than operating from a rational focus on all the things you need to do to achieve that outcome. Wild, yes?

Don’t skip your to-do list; tackle it enjoyably, with that quality of feeling. With that happiness! To me, this perspective constitutes a tectonic shift from “committed action”, “will power”, “forging ahead despite obstacles”, etc. It hits me with a seismic wave of energy, re-grounding my approach in rich soil. As we live our daily lives like this, the journey truly becomes its own verdant destination. Oasis living, anyone? Woohoo!

Creativity Muse10.  Not just any feeling or quality of consciousness will do; creative consciousness comes from a non-ordinary state, a place without ego, without attachment to outcome, without judgment of what will happen if what we want isn’t realized. As we become the feeling of our wish fulfilled and our prayer already answered, and as we do so without judgment, that quality of belief makes the changes that we want. So beautiful: a powerful sense of gratitude for the outcomes that we seek, without attachment to those outcomes. There’s paradox here, yes? Paradox that moves us forward as part of a deeply creative, non-ordinary state of consciousness and way of living.

GhandiDalai Lama11.  We must become in our lives what we choose to experience in our world. We’re familiar with the call to love and compassion-in-action of many wisdom traditions. This time, at this juncture in my own life, I experience this reminder as an opportunity to experience life in a very imaginative, even playful, context, while Mother Teresabecoming more and more conscious of my own consciousness—exercising my capacity for metaconsciousness—and living those emerging capabilities. Imagine truly, consistently living within and through the power of our imaginations, from and through our hearts, through feeling, trust, gratitude, and wonder. To me this is about nothing less than the continuing evolution of our species.

Roll of the Dice12.  We are not bound by the limits of traditional physics and biology as we know them today. Again, this is its own immense topic with immense implications for our lives. I hear and read freedom in this key, freedom from a quietly insidious determinism that has been encroaching on modern life in all areas more and more of late; freedom from a mechanistic, roll-of-the-dice framework that has felt more and more like a desert place in my own increasingly existential heart. Once past an anthropomorphic view of the divine, past concretizing our religious instincts and inflating our place in creation, and beyond mourning genetics as the new determinism, this key is healing balm. (Thank the gods and goddesses!)

And I realize that I haven’t yet touched on genetics and the emerging science of epigenetics. Gregg’s illumination of the work of biologists like Dr. Bruce Lipton is, again, “paradigm shattering”, and I feel like refraining from spoiling the movie. For now, I’ll note my relief at this chance to step back from the abyss of “genetic determinism” and explore Gregg’s cutting-edge synthesis of old and new knowledge, new ways of languaging our lives, and new challenges to truly stretch ourselves, to never cease learning, growing, and expecting the unexpected and the mysterious, always seeking to express our human potential in more and more magnificent ways. Incredibly exciting.

Holograph13.  We are holographic beings, and we create holographically. So the quality of our consciousness creates the universe. The quality of our “inner world”, our inner work, affects our outer world, not just our households, families, neighborhoods, workplaces, and communities, but beyond. As we do our work, healing, growing, evolving, becoming more and more conscious of our impact on everyone and everything around us, we co-create the larger world for our human—and non-human—family. And again, this isn’t a new message. But in this context I find it exciting and energizing rather than overwhelming.

14.  The instant we create our prayers and good wishes for our loved ones, they’re already at their destination and with them. This is the power and the beauty of living in a holographic universe. Imagine, then, the power of our thoughts, of our emotions, of our prayers. Consider our responsibility to do our own work of becoming exquisitely conscious of beliefs that color our thoughts and feelings. Imagine the beauty and creativity of living within this powerful belief system. And go for it! I’ve begun, which is a dramatic shift from my naturally existential constitution. Time to begin a series of journal entries to record the wild, wonderful developments that are ensuing.

Riverbank15.  The world around us is nothing more and nothing less than a mirror of what we become from within. The divine matrix, the field that makes up this universe, is a container, a bridge, and a mirror. That mirror is sometimes the most difficult of these keys to look within, because, though our inner creations are not always conscious or intentional, the mirror is honest, reflecting the output from our “consciousness computer.” What we see there is the ultimate “feedback loop” regarding our inner beliefs.

