Category Archives: Family Harmony

successful relationship

Successful Relationship Spiritual Partnership

Are you ready for a successful relationship? People have asked Dean Evenson and myself what is the secret of our long and happy marriage. Although there are no quick and easy answers, I want to try to shed some light on that question here and spiritual partnership is an important component of our successful relationship. When Dean and I first met in 1968, we noticed that we shared similar values and dreams for life. That common bond is probably what drew us together in the first place as we both wanted to use our creativity to help others and heal the many problems of our world. At the very beginning of our relationship, we had the shared values of spiritual service.

From that initial connection of wanting to serve, we have continued to evolve our consciousness and develop our spiritual path. There is no doubt that the success of our relationship has benefited greatly from our common spiritual practice. We pray together, we meditate together, we dream together and we intend our life to be a certain way together. Also in our case, since we are both musicians, we sing, chant and play music together. Now I don’t expect every couple to be able to play music together, but you can consider singing, chanting, toning, drumming, or playing singing bowls together. Those are musical endeavors that don’t necessarily require extensive musical training. Even listening to certain peaceful music or singing along with your favorite sacred songs together can be a spiritual experience.

The other thing we do requiring no special skill is that we bless our food before eating. A lot of people dive right into their meal, but we find that grace occurs when we take a moment to pause and express gratitude for the food that has come to our table. We honor the Earth from which it came, the farmers who grew it, the system that brought it to us, and the cook who prepared it. This may seem like a small thing, but praying to the ‘God or Goddess of your understanding’ can even make the food taste better. Dean and I grew up with that custom so it comes naturally to us. Our kids put up with it as they were growing up when we would all hold hands and pray before dining, even in a restaurant. Pausing for a moment of silence before a meal can be unifying. In fact, expressing gratitude for the blessings of your life and even for the challenges can keep your relationship on a positive track.

Dean and I each have a personal morning yoga and meditation practice. We often take a walk together, another great way to enhance our connection to each other and nature. In the evening after dinner, we enjoy meditating together. We love to tone and chant and that helps deepen our connection. When we confront life’s challenges and changes, we pray together for guidance and understanding. We see ourselves as spiritual beings in physical bodies and we need all the help we can get to maneuver the trials and tribulations of life.

A shared spiritual path and practice is a positive component of a successful relationship. And it can benefit the whole family, workplace, or collaborative group of people trying to accomplish a goal. Notice that watching television is not included in our daily habits. We often watch a movie or documentary, but then when it’s over, we turn off the TV and spend time just being together. We see mainstream media and network news as a huge distraction from the quality life experience we are seeking.

Here are two final thoughts to consider for a successful relationship. Please know that honest and compassionate communication is probably the most important spiritual principle you can employ that will keep your relationship loving and trusting. And finally, don’t take things too seriously. Remember to laugh and enjoy life and each other. Having fun together will bring the greatest happiness to any partnership.

We hope you are finding creative ways of building a successful relationship with your special friend. We would love to hear from you to learn how you and your partner enhance your successful relationship through spiritual practice. Remember, when you comment here on our blog, we’ll send you a free mp3 track of our meditative music. We send you hugs, peace and big love!

PS You can listen to our music for free on SPOTIFY.  Just search for Dean Evenson or any of our artists.

Fathers carrying their babies. Photos by Dudley Evenson

Honoring Fathers

Modern Fathers

We love the dads of today who carry their babies in a backpack or close to their heart. It used to be this practice was only used by mothers but now fathers get to have the blessings of a much closer contact with their young children. As women have become strong and more empowered of late, we acknowledge that fathers have become softer and more gentle. We see this as a wonderful process that allows men to develop the more nurturing side of themselves and that is surely a benefit to them and their children as well. Dean Evenson got to carry his children in a baby backpack and was always around for family dinner practically every day of their lives growing up.

Dean Evenson and his kids all grown up
Dean Evenson and his kids all grown up

What is the measure of a man?

