As a child, I really loved church. I loved the feeling of devotion, especially when I was singing. My song became my prayer. It was my practice of devotion, my meditation and my strength. Ave Maria can still bring me to awe inspired, grateful tears. Singing was my Bhakti yoga practice. My devotional yoga, only I didn’t know that was what I was doing. I didn’t know that language…yet. I sang at church and in musicals (including Glinda the Good Witch in the Wizard of Oz and Nancy in Oliver.) Many times throughout my life, song carried me through.
My last Christmas I had with my brother, I sang. The song was Father God by Connie Scott. It is a devotional song that reflected where I was on my Spiritual journey. I hadn’t sung for years and it was a great surprise for my family. With the death of my brother, my song became quieter. And as my life journeyed on, I stopped singing. I was angry and frustrated and I fell away from my devotional practice.
Then…15 years ago, I discovered meditation. My first real practice was Getting in the Gap with Dr. Wayne Dyer. I learned how to fall into the stillness between the words of the Lord’s Prayer coupled with the drone of the sound of ah. Next came the 21 Day Mediation Experiences with Deepak Chopra and Oprah. The discovery of mantra meditation and the sound of Sanskrit changed my life. Those meditations were like oxygen in my blood. They brought back to life the devotional practice that I had fallen away from so long ago. Eight years ago, while recovering from Crohn’s disease, I meditated many times a day. I meditated when I was afraid, when I thought I wasn’t strong enough, when I was grateful and when I began to live again. I started listening to my favourite hymns again…quietly humming along…daring to trust…daring to sing again.
In the beginning, courage is a delicate trait…and as I courageously sang with a group of people, an innocent giggle from a friend when I may not have hit the “right” note…I shut my mouth. I wasn’t yet strong enough to “free myself from the kind opinion of other people.” I would then whisper sing or sing quietly under my breath. I marveled at how my daughter found her voice and even took a vocal course in high school. I longed to sing again. I was stuck.
Then…I went to a day retreat with Tony Murdock and Brenda McMorrow. On the poster was a picture with her in Maui with Ram Dass. “Cool!” I thought.
So I signed up…not even knowing what it was about. I went with a couple of friends. Awkwardly, I focused on the word sheet and began the call and response format that Brenda used…still very, very afraid…of what, I am not sure. Trusting myself maybe? Deeper yet…trusting God again? Something magical happened that day…in the various songs…like prayers…it was if something that was broken inside of my Soul…in my Spirit was healed. Just. Like. That. My devotional practice…my Bhakti practice…the flame was ignited. I left that workshop so excited. I was trying to explain the way Brenda taught to Michael (my love) and I was singing out of tune and off key and I didn’t care. Michael is a musician and I must have sounded so funny…trying sing and pronounce words in another language and I still didn’t care how foolish I may have sounded. I also left with something else that day– Brenda’s contact information. I wanted people to experience what I did that day. I learned that Brenda has performed all over the world. She has just released her fifth cd.
One of her songs, O Amado, had particularly touched my heart. I have used it as my powerful prayer in difficult situations.
I have even sung parts of it while teaching a yoga class. Talking about that song still brings me to tears…awe inspired, grateful tears.
I want to bring life changing experiences for people. When I experience new things, I want to share what I have learned.
Brenda is coming to the Yoga Centre to teach a workshop. I wanted to share my experience with those of you who feel called to attend.
If you feel stuck or maybe disconnected, this may be one of the keys of you. Thank you for reading my story.
Much love, respect and awe inspiring, grateful tears!