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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.

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.”