If we have the wisdom to recognize what that mirror is saying to us, we have the power to learn very quickly, consciously adopting beliefs and consciously living in emotions that will create the reality that we choose. Note that this is not “the power of positive thinking.” We all have work to do here. And imagine that this approach can become effortless once we get past our own personal tipping points, beyond repeating the past, opening ourselves to what will make the difference and truly taking it on permanently.

Spontaneous Healing of BeliefIndividually, each one of these keys is fascinating. Together, in this order, they tell a story, and they build an internal technology so powerful that it is the single most powerful force in all of creation, the power to build and create, simply, from imagining within and allowing our imaginations to become real in the world around us. These keys allow us to participate in the world in a way that affects it. Consciousness is a measurable force, and with it we have everything we need to embrace our power to create something brand new, beyond the realm of reason and logic.

With the power of consciousness, we can transcend the limits of our own past beliefs. Remember, we are the art as well as the artists. It all begins with healing our beliefs. I’ll end this sharing the way I began it: this is wild work, and Gregg Braden’s narration is riveting. For most of this eventful year I’ve been engaging in my customary practice of listening to great music to nourish and energize me. Now I’m listening to Gregg Braden, too. Check out his work, and keep me posted on all the ways it moves you and moves you forward.


Sharing important music education research!

HuffPost MusicEd PieceI got wind of a recent Huffington Post piece on music education through my childhood friend Dr. Nancy Gamso, woodwind faculty at Ohio Wesleyan University. The short article reports on important research findings on the power of music education to close achievement gaps. I’ll share it with you here and interpret it for you briefly in this post.

A study just out from Northwestern University shows results of research on the impact of music education on the nervous systems of at-risk children and their resulting achievement gains. Northwestern partnered with L.A.’s Harmony Project after the organization contacted researchers to share their own remarkable findings:  Since 2008, “over 90 percent of high school seniors who participated in Harmony Project’s free music lessons went on to college, even though the high school dropout rates in the surrounding Los Angeles areas can reach up to 50 percent.” That statistic in itself is PHENOMENAL. Northwestern’s press release quotes Harmony Project founder, Dr. Margaret Martin, saying that “this success is rooted, at least in part, in the unique brain changes imparted by making music.”

HuffPost ResearchPiece“Researchers from the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern spent two summers with children in Los Angeles who were receiving music lessons through Harmony Project, a non-profit organization providing free music education to low-income students. In order to document how music education changed children’s brains, students were hooked up to a neural probe that allowed researchers to see how they distinguished similar speech sounds, a neural process that is linked to language and reading skills.”

Students from 6 to 9 years old were divided into two groups; one received one year of music lessons, and the other received two. The research showed that the impact on students’ brain development became significant following two years of musical training. According to Northwestern’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory director, Dr. Nina Kraus, “These findings are a testament that it’s a mistake to think of music education as a quick fix, but that if it’s an ongoing part of children’s education, making music can have a profound and lifelong impact on listening and learning.”

I extrapolate some additional assertions from this study. First, these findings stress the role of music education in equalizing income-based and opportunity-based disparities. And there are other reasons for achievement gaps between students within similar age groups, including differences in “growth curves”, to which any parent with multiple children with very different developmental trajectories can attest. Also, sequential musical training includes both an auditory focus and use of visual symbols in music notation, thus impacting the developing brain in ways that enhance both auditory and visual processing. These are critical “sister capabilities” in the development of language and reading skills.

Sequential musical training impacts the developing brain in ways that enhance both auditory and visual processing.

Finally, in my experience, great parents from all walks of life want a holistic education for their children, including opportunities to study an instrument, and they are both busy and budget conscious. It can be confusing to invest in musical training if a child isn’t especially gifted with natural musical aptitude. Parents may assume that he or she won’t go on to “do anything” with that investment of time and money.

Music education impacts capabilities in life, not just in music.

