Category Archives: Giving Back

Nature and Music: Healing People and the Planet

Published in Natural Awakenings Chattanooga, April 2015

Dean Evenson Native flute riverIn 1970, when sound-healing and video pioneers Dean and Dudley Evenson first became aware of the serious environmental issues threatening our world, they wanted to find a way to help educate people about the plight of the planet. They got that opportunity two years later, when they worked as videographers at the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, Sweden.

“In Stockholm we met and were exposed to the wisdom of the fifteen Native Americans who were at the conference talking about Mother Earth,” recalls Dudley Evenson. “We documented this historic event with the new, portable Sony video camera that had just become available, and looked for ways to apply these new ideas.”

The next year, Dean Evenson was invited to Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota to help transmit television out of the occupied town. He stayed on the reservation a month, videotaping Lakota elders, activists and medicine men, who spoke strongly about the challenges facing the earth at that time. Again the Evensons contemplated this new information and tried to figure out a way to share what they were learning.

A few years later, now living in Tucson, Arizona, the Evensons decided to form a record label, Soundings of the Planet, to distribute  what Dean describes as “the music that was flowing through us.” He spent the night in a desert canyon, and as the sun rose, he used two stereo mikes to catch the sounds of the birds at dawn. The Evensons’ first album, Desert Dawn Song, included these sounds of dawn in the desert along with the couple’s calming music of flute, harp, cello and vocal tones.
Desert Dawn Song-SP-2223rgb

“This album was one of the very first to include meditative music along with field recordings of nature sounds, and it ushered in a whole new genre of music,” Dudley says. “This was our way of honoring the earth, and our vision was to get this nature-based music to people living in cities who made decisions about the fate of the planet.”

The Evensons have continued to create this special type of music, and over the past 35 years they have released more than 80 albums and videos dedicated to their vision of creating “peace through music.”

Dean has spent many hours next to flowing rivers or ocean beaches, and in wetlands, forests and mountain valleys, recording both audio and video. These “soundings of the planet” have found their way to a number of popular, award-winning albums and DVDs. The added bonus, Dudley says, is that the music seems to have a healing effect on listeners.

“Even though we didn’t start out trying to make healing music, that is exactly what happened,” she says.

The Evensons also added to their recordings the Earth Resonance Frequency (ERF) of 7.83 hz (cycles per second), which is the actual resonance of the planet’s atmospheric cavity, Dean explains. “This is also the same frequency that our brains emit when on the cusp of the alpha and theta brainwave states,” he says. “This tends to have a positive, healing effect on people, adding to the already peaceful state the music and nature sounds create.”

For more information on Dean and Dudley Evenson and their music and videos, visit Soundings.com; search “soundings of the planet” on Facebook or YouTube; visit their blog, HealthyLivingDreams.com; or call 800-93-PEACE (800-937-3223).

PS – I would love to hear how you have used our music.  And to those who comment, I’ll send you a free mp3 download!

 

Great Gratitude for ALL

I am grateful for ALL without conditions

It’s the time of year we count our blessings and find ways to share the gifts we have been given. What we have to share is our music and we are grateful that it helps people in all sorts of situations.  And here is my Gratitude Affirmation both written and spoken in the video above.  Enjoy.

GRATITUDE AFFIRMATION FROM ‘A YEAR OF GUIDED MEDITATIONS’

So often we wait to have what we want before feeling thankful. In this case, we may be waiting a long time. To jump-start the flow of blessings in our life, we practice gratitude at all times, even for the things that might appear negative. When we can be truly grateful for everything that happens, the good or the bad, we will find that our lives gradually improve. It may be challenging at first to find the silver lining in every situation, but once this habit of gratitude becomes a part of us, we will be pleasantly surprised by what opens up for us. We can begin by expressing appreciation for the basics like food and shelter and for small things that we can easily acknowledge. From there, we can allow our gratitude to grow and when it does, we shall be ready for even better things to come our way.

I am grateful for the gift of life and all my many blessings. I am grateful for family and friends and a place to live and food to eat. I am grateful for the earth and the spirit of life. I am grateful for the sun that shines every day and for all the life it creates. I am thankful that I can learn and grow from experiences I may not even have wanted, but that allow me to open up to a greater awareness of myself and my world. I am grateful for love that flows to me and through me. I see all as support for the journey that is my life.

A Sabbath of Days

Sunrise oceanA Sabbath of days, peaceful feeling, simply being.  That’s what today has been at last.  Early morning pictures of the ocean, sitting watching the waves, meditating on the morning.  What is my heart’s desire?  It came to me this morning as I was quieting my mind that I really want to help people.  I want to provide others and myself with information that will help us all to heal, prepare, and prosper.  So maybe I am a teacher or a writer or a healer.  It is clear at least that whatever it is that I create or support the creation of is intended to be of benefit to others.  The music, the writing, the ideas, the events, the media, the words of encouragement, information.  All is meant to contribute to the healing of our world.

I wrote the paragraph above in Florida on November 6, 2005 almost ten years ago and I realize I could have written it today.  I love it when we can read a journal entry from years past and find that the words still ring true.  Over four decades ago when I was living in New York City and going through a personal spiritual struggle, I made a lot of entries in my journal wishing for what I could become, how I could change and discover who I really am and what I am here for.  Much transpired after that period of soul searching when I came across that journal and read my words of youthful yearning.  I had met my soul mate Dean Evenson.  He moved in across the hall from me!  We had married and I had given birth to our first child.  We had moved to the country.  We had discovered part of our purpose in creating meaningful videotapes.  And so on….  In reading my earlier words I realized I had become what I was wanting to be.  My dreams had been realized.  What a wonderful discovery to find out that our dreams really can become realities.