Is it by the measure of his biceps? Or the amount of love in his heart?  Is it how much he can push his way through?  Or how gentle he can be in carrying his child?  I once heard the definition of a good ‘husbandman‘ (gardener) as one who knows when to plant the seed.  I would add that it is equally important to know how to care for the seed so it can grow to fullness and bear the fruits of its harvest.

I am grateful to have found such a man in Dean Evenson who has been such a good husband to me and father to our three children.  He has also been the father of Soundings of the Planet and all the musicians who have come through our studio.  The burden of a father can be heavy and we need to remember that fathers need all the love and support they can get.  So as Father’s Day approaches, let us remember to honor the fathers in our lives and let them feel supported too.

History of Father’s Day

We were intrigued to learn that Father’s Day was first started in Spokane, Washington at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd. Her father, William Jackson Smart, was a Civil War veteran and a single parent who raised his six children there. In 1909, after she heard a sermon about Mother’s Day being started by Ann Jarvis, she told her pastor that fathers should have a similar holiday honoring them. She initially suggested June 5, her father’s birthday, but the pastors did not have enough time to prepare their sermons so the celebration of Father’s Day was deferred to the third Sunday of June. Its first celebration was in the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910.

We would love to hear about your father or a dad you admire. When you comment we will send you a free mp3 of our music.
Remember, dads need to relax too. When you order online at soundings.com and use the code FATHER16 you will receive a 20% discount!

 

 

 

In Celebration of All Kinds of Mothers

As Mother’s Day approaches, we want to honor all mothers everywhere. Mothers come in all shapes, sizes and temperaments. Different cultures have different patterns of mothering. Mothers have different challenges and issues depending on their circumstances. Whether mothers have ‘First World Problems’ or ‘Third World’ Problems,’ they all need support and love from their family and community.

If our mother was loving and caring, we can be inspired by her love. If our mother had a pack of problems and didn’t know how to love us, we can be inspired by what she wasn’t and strive to be a better person ourselves. We can learn from whatever situation we are given. No matter how our mother did or didn’t give us the love we wanted, we can choose to love her. If our mother is no longer living, we can still give love to her. If we have unfinished business with our mom, we can do our best to forgive her and move on.

Mothering is a very complex and challenging process and I might add – one of the most important ‘jobs’ a woman can ever do.  As a mother, we strive to do our best based on our background and awareness, but often it seems like we can’t do anything right, especially according to our teenage kids. So during this week of remembering and honoring mothers, let’s remember to reach out to our own mother if she is living and to all the mothers in our world and let them know how much they are appreciated.

For a limited time are offering a special Mother’s Day Sale! All albums are only $9 each when you enter the code ‘MOTHERSDAY16’ at checkout!
And remember, when you comment here on the blog, we will send you a free mp3 music track in appreciation. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

7 Simple Steps for Stress Free Holidays Based on Chakras

Here come the holidays and with them a bundle of stress triggers and challenges that may take away from the fun and festivity of the season. While we love to get together with family and friends, sometimes the extra tasks and pressures can add up to create situations that are less than fun and definitely not festive. Extra shopping, more cooking, cleaning, preparing, crowds, traffic or traveling with flights delayed or other inconveniences can take the fun out of the season. Then, there are the long-term family patterns replete with buttons that are often pushed right at the dinner table after a few too many glasses of bubbly. Whatever form it takes, the strain and tension of being overloaded can sometimes rise up and ruin our fun, family time.

So how can we deal with this inevitable stress of the holidays and put the joy back into the season? Here are some simple steps we can take to uplift our spirits and make sure we don’t get overloaded and react emotionally in the presence of habitual family patterns or simply collapse from exhaustion when we should be having fun. These seven steps are actually based on the chakra system and begin with the crown or seventh chakra going down to the root or first chakra. Check them out and see if they resonate with you.