This study and many others show us that music education impacts current and future capabilities in life, not just in music. Parents who invest in musical training without seeing heroic results can take heart in the realization that perhaps developing young “musicians” is not the primary goal. In fact, neurological development is the overarching goal and result, with lifelong implications for achievement in eventual areas of interest. Beautiful!

 

 

Fall 2014 offerings, for little ones through grownups!

Private lesson

PRIVATE LESSONS

Colin on Drum SetPrivate lessons through Teresa’s home teaching studio in Sherwood Forest, CA include:

Piano
Voice
Guitar
Ukulele
Drum Set
Music Reading/Theory
Performance Coaching/Audition Prep

Half-hour lessons are perfect for most situations. Pricing is here.

CLASSES

THURSDAY AFTERNOONS, FOR LITTLE ONES THROUGH PRE-SCHOOL

Grownup & Me MusicGrownup & Me Music Time!  —  Thursdays from 1pm to 1:45, for approximately eight little musicians, from 2 years old through preschool:  In these fun-with-music sessions, we sing, explore rhythm instruments, and dance! Moms or other grownups-in-charge can either visit with one another within view of the music room or participate, depending on your and your child’s preference. Pricing is here.

Young children dancingContact Teresa at any time here with your interest in joining in these enjoyable, interest-based private lessons and music-making sessions!

A philosophy of music education

Singing funIntroduction

Music and children have been two central themes in my beautiful life, so I’m thrilled to begin articulating my point of view as a music educator. In case you don’t know, we’re at a critical juncture, at least here in Southern California, where arts programming has been of late and remains either scarce or at best vulnerable, and where new catch phrases like “arts integration” are currently going down the wrong road, minus substantive input from seasoned arts specialists. It’s essential that we re-focus on time-tested approaches to excellence in arts programming and commit to new ones grounded in what we know. So this piece is, as much as a philosophy statement, a defense of consistent, truly collaborative models for music and arts education.

First, very importantly, my approach is, yes, fundamentally integrative. I don’t want the term to become a pejorative! My natural, joyful focus is on providing avenues through which children and young people can express themselves, build musical skills, and perhaps catch the expressive “bug”, with its happy itch for deeper musical exploration, while meanwhile benefiting from the musical elaboration of all kinds of curricular themes. This translates to endless excitement, for my students and for me.

ricardo-in-belizeI’ll also declare here that I’m a generalist, a term I was introduced to beautifully a decade or so ago by my gifted architect/artist collaborator Ricardo Accorsi. (More about the relationship between architecture and music someday, with pleasure.) As a generalist, I provide opportunities to challenge and enrich all students, not just the most musical ones. It’s a privilege, and amazing terrain: the positive energy, playfulness, openness, curiosity, and courage of children. They teach, lighten, inspire, and delight me daily. So, with this background info as context, I’ll share an overarching educational philosophy that rings true to me these days, within which I’m passionate about integrating music, the arts, and more.

Individualized Learning for Individual Learners

I think about how many times a new declaration of what to teach and test has been made in recent years. In the midst of it all, and armed with everything I’ve learned since my own early childhood, through teaching, and in raising my three grown sons, it seems to me now that everything comes down to individual learners, to who they each are and what makes each one tick, to going deep into projects that interest them as fulcrums through which all kinds of learning can occur, including critical thinking, analysis, research, synthesis, expository and creative writing, and substantive exposure to relevant technologies.

Primary school children making music in Tower Hamlets.

More than three decades into my life as a mother and educator, this individualized focus feels absolutely right to me now, for our time, for our 21st century learners. Its differences from “one size fits all” models are challenging, but it’s also a pragmatic approach, potentially rigorous, and inherently meaningful to each student, facilitating lived experiences of the relationship between personal interests, personal responsibility, and satisfying outcomes. And of course this looks very different in kindergarten than in high school! These days I’m passionately exploring the relationship between an individualized educational vision and curriculum development, the roles of the arts in that “marriage”, and the exciting process of constantly crafting—based on actual, individual learners—relevant learning objectives and outcomes in which students have the chance to assess their own progress.

