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STRONG in VOICE WHEN SINGING

Last weekend, I traveled with 30 + Unitarian ‘sisters,’ to retreat at Rainbow Lodge for the annual women’s retreat.  My bodyspirit was tired, but as soon as I headed out past Issaquah, I cranked up the music in the car, and I felt the cares lift.  I led the opening session of our retreat, “CREATE, PLAY, REST: Sharing Our Self-Nurturing Practices for Life,” and we began, naturally, with a song. When I lead others in song, I feel strong in my voice. I know the pleasure of making music with others, and music’s capacity to gather people in a moment’s time for celebration and connection.

On Saturday, I took an early morning walk out along the trail, close to a gushing, babbling brook.  Though it was chilly, the sun’s warmth was just right.  And then, the idea just popped into my head.  I should invite others to come out here with me after lunch, and sing in the sun.  I extended the invitation at lunch, and 6 brave souls gathered with me.  I taught them a ‘layered,’ song by Velma Frye, where a phrase is repeated, and then another phrase is layered on top.  “Set the clock of your heart,” the first group held as our foundation.  “Breathe in the dawn,” the next group joined. “Lift high the chalice of your life, taste the joy the joy of being awake,” I rang out as the third voice. The song spun out of us, flowing from the root of our hearts, out into that wooded space.  It was created in a moment, and then, it was over.  Just like that.

CONSERVING THE BLESSING: Take 2

Ordain Candle - Harriet Platts

In Honor of the Blessing

Even through all the sorting, releasing, and theological deconstructing of the last decade, I’m conserving the blessing of my ordination offered to me by the Crescent Hill Baptist Church community in Louisville, KY, 19 years ago, March 20th. This blessing was offered in faith, that I would continue along my path of conducting a free and responsible search for truth and meaning, encouraging me to love my self well, and to work compassionately in the pastoral care of others, with Jesus as an inspiration and teacher.  Though I no longer call “Baptist” home, it is with a deep heart of gratitude that I continue to serve in a multifaith ministry role as a hospice chaplain, with my best intentions of embodying the “beacon of freedom’s light,” for all those I have the privilege of serving.

Ordination Blessing

May God bless you with the myriad colors of Her playful wisdom, teaching you to honor the best that is within you, and to carry the beacon of freedom’s light to Her people everywhere.

 

LIGHTS ON! Arts/Inquiry-Based Spiritual Care

Welcome to my new website!  I am doing something here that feels a bit risky in that I am showing you how I am creating through service.  I want to introduce a picture of what arts/inquiry-based spiritual care can look like, and how it is emerging in my practice.  Obviously, the words will too often come up short in translating what can best be experienced directly, but I’m too curious to give up trying.

I am a classically trained, experienced chaplain. Throughout my career, I have served in healthcare, educational and faith institutions, undergoing significant change and transition.  Some of my best work has been right at the intersections of change, where I stand with colleagues in solidarity and support, as we seek ways to lead in integrity with our shared vision-passion for serving others with distinction.  The unfolding path of ministry is providing opportunity to witness and to participate in co-creating and nurturing artful, soulful ways to serve in the world.

Thank you for your interest!  I welcome hearing from you!

April InterPlay Classes at University Unitarian Church

"Restoring Your PLAY Factor:  Introduction to InterPlay"

“Restoring Your PLAY Factor: Introduction to InterPlay”

Restoring your PLAY factor: Introduction to InterPlay

Play increases flexibility, spontaneity, and wonder! In these classes, you’ll be introduced to user-friendly play forms and body wisdom tools from the system of InterPlay.   Both a creative process and philosophy, InterPlay supports people returning to more natural, easeful states in their bodies through movement, storytelling, singing, and just being. This allows for lightness of spirit, better use of energy, and greater sense of wellbeing.

Explore in a supportive community what your body can do –  stretching, breathing, moving your hand in a dance, 3-sentence stories, fake tap dancing, connecting with others,…and in the process, create REAL possibilities for your body, mind, heart and spirit to work together again!

Date/Time Tuesdays, April 7th and 16th, from 7-9 pm.

Location:  University Unitarian Church

6556 35th Ave. NE

Seattle, WA  98115

Cost for Non-Church Members:  $30 for both classes, paid to UUC when registering;

Limited registration to outside participants (6 slots);  Contact University Unitarian Church office, M-F,  at 206-525-8400.

You may download a flier here

 

WHEN TIRED BODIES RISE UP

A couple of weeks ago, I led a sing-along at the annual staff recognition gathering where I work. Honestly, even though I’ve done this kind of thing before, I always feel nervous, because I want to bring something that’s fresh and engaging, and I wonder if I’ll figure out what needs to come forward. As I anticipated this, I was clear that singing traditional holiday tunes would not cut it given the recent challenging times with my colleagues. What would we sing? As I began preparing, I found myself thumbing through the pages of the Unitarian hymnal, “Living Traditions,” an inclusive collection of songs and readings, and was drawn to the song, “Guide My Feet.” I had an immediate energetic hit in my bodyspirit because I could imagine this group doing this, even more, I could imagine the group up on their feet.

After we sang a familiar song to warm-up our voices, I invited the group to stand, and they popped up, surprisingly, with great relief. “Take a step to the right, and then a step back to the left,” I invited them to follow. And there we were, stepping to the right, and then to the left, the sound of unison movement. I invited them to listen to the sound of stepping with their friends and colleagues. The steady rhythm of the simple march, felt soothing in my body. They were smiling, in sway together.

“Guide my feet, while I run this race. Guide my feet, while I run this race. Guide my feet, while I run this race, for I don’t want to run this race in vane.”

 

VOCAL ROOTS: PART 1

I have been reflecting on early ‘root story,’ messages and experiences about voice.

I could talk about:

• Hearing my grandmother’s voice through the bedroom walls at night as she read scripture aloud to my grandfather before retiring to sleep
• As an 8 y/o asking my father during the singing of the last hymn what to say when I went to greet the preacher to tell him I wanted to be a Christian
• Having very few memories of hearing women in my life pray or say grace when I was growing up, as it was the job of men

Remembering early of my voice, other’s, and the implied messaging about what’s to be said, and who’s to say it, I am immediately struck with the missing, quiet voices, my mother’s in particular. While she was present in my life, she was also reserve – private in her verbal expressions of love and faith. What I’m also noticing, with relief, is that I was very curious by nature (even nosey, according to an uncle).

VOICE INQUIRY UNDERWAY

At the turn of the fall equinox, I launched an intentional year-long inquiry about VOICE, mine, yours, ours, … literally, and metaphorically. This idea surfaced as a focus following a powerful experience in an InterPlay Voice Workshop with Trish Watts, in June 2012, where I was lit with the idea of the embodiment of voice. This voice workshop occurred only a few months after returning from Australia, where I had the blessed fortune of traveling with my friend – teacher, Cynthia Winton-Henry, and discovered on a deep body level that I was living safely within the scope of my gifts and talents. I was called OUT! I didn’t know what would happen when I made the private confessional prayer of saying, “I’ve lived like this, now what?!” The invitations began to come from diverse people and places, to come and present, to sing, to teach, to lead. I felt invited to the edge of what I thought I could and couldn’t do, and this journey continues. Honestly, for the first time in my life, I AM standing in my own authentic voice, and I want to create from this place.