7_chakraSet Intention (Crown)

Decide in advance how you would like your holiday experience to be.  You can use ideas like – peaceful, meaningful, relaxing, fun. Whatever words you come up with, you might want to form them into a simple mantra or affirmation to keep in the forefront of your awareness as you go through your socializing. Remember the aspects of an affirmation are threefold: positive, present tense and repetition. An example would be ‘I am peaceful and relaxed’ or whatever idea you want to remind yourself of when intensity arises. Say it often.

6_chakra 1Visualize (Third Eye, Mind)

Use mental images to picture how you would like to see the holidays unfold. You can imagine your home beautifully decorated with family members happily enjoying a home cooked meal and conversing with one another in pleasant tones. Or you might picture young children playing well together with their new gifts. Don’t forget to picture yourself attending to your tasks with ease in a relaxed manner. You may want to focus on the deeper meaning of the holiday you are celebrating and especially the fellowship of gathering together with family and friends.  Continue reading 7 Simple Steps for Stress Free Holidays Based on Chakras

Tips for Peaceful Parenting by Dudley Evenson

Guidelines for Parenting

Parenting Tips by Dudley

I am honored to have my article printed in several Natural Awakenings Magazines recently  (Especially cool since one is from Knoxville, TN where I graduated from college!)  These Guidelines for Parenting tips are something I wrote many years ago when my children were young.  It was published in 1986 in a wonderful book called Children of the Dawn by Joshua Halpern. I have a feeling that these parenting tips are universal and I sure hope that they provide parents out there with some guidance for having a wonderful family experience.  My sweet husband and father of my children, Dean Evenson, and I had a lot fun with our three wonderful kiddos.  Our daughter’s daughter just turned 21 and she’s a treasure who was raised well too. I hope you are having fun too.  And if these ideas resonate with you, please share this post.

So here they are to put on your fridge!!! Click and print this PDF

• Stay clear!  Your children are mirrors of your moods and attitudes.  You will quickly discover how you are feeling by how your children are acting.  If they are upset, don’t get upset at them.  It will only make things worse.  Try to find out what is really bugging them.
• Be consistent.  Always changing your position on things will create inner turmoil and confusion.  Mom and Dad or the primary parental figures should try to establish a unified program and mutually support each other.
• Work at being positive.  Try to build up your child’s sense of the good in life.  Don’t look for faults or be unduly critical.  Praise your children often.
• Be honest in all your dealings.  Children will pick up at an early age what is truth.  Help them to be honest by being completely honest yourself.
• Be reasonable and understanding.  Explain why you choose a certain path.  Don’t use anger as a regular practice.  It is a powerful tool and used rarely will be much more effective.
• Provide meaningful boundaries and restrictions.  Kids will usually push to find their limits but they really appreciate knowing how far (how late, etc.) they can go.
• Be flexible.  You don’t have to be unbending and hard-nosed to keep it straight with your kids and being flexible will keep everybody on their toes.
•  Accept their point of view.  In fact, encourage their opinion and involve them in the decision-making process of the household.  Enjoy the harmony consensus can bring.  Rules will be more readily obeyed if they help formulate them.
• Trust your children.  Believe in them.  Be on their side.  Let them feel your support.  Let them start life knowing they are loved.
• Don’t nag.  Help them develop their own sense of responsibility so the burden of their homework, clean room, the chores, and other have-to-do things is not on your shoulders. Let them hear the firmness in your voice.  Once should be enough.
• Develop good habits.  Regularity can be healthy, but of course allow for deviation from time to time. Aim toward a consistently healthy lifestyle in all that you do.
• Be available.  Don’t get so caught up in your own reality that you neglect your communion with your children.
Balance your love for your own children with your love for all children.
They are your special ones but don’t forget to be loving and fair to others.
• Don’t put your kids on the spot in front of other people.  Try to work out your thing with them on a one-to-one basis unless of course a group interaction is more beneficial.
• Help direct your children toward a creative exploration of life.
Support them in opening up to their unique potential as human beings.
• Be a shining example of love for your children to follow.  Don’t gossip about your neighbors or play favorites.  Everyone will benefit by your unconditional love.
Inspire in your children a reverence and respect for all life.  Instill in them an attitude of thanksgiving, and open them up to exploring their spiritual path.
• Be patient with yourselves.  Avoid feelings of guilt even when you feel you aren’t measuring up to your expectations as parents.  No one is perfect, but you can try your best.
• Guide, console, discipline, and above all, keep a sense of humor.

