I was going away to spend eight days having committed to participating in a Sacred Sound Workshop. The location, a place called Nature Bridge in Washington State, where we would stay in log cabins surrounded by old growth forest. And, adding to the mystery of the forest, a glacial fed lake, Lake Crescent.
Excited and somewhat nervous, I boarded the first of three aeroplanes on the long haul into the northern hemisphere. During the flight, I had plenty of time to reflect on why would I embark on such a journey, why choose sacred sound?
As a child I loved the sound of the human voice. As that child I would sit on my African nannies lap and be rocked to sleep by her resonant singing, my head flopped between her ample breasts, her thudding heart accompaniment.
My journey had begun and challenges followed aplenty. But, you know overall, they became an inherent facet of the trip. When an airline decided to cancel a flight, in fact all flights that day, chaos ensued, hundreds of us left stranded. For eight hours the drama continued, the kindness of people provided stark counterpoint. I ordered a coffee and someone spontaneously paid for it. I needed to phone and another offered me their phone. The list is long and filled with generosity.
I finally arrived at my destination. Standing beside Lake Crescent, a timeless world of sacred sound reared around me. The thickly wooded mountains rose straight out of crystal clear waters, the trees impossibly tall. My words of gratitude tumbled across the quiet scene.
First day. A lone voice rang into the classroom, its tone haunting, provocative, soulful, startling me momentarily. I had just met Vickie Dodd. A slender woman swayed, lost in powerful, spontaneous sounding.
I didn’t know what I had actually come for, only knew I wanted to be there, to learn – so I thought. “The body knows”. The body knows were words Vickie repeated myriad times! I realised I had come to learn what I already knew, the wisdom and perfection of the human body.
What is meant by sounding the human body? Come walk amongst stately forest, for, it was there I heard a profound truth. Come with me…
“The trees rise, covered in hoary moss that hangs beardlike. You walk among ancient pine and cedar tree. In some instances all that remains of them is a gigantic stump yet they make you stop. Listening as you are stopped, the air is filled in an otherworldly hum. And you realise it is the trees communicating one with another; they never ceased to emanate with powerful presence. Incrementally you relax, your whole being expands; your breath mingles with tree and tree-breath mingles in you.”
The trees silently taught me – “We stand alone but work in partnership. Stay strongly in your core, let life come to you. Listen. Wait. Watch. Let.”
Through listening, I began to hear my own unique body sound, every body part letting me in on what it had to say. And, as I sounded my body, I learned we are not here to fix ourselves nor another person. In sounding, we provide an opening in which self or another’s body reconfigures itself. The body knows balance instinctively. All we do is hook back into this balanced state by letting.
The following day proved life changing for me – and all I had to do was relax my jaw, hold my chin horizontal to the floor. That’ll fix me? Yea right, my mind went. Why don’t you tell me how to relax this pain in my neck? Silently Vickie put her finger to her lips. Shh she said wordlessly.
I now face life, walk into life, eyes wide, shoulders relaxed, throat open, able to speak my Truth into the world. My chest too expanded in those moments, my heart space opened, telling me all is well, all as it should be. That’s it I thought, I can go home now. I’ve arrived … Hmm.
On the third day, we were doing an exercise called emptying. I was aware that Vickie was both ignoring me, simultaneously watching me from her inner place. Her unspoken message floated in the space between us, the way I had noticed the trees doing. Instinctively, I began shifting my weight from foot to foot pushing down into the earth. Within moments I felt plugged in, understood that Mother Earth truly supported me and that it was through my feet I returned my gifts into her.
The last four days were spent camping in Klahowya old growth forest. Sleeping in the midst of ancient tree, lying on the land in such pristine environment, I felt myself slide into relationship with my surrounds. An unspoken deepening of love amongst those of us who camped together occurred.
I remembered the innate knowing I had when a child, a felt knowing of Oneness with Creator. I have returned to the land of Oz renewed, knowing Oneness once more, ready to share with all who come into my world. Now each day I practice sounding, my body is enlivened, become spacious, my blood flows richly.
Listen, do you hear it? It is wind water air earth and fire silently singing you!