I’m also intrigued these days by little ones who exercise ever more effortless natural capabilities to use smart devices. Clearly something revolutionary is afoot regarding the human experience and technology. Clearly a 21st century education must include creative efforts to connect our students’ studies to their larger lives, and to anticipate and prepare them for the ways they’ll live and work in the future.

Roles of the Arts

Let’s face it, my friends, it’s a “no-brainer” now, pun intended: we know that consistent, sequential musical studies in childhood enhance neurological, motor, and social development. And there’s a bonus prize: music and the arts can very enjoyably enliven and express all kinds of educational content! I’ll share two related beliefs of mine that I find especially inspiring:

1. All of childhood isn’t preparation for adulthood. Children, young people, and their families deserve and relish arts experiences as unforgettable life events in their own right, beyond any other inherent value.

2. Arts experiences do in fact prepare children and young people for the future, with all kinds of physical, intellectual, and psychological benefits.

Stop. Read those two statements again. Really, take a moment. Compelling, yes?

So I believe that children and young people have a fundamental human right to consistent exposure to arts disciplines and experiences, with schools one natural bastion of arts awareness and development. I say there’s nothing like the creative “buzz” that vibrant arts programs generate in schools in which they’re accessible to all students, rather than to a specialized few, and especially when they support and express curricular themes.

An Integrative, Experiential Approach to Music Education

From a movement piece demonstrating the life cycle of a butterfly, to a group rap and dance about simple machines, to a student-written song based on Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, to a dramatized piece by down-and-out gold miners, weaving curricular themes into music instruction is win-win-win! And again, there’s a buzz that builds school-wide in the process of creating and preparing to share these kinds of experiences. The ante is upped again when we include in the mix the visual arts, poetry and other literary arts, movement, and theater. And we truly strike creative gold when we go even deeper, to a focused intent to integrate the sciences, math, and technology. More on this auspicious approach shortly.

Looks like a blast!Meanwhile, in my view all children are musicians, just as they’re scientists, builders, storytellers, and artists. Some make straighter lines than others care to, and include more—and more fantastical—details, but I believe the impetus is innate in children to explore the world through their voices, bodies, and imaginations, through evocative objects and media, whether with gusto or quietly, with others or alone. Just as we introduce children to wholesome foods that nourish them, to stories and images that inspire them, and to concepts that whet their natural appetites for more, they deserve to hear, sing, play, create, and move to music that resonates with them and encourages access to the whole of their emotional range. Yes, anger could be expressed like this, and sadness like that, and joy, and fear, and surprise, and silliness, and grouchiness, and tenderness, and… fun!

Music is logical, too, and mathematical, and a language, and a way of building or constructing, much like playing with blocks or clay, all of which children love discovering. They deserve musical experiences that are harmonically, melodically and thematically age-appropriate, while also not ‘”dumbed down”, but rather intentionally chosen and crafted to develop their minds, voices, gross and fine motor skills, and much more.

All of childhood isn’t preparation for adulthood. Children, young people, and their families deserve and relish arts experiences as unforgettable life events in their own right, beyond any other inherent value.

And again, continuing brain research on musical training in childhood indicates increased auditory and verbal memory, enhanced language-based learning skills, and augmented connections between the motor and sensory regions of the brain that have lifelong implications. Children’s authentic musical experiences encourage them to expand their sense of themselves, of their bodies in space, of what individuals can do alone—I tapped the rhythm/sang that line!—and together—we did the work and saw it through! Do you suddenly flash on an unforgettable childhood experience of yours, or your child’s?

Music and Movement – a Happy Marriage

Kids and hiphopI think it’s deeply significant that music naturally engages the body. Children of all personality types and temperaments are ever ready to move to its rhythms, from school to home and home to school, humming as they wiggle-dance in the grocery store check-out line, playing eons-old music games spontaneously on the playground, making big beats as they smash bubbles in the bath and laugh, laugh, laugh. So these days I’m more and more intentional about an integrative approach to music and movement, toward keeping children healthy and happy, enjoying the present, and developing and relating holistically.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

Working at cello

As in the rest of school and life, some children work at music, motivated to master concepts and skills, valuing the content and thus their own efforts toward satisfying progress. Some just want the fun of music, thank you very much, and are primed to learn through their enjoyment if we can catch their vibe: two times ooooone is two. (Rest.) Woooo! Some are moved by the togetherness of musical experiences; some want the separateness of playing distinct parts and characters. Some who challenge us hour by hour with their drive to do and be to the max will readily channel all that energy and intensity into the musical experiences that we facilitate.