May the Spirit of Harmony & Crystal Clear Communication bless your family.
Dudley & Dean Evenson, www.soundings.com, Blog: www.HealthyLivingDreams.com
Find us on Facebook and YouTube – Search Soundings on the Planet

Let me know what tips you have that have helped you be a better parent. Comment here and I’ll send you a free mp3 music track.

A Tribute to Dads Who Really Care for Their Kids

Dads are the best when they are around to help raise their kids.
Father mosaicI found this mosaic in the New York City subway and it reminds me how much I appreciate the modern dads I see all the time carrying their babies in backpacks or playing with and caring for their young children.  It’s so different these days from when my own dad was a new father.  Don’t get me wrong.  He loved his little children and was a good provider, but most of the parenting of young children in those days was from the mother.  And it’s even somewhat different today from when my husband Dean Evenson was a new dad. He certainly did his share of diaper changing and holding our babies, but I don’t recall him carrying them strapped to his body in a baby pack.  Dean does like to recall the moments just after our second daughter’s home birth when he held her and looked into her eyes as her spirit gradually began to fully inhabit her body after the miracle of birth.

We hear lot about the progress made for women in terms of equality in the workplace and that sort of thing but I want to take a moment and honor the progress made for dads who are getting to spend more quality time with their babies.  It is such a blessing to hold a tiny new life next to your body and feel that intimacy and warmth of hearts beating together.

On another note, I once heard a definition of a “good husbandman as one who knows when to plant the seed.”  A ‘husbandman’ is a farmer or a person who cultivates the land and of course there are good and bad times to plant seeds so they will grow to fruition.  Of course a husband is also a partner in a marriage or a relationship so it makes sense that there are good and bad times to ‘plant the seeds’ of new life.  I would also add that a ‘good husband’ would also know to stay around and tend the garden of the family.

So hooray for the good dads everywhere in every culture.  May you enjoy the blessings of fatherhood and may your children honor and appreciate you! I would love to hear about your dad or your partner or your experience as a dad and for those who comment on my blog I will send you a free mp3 track of our relaxing music.  

To honor dads this month Soundings of the Planet is having a sale of all our CDs so use this code at soundings.com to get a super discount. FATHERDAYS15.  Dads need to relax too.

 

Dean and Dudley reading love poems to each other

Red rose with dew by Dudley Evenson

Happy Valentine’s Day to you!  We pray you have a special someone to read love poems to.
And we hope you don’t think it’s too corny but we were having fun the other day reading love poems to each other.

It’s nice to be romantic together.  No need to go out and spend money on a fancy dinner or expensive date although that can be nice too.  Stay home, play some soft mood music, eat some chocolate, and try reading poetry to each other.

Here’s what Dean wrote.  Can you see why I like him so much!

Comprehensive compassion asks for no favors as it re-energizes all in its sphere of energy available at the drop of a smile formed across the gaps of caring,  Rejoice in the miracle of life unfolding in perfect harmony as the sun continues to gift us with its blessing.

Our love is a process that makes the heavens sing.  Ripples heard round the world within the heart beyond time cause a whirlwind of wonder.
~ Dean Evenson, February 2015

Why unconditional love? Be a love magnet

Dean Dudley

This pic is me with my sweetie husband, Dean Evenson.  We were very fortunate to meet in 1968 when we were in our mid-twenties and ready to be together. It’s easy to love this guy as he is thoughtful, funny, creative, hardworking and spiritual.  But what I want to talk about today is how to love someone who is not so loveable. That’s the process of unconditional love, loving without reason or cause, loving without conditions.

