10 Tips for Conserving Water. United Nations World Water Day is March 22.
Yes, I am a stickler for water conservation but this might be going a bit far even in my open-minded book. Actually, ‘Save Water Shower With A Friend’ was a semi-official campaign in New York City when I first arrived there in 1965 after graduation from college. A lingering drought had resulted in a severe water shortage in the northeast. This was one clever way of calling attention to this issue that affected 20 million people in drought-ridden New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The other ‘big’ water saving policy was for restaurants not to automatically give you water at your table. You could request it though.
In retrospect, I wonder if large industrial water users were required to make concessions and cut back on their water use as well. We have since learned of the enormous amounts of fresh water that are used for operations of manufacturing, refineries, nuclear and other energy production and agriculture.
Many years later, I lived in the Arizona desert and again became acutely aware of water limitations. I learned to respect and conserve water through our family’s many unusual living situations. For much of the ‘70s, Dean Evenson and I lived in a converted school bus with our three young children and had no running water. I even gave birth to our second daughter in that bus. A few years later, we ‘settled down’ in a 21 by 21 foot cinder block former garage where we had to carry water in buckets from the pump down the hill. That was for all our water needs – drinking, cooking, washing and bathing. No toilet flushing though as we had an outhouse.
So we have had to get used to living on less water. In fact, I learned that I could actually wash my dishes in the equivalent of two cups of water. Not my preference but sometimes necessary. Once, I even washed my baby’s cloth diapers in a mud puddle on a high Colorado plateau because that was the only water available at the time. But it was better than not washing the diapers at all if you know what I mean.
Did you hear about the monastery where the monks drank their dishwater? Well it wasn’t really as gross as it sounds. Basically, when they were finished eating their rice, they poured some tea in the bowl and swished it around, cleaning the bowl of any leftover rice, and then drank their tea (infused with rice flavor). Maybe they then wiped the bowl with the sleeve of their robe, and presto, their bowl was clean.
10 Tips for Conserving Water
1. Don’t let the water run while you are brushing your teeth. Just use it for rinsing your mouth and toothbrush.
2. Don’t let the water run while you are soaping up your dishes. Rinse them all at once in a dishpan to conserve water.
3. Don’t flush the toilet unless necessary (you know what I mean).
4. Install a low flush toilet to conserve water.
5. When possible, use your grey water (water from washing dishes, clothes, people) to water your garden or plants. Two things happen here: you grow more food and you keep water from taxing your septic or sewage system by cleansing it naturally through the ground and plants.
6. Fix leaky plumbing. Even small drips in sinks, toilets and hoses add up and amount to large waste of water.
7. Develop a comprehensive program for reducing your water usage.
8. Get your neighbors involved and make it a community thing. From the one to the many and then it really can make a difference.
9. Support organizations active in solving world water issues.
10. Check out other water saving lists with lots more ideas for conserving water.
4 Earth: Scenic Vistas of Ocean, Stream, River, Pond
Speaking of water stories, Dean and I created the DVD ‘4 Earth: Scenic Vistas of Ocean, Stream, River, Pond’. The video follows the cycle of water among these four eco-systems and shows how they are interconnected. Our aim in creating this beautiful nature video is to inspire people to respect the finite amount of fresh water on the planet and take action to protect it. We invite you to contribute suggestions for solutions to the many issues plaguing water in this era we find ourselves in. It hasn’t always been this way, and it doesn’t need to remain out of balance.
WHEN YOU COMMENT ON OUR BLOG WE’LL SEND YOU A FREE MP3 OF OUR MUSIC.
#waterislife #nodapl #standingwithstandingrock. Have you seen those hash tags about Standing Rock scrolling past your Facebook feed or Twitter feeds? Their story points to Native American water issues and the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Sometimes we get to have personal experiences with big news events and this is one of those times. We want to share a story with you written by our young Soundings videographer, Jon Carroll. We had heard about the grave situation occurring last year and into this year at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota regarding a pipeline being built across tribal lands. The issue became national news, attracting thousands of people from around the country who traveled to Standing Rock to demonstrate their solidarity with the Native people who were to be negatively affected by the pipeline being built.