STEAM as a Collaborative Model

In my experience so far, the new buzz phrase and acronym STEAM—adding the Arts to an intention to stress Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math—is a holistic mindset that impacts use of human resources, schedule, and technology, and in which creative collaboration across disciplines is the critical puzzle piece. There’s that buzz again, born of truly integrating the arts into potentially rigorous STEM programming. Resulting projects and experiences are fresh, relevant, engaging, and can run the gamut from small, daily, and micro to yearlong, school-wide themes and explorations. For me, again, that’s win-win-win… win!

And there’s a proviso: collaborations between arts and sciences specialists and classroom teachers must, must, must be real, with time taken for buy-in, team-building, and helpful structural changes. This process takes time, and requires support, encouragement, and incentives from administration and the school community. It’s a sea change, which takes extra fuel to propel, and teacher life force is a precious commodity. They—we—need practical and emotional support as we work to catch the wave. Once on, it’s a very, very satisfying ride. And I believe the second year is the pay-off, so continuity and commitment are key as well. In any new collaborative exploration, have at least a 2-year plan.

Music Education as a Human Right

These days, with so much that I want to do within the limits of time, resources, and an ever-wider body of musical knowledge and multi-cultural awareness, I prioritize rich experiences over more abstract forms of instruction, and I strive to deepen and broaden them in collaboration with classroom teachers and arts and sciences specialists. I’ll declare explicitly here that I want these evocative arts experiences available to all children in 21st century, civilized societies, no matter the neighborhood, type of school, or set of overarching educational values. And not seasonally, or once in a while, and not managed by overworked music and arts specialists whose fragmented responsibilities aren’t sustainable.

I say let’s ensure that all of our natural young musicians are consistently engaged musically, in age-appropriate ways, without downgrading music programming to communal kid-sitting or only offering it to a select, talented few. And in societies that do lip service to valuing the arts, let’s fund, support, and cherish arts educators as the “artist-teachers in residence” that they in fact are.

Arts experiences… prepare children and young people for the future, with all kinds of physical, intellectual, and psychological benefits.

And again, let’s risk new, collaborative models, in which the work of children and young people is enlivened by opportunities to explore and integrate musical elements into academic studies and goals. Through experiences combining speech, song, body percussion, pitched and un-pitched instruments, story, drama, improvisation, movement, and curriculum-driven and interest-based themes, let’s truly facilitate artistic self-expression in childhood, and then reflect on and celebrate what children create as individuals and in collaboration, what they share in school and in the larger community, what they enjoy just for themselves and with one another. Let’s demonstrate, with substantive music and arts programming in integrative formats, our commitment to fostering children and young people to be their deepest creative selves—like continuing to love learning—for life.

Rock guitaristFinally, two more critical points: first, from that integrative foundation, let’s encourage children and young people to pursue musical interests, aptitudes, and careers that they discover along the way, and facilitate their connections to appropriate expert mentors. And very, very importantly, my dears, let’s make “grownup time” to experience and support the arts, and to continue expressing ourselves, growing and risking as artists or in whatever ways keep us happy, healthy, and continuing to develop and thrive in our own balanced, enjoyable 21st century lives. A Philosophy of Music Education coverLet’s practice what we preach, and model healthy pursuit of the deep creative satisfaction that we want for our children. Whew. Gotta go get at all that, here in the beautiful summer of 2014! Thanks for reading, and for your interest in music and arts education. Please share your experiences, insights and feedback with me here! Also, I’ve published this piece on Amazon and would greatly appreciate your review there.

Warmest,
Teresa

 

Welcome to summer!

