Student Recording: “Clover’s Dream” by Andrea Cortez

Here’s Andrea’s sweet Clover, muse and inspiration.

Although Andrea was my student, her playing is far from elementary. I hope you enjoy her beautiful composition, inspired by her dog, Clover!

Music Brings Us Alive, Brings Us Back from Death, Restores Us

Neuroscientist Oliver Sacks says that music brings us alive. Here’s a beautiful example of that. If you’re a musician, be sure to stay to the end…

Receiving Reiki from Nature: Our Planet Earth

A Reiki treatment doesn’t have to come from a practitioner, though that is nice. Reiki comes from the natural motion of the universe. By just enjoying the variety of Nature, you are entering into the flow where Reiki comes from.

So if you can’t get to the beach or the desert today, here’s a bit coming to visit you at your computer.

Namaste: What does it mean?

I recently received this email from a friend, and felt the deep peace and calm that accompanied these words. This is also what Reiki feels like to me…

I honor the Place in You in which the entire Universe dwells.
I honor the Place in You which is of love, of truth, of light and of peace.
When you are in that Place in You and I am in that Place in me, we are One.

Intention Used to Return Cancer Cells to Natural Order

Recently, my friend Jan Adrian, founder of Healing Journeys, blogged about her most recent experiments with treating her own cancer. She writes:

In Lynne McTaggart’s book, The Intention Experiment, she describes several experiments that were done on healing cancer cells. One intention was to destroy the cancer cells; another intention was to acquiesce to God’s Will without a specific result or request being made; another intention was to fully accept the cancer cells exactly at they were. And finally, there was an experiment that was about requesting the cells return to their natural order.

What the researchers found was the intentions that were about acceptance of the situation or acquiescing to God’s Will had NO effect on the cancer cells. The intention to destroy the cells produced a small reduction in the number of cancer cells. However, the most effective intention in these experiments was the intent to return the cells to their natural order as described here:

The most effective healing intention has been framed as request, combined with a highly specific visualization of the outcome, but not necessarily a destructive one. With healing, the most effective approach may be not to destroy the source of the illness, but, as with other forms of intention, to move aside, let go of the outcome, and allow a greater intelligence to restore order.~ page 152 of The Intention Experiment, by Lynn McTaggart.”

Head to your heart as often as you can…

‎”In our deepest moments of struggle, frustration, fear, and confusion, we are being called upon to reach in and touch our hearts. Then, we will know what to do, what to say, how to be. What is right is always in our deepest heart of hearts. It is from the deepest part of our hearts that we are capable of reaching out and touching another human being.” – Roberta Sage Hamilton

Program lets students share their talents, take patients’ focus off of stay in hospital


And for stress relief, some say there’s nothing like the calming notes of harps.

Champaign harp teacher Leila Ramagopal and some of her young harp students brought their music to the patients and families on Carle Foundation Hospital’s pediatric’s floor Wednesday. It was the third time the Healing Harps ensemble — first launched at Next Generation School — has performed for the hospital’s sick kids, Carle child life specialist Doey Gordon said.

“It’s amazing,” Gordon said. “It’s incredibly soothing for them. It’s so calming. It kind of melts their stress away a little bit.”

There’s more than a little bit of stress going on for those young patients and their families.

“If they’re brought to the hospital and they’re staying overnight, it’s an acute illness or injury that they’re here for,” she said. “Our hospital is for serious things that are going on.”

Ramagopal is the former music director at Next Generation, a private school in Champaign for babies through eighth-graders, and her harp ensemble grew out of an after-school harp program, she said. She now teaches private music lessons in her home, but some of the Next Generation students remain in her harp ensemble for kids and teens.

Ramagopal said listening to music engages the whole brain, and harp music seems to draw an immediate emotional and physiological response of captivation and calm.

“What we find when people are listening to harp music is their breathing rate slows down, and there is increased focus and also heightened awareness,” she said.

Does it matter what piece of music is being played? Not really, Ramagopal said.

She used to play the harp for students at Next Generation when she taught there and was amazed at how students would respond. It’s more timbre and resonance of the instrument than selection of music, she said.

The effect seems to be equal on children and adults alike.

And dogs.

Her own dog is drawn to the harp when she plays, she said.

“Honestly, he will come and sit right by the base of the harp, right where the sound comes out,” she added.

Taking child harpists to play at the hospital is also a valuable part of their learning experience, Ramagopal said.

