Music As Medicine In Our Time
"Music As Medicine In Our Time" is a workshop program I designed that comes out of my 8 years of study with the environmental activist and profound elder Joanna Macy. In these workshops I lead groups through an intimate experience with the Work That Reconnects (WTR), a dynamic, interactive body of work developed by Macy, inspired by her own scholarship in systems theory, deep ecology, and Buddhism as well as more than fifty years of international activism. Through re-invigorating our energy for action and resiliency, this work has helped thousands of people to engage in the Great Turning, the transition to a life-sustaining society and the essential adventure of our time. By speaking openly and honestly about the challenges currently facing our species, and by acknowledging the grief, anger, paralysis, apathy, and fear we may feel, we begin metabolizing these often overwhelming emotions into the profound care for all of life from which they stem. Such metabolization brings us into deeper communion with our world.
Hearts opened by grief and celebration want to sing their songs of longing, despair, reckoning, valiance, belonging, and gentle loving-kindness. Communities have come together to make music for millennia, keeping their spirits strong and nourished through hard times, while also celebrating the gifts of life. Together we hold a space that can heal the wounds inhibiting our ability to make music, learning both technically and emotionally how to free our voices into song. These workshops are open to music-makers of all levels. Singing in a council of friends is one of the most healthful, encouraging, invigorating, and nourishing things we can do.
In past workshops I have partnered with different artists and music groups such as Rising Appalachia, MaMuse, and singer/songwriter Ayla Nereo. We explored songs passed down through generations to uplift and nourish, while drawing from international cultures, the Civil Rights movement, medicine songs, and improvisational experimentation.
This workshop was first pioneered in June 2015 with Penny Livingston at the Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas, CA. Penny has contributed her own gifts to the workshops, guiding participants to experience their deep connections with Mother Earth, as we combine together the healing interconnectivity of land, community, food for the mind, emotional holding, practices of solidarity, and music. These offerings can be adapted into 90 minute experiential workshops or multi-day retreats. They have the power to nourish our hearts and minds and to keep our communities strong during this pivotal time on Earth.