Summer post pic 1Ahhhhh. Summer! The time has arrived to hang up my teacher hat for a while and jam out on my other multiple passions. First and foremost is a return to balance, in ratio of unstructured to structured time, and to the quality of self-care that comes with a balanced daily, weekly and monthly schedule. It’s rejuvenation time.

Next up, again, time—it’ll be a summer theme—to connect with family and friends. Kevin and I are in Denver for a couple of weeks, relaxing (fantastic!) and visiting with his family. And I have important experiences coming up with loved ones in New York and Florida. I’m always excited to feed my wanderlust while getting to be with my people!

Summer post pic 3Meanwhile, for me, relaxing is, well, an interesting word. Or should I say I have an interesting approach. I get it from my mom, who was a bit of a whirling dervish during my childhood. I’ll continue working on my second poetry compilation, get a new tune list together for making some “grownup music”, cogitate on other business and creative ventures, and explore and share all the summer foods and experiences that I love.

One bit of sharing that I’m looking forward to doing here relates to my philosophy of music education. My last few summers have included lots of amazing training. This summer I’ll skip all that. I just want time—have I mentioned time yet?—to reflect on everything that I’m passionate about in facilitating the musical lives of children and young people. Woooo! Glorious summer ensues.

 

That Thirst

Working on a new...It’s a thirst,
the ache that we unearth
from time to time, or often,
suddenly, eons old,
and forever. But no,
we can learn
to plumb under it, through it,
asking, what?
What do you want?

The essential thing—
the most freeing-for-aliveness
truth that I now know—
is that each of us is, dear ones,
in truth,
never,
ever
totally
alone.
So,
tonight,
that’s all I know.

It gives me
what I need. It goes,
for me, from here, like this:
Take your sweetness, solace, joy,
fulfillment,
and wise counsel
where you find them,
where they find you.
Drink deeply then.

Harbor zero expectations
for the rest, for any moment,
friend, lover,
other.
Work hard.
Be kind.
Prime your own well.
And relish that thirst.
It’s for life.

 

When Darkness Falls

Working on a new...My darlings, I suspect that darkness
truly is the grist that grinds us
on down to our finest, far past
what we’ve known. At times we really must

just inch our way blind down midnight roads,
find footholds at moonless junctures,
own our aloneness. Yet we also hold
others and are held within love’s structures

that we’ve cobbled day by day,
north, south, east and west of trouble,
and that will succor us in new ways
if we will only learn to suckle

on those who love us, from pale cadets
to wizened elder statesmen with
whom we only thought to intersect
in small talk, not in stark new truths

that we must also, yes, suspect.
Yes. Yes! Let’s seize today to make
of it what we will, and forget
should have, could have. Let’s take

each gift of goodness, truth, and beauty all
the way to whatever’s next with those
we love. Let’s plan this season’s art and call
on every beating heart disposed

to share in what we’ll craft. We’ll risk
the simple happiness that we still
imagine, will perhaps otherwise miss,
and can perhaps take with us past all this.

Busy, busy, busy! And happy about NaPoWriMo…

May is half spent and I’m just writing a follow-up to NaPoWriMo, but don’t be fooled by my tardiness; I loved it. I didn’t come anywhere near a poem a day, got too busy near the end of the month to invest any time at all, and didn’t post everything I wrote, and that’s all just fine with me. I’m always moved and amazed by the fact that when we—I’m in the mood to use the collective here—actually set aside the time to write, well, writing ensues! And it’s one of the experiences in life for me. So why not write more often, more consistently, with more purpose? Great, great questions. Lovely weather we’re having. (Uh huh.)

GeraniumI’ll also admit that it was a rather heavy month for me, which the poems helped me to process. A lot going on with family, news of a dear friend’s health challenge. And that’s life, right? I want to post one more poem that I worked on during NaPoWriMo, and I’ll do that soon. Meanwhile, I’ll close out this particular project while waiting for clarity on what’s next here.

It’s time to make some summer travel plans, for one thing, which will mean tiiiiiiime to write that I haven’t had since last August. Sounds delicious! We’ll see.