Loving someone who is nice to us or who loves us is usually pretty easy. It’s when that other person is mean, difficult to understand or creates problems that we probably have difficulty finding the love. And some would ask why do we even need to consider loving such a person or group of people?

I always harken back to the words of Jesus when he said “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”  Wow, what a concept.  To me this is one of the most radical ideas ever put forth and how many can say they have mastered that?

As I understand it, if you can love your enemy (your nemesis, your ex spouse, your mean boss, or even your parent who didn’t treat you well), and I mean truly love them, there’s a good chance that over time, your relationship will heal and they may even become your friend.  It doesn’t mean you have to live with them, marry them, hang out with them.  But if you can truly feel love in your heart, there’s a good chance that your relationship will change for the better, and everyone will benefit.  It’s worth a try.

Please don’t forget to love yourself!  Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. Here’s my short video on Soundings of the Planet’s YouTube channel talking more about unconditional love and how you can become a magnet for love. Enjoy!

Let me know your thoughts on love as Valentine’s Day approaches.  And for a limited time, in appreciation for your involvement, I am giving away free mp3 downloads to folks who comment on my blog posts.

Be sure to check out our gentle music for loving Valentine’s Day Sale now.  Music sure does create a mood for romance!

Dudley’s Famous Quinoa Veggie Burgers

At last by popular demand, here is my basic recipe for veggie burgers that are always so popular when I take them to potlucks.  I have traveled with them too and they make a great snack that is pretty much a complete meal
Veggie Burgers Bowl
This recipe makes a bunch of small burgers – vegetarian, vegan, gluten free

Take one cup quinoa and add two cups water
Bring to boil then turn off and let sit with cover for 30 minutes
Mix in finely chopped** 2 carrots, 1 large zucchini, 1 onion, 1 beet or other veggies
Mix in sprouted beans, black beans, garbanzo beans or refried beans
Add tomato sauce for extra flavor but not too much
Stir and season with herbs, sea salt, or Spike (my favorite)
Add in flax flour to create the consistency to form into a patty
Form into patties like biscuits and place on oiled baking sheet
Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, turn over and cook another 10 minutes
Eat as a stand-alone snack, main course or like a burger with all the toppings
But please, no bread or bun! This is a complete meal with protein, grain, veggies
Great to take to potlucks, lunch or when traveling so you have healthy snacks

Happy healthy eating!  Let me know how yours turned out.  Send pictures.

*This recipe was included in the Non-GMO Cookbook: Recipes and Advice for a Non-GMO Lifestyle by Megan Westgate & Courtney Pineau of the Non-GMO Project

**I use a Ninja food chopper but a basic blender or sharp knife works too

7 Simple Steps for Stress Free Holidays

Try these seven tips based on the chakras for more peaceful holidays.
You might start by slowing down as my sweet neighbors suggest with this sign.

10 MPHHere come the holidays and with them a bundle of stress triggers and challenges that can take away from the fun and festivity of the season.  While we love to get together with family and friends, sometimes the extra tasks and pressures can add up and create situations that are less than fun and definitely not festive.  Extra shopping, more cooking, cleaning, preparing, crowds, parties, traffic or traveling with flights delayed or other inconveniences can take the fun out of the season.  Then, there are the long-term family patterns replete with buttons that are often pushed right at the dinner table after a few too many glasses of bubbly.  Whatever form it takes, the strain and tension of being overloaded can sometimes rise up and ruin our fun, family time.

So how can we deal with this inevitable stress of the holidays and put the joy back into the season?  Here are some simple steps we can take to uplift our spirits and make sure we don’t get overloaded and react emotionally in the presence of habitual family patterns or simply collapse from exhaustion when we should be having fun.  These seven steps are actually based on the chakra system and begin with the crown or seventh chakra and go down to the root or first chakra.  Check them out and see if they resonate with you.

