One of my favorite genres of music is known as singer-songwriter in which the one who pens the words and vocalizes is also a consummate story teller. The mark of a talented artist is the ability to open doors and windows into a world that has the listener wanting to visit over and over. Denise Moser is such a one as she reveals her frailties and fantasies, fears and triumphs. Her CD is called Here Right Now which is a paradoxical title since many of the songs touch on memory such as the sweetly sentimental I Remember with its tear-inducing lines “I can feel your kiss on my shoulder. I can see your eyes say “My love is the truth.” The opening song, I Believe is her wo-manifesto as she declares: “I believe in winter boots……I believe in deep earth smell and the sound of falling rain. In tripping over my heavy heart. And in gettting up again…..I believe in brown hair turning gray.” The title song is an ode to change and means of Moser claiming all of who she is, her woundings and thrivings as a seasoned woman and the meandering path it took to get her from where she was to where she now stands. Oldest Dream bares her soul to a new love, it seems as she offers transparently “I’m not a perfect girl. I never tried to be. But I’m mostly beautiful. If you know how to see…..I’ll make friends with your ghosts .I’ll make my heart your holy host.”) .” Boy Store is a playful jaunt as she places a special order for the man of her dreams. Moser spills herself wide open as she scribes her Unfinished Song on the blank paper that she calls ‘an old friend’ on which she writes about a deep unfulfilled dream of being a mother. The tune is reminiscent of the hymn written by Robert Lowry How Can I Keep From Singing. Overlapping voices embellish Lucid Dreaming as she speaks of being someplace that is ‘part school’ and yet at first listen, it sounds like she is saying ‘heart school’..maybe it is both. May This House is a prayer of welcome to herself and those who cross the threshold. Moser is in her element in prayer-realm since she is also a cantorial singer at Beth Chaim Reform Congregation in Malvern, Pennsylvania. The closing song Open Space is her God-communion as she sings praises familiarly ” You sure are creative. I like what you’ve done with the place.” and “I believe that what you are is what you’ve always been. I see you best when I look within.” Mark Moss joins her as multi-instrumentalist and back up vocalist.
Moser’s voice is like a familiar friend welcoming you home to yourself.
www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3D-JTh0AFnrrI Here Right Now by Denise Moser
“There is the mud, and there is the lotus that grows out of the mud. We need the mud in order to make the lotus,” Thich Nhat Hanh.
As I am writing, I am waiting for the plumber to ring my doorbell. For better or worse, Mike has become a reliable fixture (no pun intended) since we moved back to Pennsylvania from Hurricane Andrew ravaged South Florida in early 1993. Heaters, clogged drains and in this case, at the moment, a backed up toilet. I got some upper body workout in prep for the gym tonight with the rigorous plunging that only temporarily allowed the water level to lower, only to rise again when flushed. I know that somehow, as he always does, Mike will work his magic and it will flow freely again. I notice a connection between the toilet’s condition and my own backed up thoughts that have me feeling sluggish and stuck. Funny thing is that I have been feeling quite creative today, having just returned from a retreat, scheduling events, writing a new book, an inspiring conversation with my friend Mali Apple who shared wonderful ideas for the book, doing promo, cleaning my house, doing grocery shopping. So, I wonder what this one is about. Financial fears have arisen like the water level, basic survival stuff as essential as letting go of the physiological fecal matter lest we implode. Emotional constipation exists here, as both my son and dear friends Ondreah and Janet remind me that witholding anger in the service of conflict avoidance is just as unhealthy. Old worn out beliefs and clogs. Needing an internal roto rooter, spiritual colonic. In life, we keep the bathroom door shut to do our ‘business’ in private so that no one else is involved with our releasing and relinquishing process. We know that they know what goes on behind the closed door because it is a necessary aspect of their lives too, and yet we pretend in the day to day interactions that we don’t have our own ‘stuff’ to deal with. We do our best to keep it all inside and yet how silly we are in acting as if it just isn’t there. Like most people, I imagine, I want to appear to have my ‘you know what’ together. After all, I erroneously reason, since I teach this stuff, how can it be any other way? And yet, as I am discovering, the more transparent I am able to be, the less likely I am to have emotional backups and will be less likely to need to be snaked out by life happenings.
Mike just left after a few twirls of the snake and by way of explaining the issue, he told me “These low flow toilets need all the help they can get.” as he raised the water level. Here I thought I was being eco-friendly by purchasing that kind of potty and it comes back to ‘bite me in the tush’; metaphorically speaking. For now, I will remember the wise word of Thich Nhat Hanh and take the time to cultivate the mud-flowers in my own life.
