Readers of my story in Chicken Soup, "Breathe," have asked why one must work so hard to learn to sing. Here is my response:
We learn a physical discipline so the soul is free to express itself.
As practitioners of yoga and tai chi are learning, the spiritual is often found in the physical. Dedicated singers have always experienced this.
In vocal study, you discover that the human body is an independent instrument. A portal between the interior universe and the cosmos.
This discipline dovetails beautifully with Animal Communication. Because I am able to listen to the finest internal nuance as well as be comfortable in silence, my consciousness has room to receive animal voices. They ring as clear and true as a cascade of pure notes.
I was fascinated to learn from Southern gospel and bluegrass singers, that in some churches, musical instruments are forbidden. This is so they may not interfere with the bodily instrument, known as the Sacred Harp.
Once I learned solid techniques to access this sense of sacredness, as well as the discipline to practice, I fell deeply in love with my own voice.
New Orleans Dirty Dozen
Photo: Slice of Life
Director: Dr. Trevor Payne
is a way to inform each other of our deepest needs, feelings and our
history. Of our interdependence not only with each other, but with all
species and the cosmos. Story defines and binds together community by
revealing how we are alike and yet each unique.
It instructs by bringing
humour and understanding to unbearable situations, bridging disturbing
paradox and suggesting creative solutions to emotionally charged
Storytelling is a way to simultaneously explicitly describe and leave unsaid the Mystery; that which brings us into being, animates us, moves between us and causes our deaths.
the core of every classic myth, Biblical lesson, modern novel and movie
is story. For thousands of years, African storytellers called griots
have recited tales of tribal history that span days. This tradition
comes to us in Blues and Gospel music.
Jesus of Nazareth is probably the
best known storyteller in history; would we still be recounting his
legend if he had presented a list of facts instead of mesmerizing
Through the Middle Ages and Renaissance, travelling
storytellers known as minstrels enlightened
isolated European villages to both mundane details of others' lives and
vital political information with life or death implications. In my
homeland of Ukraine, these people were known as kobzari. The information they shared was considered so vital, Stalin had them rounded up and executed.
The shock of this discovery led me to write down and start telling the stories related to me by European survivors of Stalin and Hitler, including my own family.
contemporary culture, sharing stories from the heart is a powerful
remedy for the electronic fast fact, the cult of celebrity and media
Storytelling reminds us of the beautiful complexity of being human.
©2006 Raisa Stone. May not be reproduced in any form without written permission.
Baba's Kitchen: Ukrainian Soul Food with Stories From the Village is available here.