“We’re learning to give this music, not just play it, not just excel,” she said. “We’re learning that music is one of those things that binds us together as human beings.”

Next Generation has also been donating artwork done by its students to brighten up some areas of the hospital pediatrics unit since 2009 and sent a basket of donated art supplies with money raised from a Valentine’s Day bake sale.

Heart Strings: ‘Music Begins Where Words End’


The gift of music has helped Jerry and Marilyn Wares through some of life’s greatest challenges. Health concerns and the loss of a son guided the couple toward a world of peace and tranquility found in making and playing harps.Photo by Karin Beery

TRAVERSE CITY – Marilyn Wares understands pain and suffering. She and her husband, Jerry, have survived three cancer diagnoses and the death of a son.

The heartache hasn’t crippled them, though. Instead, it guided them toward a world of peace and tranquility found in making and playing harps.

It started years ago as a way for Marilyn to grieve the loss of their son. She’d never taken harp lessons, but something drew her to the instrument. As she played, taking the time to meditate on memories of her lost son, her heart began to heal. Soon she was spending an hour each morning playing the harp.

While Marilyn played, Jerry listened, letting the music soothe his heart as well. He didn’t just sit back and let his wife do all of the work, though. Despite his retirement and arthritis, Jerry decided to try his hand at making the distinctive instruments.

“I started making them slightly after Marilyn bought her first harp,” he said.

Though her instrument was beautiful, it wasn’t the best harp available. Instead of buying another one, Jerry spent a few months doing research before making his very first Gabrielle Harp.

Gabrielle Harps, named after Marilyn and Jerry’s first great-granddaughter, are now available in a variety of sizes and North American hardwoods.

One of the most popular of the Gabrielle harps is the Tranquility Harp – a smaller, hand-held instrument that makes harp playing accessible to everyone.

The Wares designed and create the tranquility harp to help others discover the healing power of music.

“There is something very magical about the sounds from the Gabrielle Tranquility Harp,” said Marilyn. “The joy of hearing and feeling sounds vibrate into your body can be an incredible journey to your inner self.”

Designed for anyone to use, the tranquility harp is tuned to an ancient pentatonic scale so all notes harmonize.

“Even non-musicians can play instantly,” said Marilyn.

They designed the tranquility harp that way to make musical therapy a possibility for everyone.

“Health care advocates will tell you that the two biggest problems in hospitals and senior care facilities are boredom and loneliness,” said Marilyn.

“Music therapy can be very helpful with those problems. The ecstasy that is felt in the moment of creating music can be exhilarating. We designed the Gabrielle Tranquility Harp to fill this need.”

To help introduce people to the harp, Marilyn now offers free classes in Traverse City. She and her husband even provide harps for the attendees.

“My favorite part of the classes is meeting the people,” Marilyn said. “Most of them are in need of some therapy, or just a way to relax.” She believes her harps can help.

“Music has a magical way of captivating, inspiring, energizing, and soothing,” she said. “It may not completely stop us from worrying, but it can temporarily help relieve some of the anxiety.”

The healing power of the harp has done so much for the Wares that they simply want to share the joy of their experiences with others.

“Nothing is better than music,” said Marilyn. “When it takes us out of time, it has done more for us than we have the right to hope for.”

The next Tranquility Harp class will be Saturday, March 3 at 1:30 p.m. in downtown Traverse City. Class size is limited. To register for the session and for specifics on class location, call Marilyn at 231-223-4895.

Creating Calm with Water

This is an article, reprinted from Ann White’s “Creating Calm Within the Chaos”, love the idea of drinking water to soothe the nerves. Our bodies are made of 70% water, so we are returning to ourselves in some way when we drink water.

Thank you, Ann, for this beautiful post.


Creating Calm Tip of the Week: Drink Water

Water.  Yes water.  Water can help create calm.  Let me just share one tip about water this week.  If you find yourself sobbing – I mean the kind of sobbing where you need to grab a bath towel to catch the tears instead of a tissue – get up and go get yourself a class of cool water and start sipping it.  There is something about sipping cool water when you are sobbing that starts to soothe and comfort the soul.

When I work in trauma, and a family just receives tragic news, I will give them a chance to sob, handing tissues, but then, I will excuse myself and bring a glass of cool water – and it helps them balance their sadness.

Water is life sustaining.  It has a healing and soothing energy.  So drinking water is not only good for our bodies daily, but sipping cool water is good for our spirits when we are sad and emotionally wounded.

Be Love ~ In Memory of Kumu Raylene Kawaiaea