What is your heart’s desire?  What do you feel called upon to contribute in this lifetime to the world around you?  I hope you are keeping a journal and jotting down your thoughts.  Someday you may read your own words and find out your dreams have come true too.  Feel free to share your thoughts here.

What is the measure of a man?

Dean and kids ~~~~~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.

I was 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 was deferred to the third Sunday of June.  Its first celebration was in the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910.  

Take advantage of our Father’s Day sale of Soundings of the Planet music. 

Peace Through Music Supports Wounded Warriors

by Dudley Evenson
WalterReedGrpInspite of our life long aversion to war, my husband, Dean Evenson and I have found a way we can “support the troops” while still remaining true to our core values.  Since so many people coming back from battle are suffering from extreme physical and emotional wounds, we were looking for a way to really put our Peace Through Music mission to work.  Since 1979, we have been producing music for healing and yoga and the popularity of our music with healthcare practitioners and everyday people made us realize it could possibly be of benefit to soldiers returning from combat and suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

We decided to reach out to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, often the first stateside landing hospital for wounded soldiers returning from war.  When we contacted the head chaplain there, Major John Kallerson, we found that he had already used some of Dean Evenson’s CDs in his own healing.  Once he realized that he had personally experienced the benefits of Dean’s music, he was enthusiastic about making it available for his patients and began to include it in the Wounded Warrior Kit given out at the hospital.

Chaplain Kallerson told us “The music helps our patients focus on their healing and not the chronic pain they endure constantly. The soothing music of Healing Sanctuary and Healing Dreams provides a needed respite from the dreams and flashbacks of the terrors that our wounded have seen and experienced.  It is helpful for them to relax and not dwell on the bad dreams or images that they can see… Some find them very helpful to get to sleep.”

Inspired by this feedback, we began to research the effects of war and the stress disorders that often plague veterans of violent conflict and learned that music can offer an antidote to some of the emotional traumas experienced.  We put together a Relaxation Basic Training Guide to help returning soldiers in their healing process.  Couched in military terms, the booklet presented concepts of Nada Yoga or the Yoga of Sound and shared many techniques that are actually ancient yogic practices incorporating breath, muscle relaxation, meditation and mantra.

During two separate visits, we performed our peaceful music of flute and harp interspersed with teachings about relaxation and sound healing.  Looking back on the content of our offering to these wounded troops and medical professionals, we realized we were actually sharing the basics of yoga and meditation.  Although we didn’t demonstrate any postures, the foundation of the information we offered was yoga.  From breathing demonstrations to relaxation to affirmations and mantra, we were able to educate these service people about this ancient practice.  Hopefully our story will inspire people to reach out in their own communities to offer yoga, music, massage and other healing modalities to veterans who are in such desperate need of healing.  The benefit is for the veterans, their families, and the community at large.  It’s never too late to plant seeds of peace.

Click here to Download Relaxation Basic Training Manual

These are the CDs they have used at Walter Reed – Sound Healing, Healing Waters, Healing Sanctuary, Healing Dreams, Ocean Dreams, Eagle River, Eagle River DVD. Click here for Memorial Day Sale

 

Mother’s Day Began to Honor Peace Building Efforts by Women

Rose with dewMother’s Day has a long a various history but what is most exciting to me is that it was founded to honor women’s work in the field of peace building.  As early as the mid-19th century, Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia started Mother’s Day Work Clubs to teach local women how to better care for their children. Later, in 1868, she organized Mothers’ Friendship Day that brought together women from north and south to promote reconciliation after the divisive Civil War.

Soon thereafter in 1870, Julia Ward Howe, an abolitionist and suffragette, wrote the ‘Mother’s Day Proclamation’ which was a call to action asking mothers to unite in promoting world peace.  The official holiday that we call Mother’s Day began in the 1900s by Anna Jarvis, the daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis, who wanted to honor her mother’s work for peace and all the mothers who sacrificed so much for their children.  In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure to make the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day but by then, the day had become so commercialized that Anna Jarvis disowned the holiday.

Needless to say, florists, greeting card companies and other retailers have benefited from this holiday honoring mothers which apparently is one of the biggest holidays for consumer spending. Mother’s Day has now spread around the world and is celebrated differently in many cultures.  The holiday has also been used to launch various campaigns to support underprivileged women and children and highlight the need for equal rights and childcare.

Whatever your path, whether your mother is living or passed on, whether you are motherless or have a full brood, we know we all come from our mothers.  Whether your mother was the best super mom in the world, or if your mother wasn’t quite what you had hoped for in a mother, we wish you the blessings of peace and reconciliation in your family.  Happy Mother’s Day.

And hopefully, not to seem too commercial, Soundings of the Planet’s Mother’s Day CD sale ends on May 11 so you can take advantage of it for yourself or a late gift for your mom.

Welcome to Healthy Living Dreams

Welcome to Healthy Living Dreams! The official blog of Dudley Evenson, co-founder of Soundings of the Planet. Featuring helpful hints, inspiring stories and guidance on how to live a healthy life in harmony with others & the planet