In our younger years, Dean and I would have been there with video camera in hand to document this historic event. The saga at Standing Rock builds on and expands the legacy of Wounded Knee (1973) which Dean Evenson did videotape. We believe Standing Rock is an important issue that is much larger than just one tribe’s rights. It involves the vision we have for the future of our planet and how we as a society deal with energy while still protecting drinking water. Fortunately we were able to help support Jon to head out to Standing Rock with a carload of people and his own video camera. Here is his story.
My Time at Standing Rock:
Learning from the Sioux Nation
By Jon Carroll, Guest Blogger
A movement to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) came from a grassroots organizations led by indigenous men and women. Thousands of people from every corner of America, representing every faith, race, and class, heard the call of active citizenship to defend the constitutional rights and treaty rights of the Sioux Nation as an unwavering, peaceful force. Native sovereignty rights, national water security, and renewable energy opportunities are threatened. Meanwhile, if the pipeline is constructed as planned, Sioux Nation Indians would have sacred sites destroyed and drinking water threatened.
In early 2017, under the guise of creating jobs, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to speed up the process of approving Energy Transfer Partners’ Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Unfortunately, as it turns out, by finishing the pipeline’s route under the Missouri River, only 40 permanent jobs would be created while drinking water and tribal rights would be seriously jeopardized.
I heard the same call as those many thousands who wanted to support the tribes so I piled into my grandparents’ old GMC Suburban with five friends and we drove for 24 hours to North Dakota. We arrived into Sacred Stone Camp, North Dakota just before sun down on November 12th. The winds were keeping the air crisp and cold even though the sky had been blue all day as we pitched our tents. Then we went up the hill next to camp to view our first North Dakotan sunset. Once atop the hill, we watched the sun fall under the sea of hills that filled the horizon. As the sun sunk to the west, just on the other side of the river to the north, a line of stadium lights flooded our view. There, the line of the pipeline route presented itself to us. It was equally obnoxious to me as it was poignant. Throughout the week, those lights reminded me of my purpose while at camp. All it took was a quick glance up from my camera to see the corporation that loomed over the camp, watching our every move. These lights were, ultimately, one of the many tactics that Energy Transfer Partners used to affect morale at camp. We watched and witnessed these lights to the north, taking one deep breath at a time as we wandered a bit near the hilltop. After a short while, my good friend called for us to get to the top of the hill. In awe of things, I began skipping back to the top of the hill. As we wrapped our arms around each other’s shoulders, we witnessed what he called us up for. To the East, the largest moon I had ever seen was rising. It was beyond our understanding and a most beautiful sight for our first evening at Standing Rock.
As we stared at the rising moon, embracing each other, I pulled a card from my pocket that had been gifted to me by my grandparents before I left. It was a prayer written by a good friend of my grandparents who was for a short time a good friend of mine before his passing in 2000. He was a Lummi Nation spiritual elder by the name of Cha-das-ska-dum Which-ta-lum. The story of the creation of this prayer is a long one, but the shortened version of it is that he wrote it after a journey to San Francisco where he heard a woman recite the prayer of Saint Francis from the opposite side of a tree that he was praying under. He wrote his own version of it on the plane ride back, and that version is what I pulled from my pocket on the hill in North Dakota 1,300 miles from home.
OH GREAT GRANDFATHER!
LET MY HANDS BE AN INSTRUMENT OF YOUR PEACE.
IF THERE IS HATRED SEND YOUR LOVE.
IF THERE IS INJURY, HEAL.
IF THERE IS DOUBT, SEND FAITH.
IF THERE IS DESPAIR, SEND ON THE WIND HOPE!