7_chakraSet Intention (Crown)
Decide in advance how you would like your holiday experience to be.  You can use ideas like – peaceful, meaningful, relaxing, fun.  Whatever words you come up with, you might want to form them into a simple mantra or affirmation to keep in the forefront of your awareness as you go through your socializing.  Remember the aspects of an affirmation are threefold: positive, present tense and repetition.  An example would be ‘I am peaceful and relaxed’ or use whatever idea you want to remind yourself when intensity arises.  Say it often.

Visualize (Third Eye, Mind)
Use mental images to picture how you would like to see the holidays unfold.  You can imagine your home beautifully decorated with family members happily enjoying a home cooked meal and conversing with one another in pleasant tones.  Or you might picture young children playing well together with their new gifts.  Don’t forget to picture yourself attending to your tasks with ease in a relaxed manner.  You may want to focus on the deeper meaning of the holiday you are celebrating and especially the fellowship of gathering together with family and friends.

5_chakraCommunicate (Throat)
Talk to family members and friends that you will be socializing with and make plans so everyone is on the same page.  Get input and add your own ideas.  Try to share the tasks and planning so it isn’t all on one person’s shoulders.  If past holidays were overwhelming, try simplifying your plans.  Consider a potluck instead of one person doing all the cooking.  You might want to add the element of giving back to the community or helping those less fortunate who need some extra holiday cheer.  This will make the holiday much more meaningful to you and your family.

4_chakraCollaborate (Heart)
Invite your family and your friends to be part of your festivities.  Work and play together and enjoy each other’s company.  Remember the love that brought you together in the first place and be careful not to let stress or emotions trigger unnecessary reactions.  This is a time to enjoy and appreciate each other.  Express your gratitude in random ways and you will find it returned to you.  Minimize gossip and politics.  People in the same family often hold different points of view so best to avoid conversations that cause conflict.  The long-term benefits of unconditional love will be the reward.

3_chakraTake Action (Solar Plexis)
If you are hosting a gathering, let yourself enjoy the activities and tasks involved.  Enlist close friends or family members to help you with preparation and logistics.  If you are attending other people’s events, be sure to help in the kitchen and contribute to the workload.  Put on happy holiday music to lift your spirit and remind you of why you are doing all the extra work – the shopping, cooking, cleaning, gifting, decorating and so on.  You may want to take time for yoga or stretching to release pent up energy so you have the vitality you need to carry out all you have assigned yourself to do.

2_chakraEnjoy and Play (Sacral)
Remember the reason for the season and even in the midst of all you are doing, be sure to let yourself feel passion and joy for the blessings in your life, your family, friends, food to eat and roof over your head.  Many people have much less in life and still manage to keep smiling. In fact, a good laugh is always in order, even when the turkey falls on the floor or your dog overturns the holiday tree or a child knocks over a glass and breaks it.  Especially turn your enthusiasm toward your elders or those suffering or in need.  This season is a perfect time to reach out to others who can use a physical or spiritual boost.

1_chakraGrounding (Root)
This is the level where you take care of the basics, the details and all that is necessary to manifest what it is you want.  This is also the place where you can connect with the earth and honor all that it provides for your physical needs.  Be specific and check off the tasks on your list so you can feel you have accomplished what needs to be done.  You also may want to ground out by taking a walk in nature or by taking a few moments to sit quietly in your room or in a sacred place in your home.  In this sanctuary, try playing some peaceful, relaxing music to help remind you of the inner peace you are so wanting in the midst of life’s normal chaos.

I hope these suggestions are helpful and you are able to find peace and fulfillment during the holidays this year.  I welcome any additional suggestions for stress free holidays whether or not they relate to the chakras.  You can see my video on toning with the chakras on our YouTube channel or listen to my chakra meditations and the music my husband, Dean Evenson, and I create at www.soundings.com.

And thanks to my teacher Anodea Judith for her wisdom on manifesting your dreams through your chakras.