Just returned from leading a 5 day retreat on the subject of calling into our lives that which we desire, perhaps in the face of the naysaying thoughts, the old worn out beliefs and the ever so busy monkey mind chattering thoughts. It took every ounce of discipline I had not to succumb to the sometimes overwhelming ‘ imposter syndrome’ ruckus. Wikipedia defines it as a “psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.” Even as I was driving there, I had this nagging feeling that ‘if I haven’t mastered the process, then how in the world would I ever be able to teach it?’ As a transformational teacher I have this facade that I sometimes feel a need to put forth (silly me), when the truth is, people feel a stronger connection when they see authenticity out front first and foremost. I become far more relate-able when I reveal my clay feet, snarky judgements, cave-fears, belly butterflies and temporarily trembling knees. I know I have greater respect for writers and speakers who are willing to strip off the symbolic robes and stand emotionally naked. As a book reviewer, I read tons of books, both for pleasure and critique. I can’t even begin to tell you how many authors have the voice of doubt screeching at them about whether their creation will a huge success or ginormous flop. Here I thought it was just me.
Recently I was speaking with a spiritually practicing yoga teacher, musician, minister friend and we both shared about our frustration with our dual roles of eagerly creative souls and necessary but reluctant business women. The first part comes naturally, the second with dragging feet, leaving trenches in the dirt. She commented that even in the midst of enjoying hearing other kirtan artists, she is thinking about how she can perform the song. Hmmmm….familiar to this wordsmith who in the midst of enjoying…whatever….I am thinking how I can write about it. Is there a way out of that goofy thought process? She also pointed out the paradox that doing the biz part of her right livelihood work in the world, feels like it pulls her out of the deeply spiritual connection she has. I am learning that they are not mutually exclusive. What if all of the details are a spiritual practice in an of themselves? My dear friend and mentor Yvonne Kaye would often say to me “Discipline is freedom.”. This made me cringe at times, since back then I was an airy fairy, cosmic foo foo type of person and it felt inhibiting. Since then, I have embraced that idea because I know that when I have some semblance of stucture in my life, I can play as much as I want. I am also learning that when I put my best foot forward, I will get to my destination all the sooner and when I let my true colors shine through, a rainbow prism reflects all of my facets and gives others permission to radiate too.
http://youtu.be/LPn0KFlbqX8 True Colors-Cyndi Lauper
Have you ever stopped to consider that you are loved….really and truly, without a doubt, totally adored by a Universe that just wants to send you mushy, gushy Valentines every day of your life? Yeh, I know that there are some days when it would be easier to believe the it barely tolerates your existence or even worse, wants to send you wilted roses with thorns sticking out all over the place or a Whitman’s Sampler with nibbles or even big honking bites taken out of your favorite treats. But what if all that stands between you and totally embracing your loving co-creator is simply a thought? It could be an erroneous belief that you are damaged goods, beyond repair or redemption. It might be a throwback to a time when someone told you or even implied that you were unworthy. Your innocence has no expiration date. No matter what events led you inexorably to this here and now moment, you are no less loveable.
Even as I write these words, I have recent memories of anything but self love; a co-dependent dance that has me tripping over my own feet at times and once in awhile, taking a few graceful twists and turns. I have cringed as I heard myself in the deep recesses of my mind being self-deprecating in ways I wouldn’t dare speak to someone else.
At the moment, I am feeling quite loved, from the inside out and the outside in. Just completed a 5 day retreat at Grail Springs, beginning on Sunday when those sitting in the opening circle, with the exception of my friend Ondreah, were all ‘strangers’ who had come from all over Canada to immerse in an experience of ahhhh…most without having a clue of what awaited them. Tonight, as we sat in the closing circle, we shared what it had meant to us. Words of love and support flew around the room and landed on each of our hearts, sinking in. Last night, during an ‘angel wash’ exercise during which each person walked with eyes closed, down the center of the aisle of the other folks, with affirming messages being whispered, I burst into laughter amidst my tears as one of the women told me “You’re so awesome, you should be Canadian.” I asked if they would adopt us and they agreed. Ondreah and I are now honorary Canadians.
Tomorrow as I head home, I carry the love with me in my suitcase and my heart.
http://youtu.be/6mFsV_5fAuU How Could Anyone-Shaina Noll
“How could anyone ever tell you? You were anything less than beautiful… How could anyone ever tell you? You were less than whole…
How could anyone fail to notice? That your loving is a miracle… How deeply you’re connected to my soul…”