IF ONE HAS A QUESTION, THEN THEY ALREADY HAVE THE ANSWER TO KNOW TO EVEN ASK.
TEACH US TO LOVE OURSELVES, SO WE CAN LOVE OTHERS.
WE CANNOT GIVE AWAY WHAT WE DO NOT HAVE!
IF A TEAR FALLS, LET IT NOURISH WHAT IT FALLS ON.
LET THE POWER OF THE FOUR DIRECTIONS CALL YOU!
I AM ON THE WIND, RIDE WITH ME, HOLD ON!
WILL YOU LISTEN TO MY WORDS TODAY, OH GREAT GRANDFATHER?
THANK YOU, MY FRIEND.
Upon finishing the prayer, each of us began to weep. Tears of joy, sorrow, grief, celebration, release. Our tears felt more weighted than ever. I knelt and put my hand on the ground below me. I dug my fingers into the soil. I could feel the pain of the earth. I felt extreme sorrow for what the white man had done to this land for so long. This immense guilt fell upon me as I realized I represent, physically, the white men that have persisted to destroy this land. It was difficult to bear this realization. After much wrestling with that concept, I reminded myself of the purpose that I brought with me to Standing Rock. My purpose was to serve, and with my camera, to elevate the voices of indigenous leaders there to a broader audience. I hoped that with attentive ears, a warm smile, and open heart, the people that my embodiment has traditionally oppressed, would see through that and accept my authentic service.
This hope was affirmed over and over again. The days ahead were filled with love and support from every person at camp. The words of those who knew more than me spoke with a forgiving tone and a kind heart. The rest of my time at Standing Rock was spent asking questions and listening.
The next day, we packed up and moved to the Oceti Sakowin Camp where the majority of the people were. As I began walking around, I found that the main initiative through the camp was to winterize the large structures that could keep people warm through the harsh North Dakota winter. The camp was days away from its first chance of snow and once that snow hit, conditions would be much harder to work in. The task was monumental as multiple groups of a dozen or so people tasked themselves with projects around camp. Traditionally, once winter comes, people would find shelter in the long houses, and so those were first on the priority list. Hay bales were stacked, stoves were installed, food was dried, and wood was chopped. All of this was done as a physical act of Prayer and Ceremony.
Truthfully, waking up every day to work with our hands was easy. We knew our work was in service of a cause far greater than ourselves. Hundreds of people woke up to the sounds of the loud speakers and quickly got ready for a long day’s work. With smiles on our faces, we found joy in community tasks even as the bitter-cold wind chipped at our faces.
My main goal while at Standing Rock was to find elders and representatives of the Sioux Nation and hear them talk about their struggle for the recognition of their rights as a sovereign nation. I wanted to share with the rest of the world what it meant to be sovereign and what actions they were taking to pursue justice in the face of threats by big government and corporations. After a few days of meeting people and following leads, I stumbled upon a man by the name of Wasu Duta who is a sovereign Dakota Sioux and government representative of the Sioux Nation of Indians. I was introduced to his cousin, Manape LaMere, just before being invited into his tipi at the base of the Seven Council Fires. Manape is Dakota, Lakota, Nakota, and Ho-chunk. He is a headsman of the Oceti Sakowin Camp. As a duo, they are tasked with presenting a number of sovereignty rights claims to the United Nations. They sat me down and taught me as much as they could.
With the new president siding very clearly with Energy Transfer Partners’ construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, it seems our hope for success is futile. The Army Corps of Engineers has reported that they will be releasing the easement to build under the Missouri River. The pipeline could be completed soon, but, with the hard work of the Sioux Nation holding a peaceful front in direct opposition to the pipeline both legally and physically, we could see this project stalled. This could continue the opportunity for cities and citizens alike to continue to defund DAPL by targeting the banks that are funding the pipeline’s construction. The #DefundDAPL movement is creating waves of change in the pocketbooks of the big banks who are funding the pipeline so we may see this pipeline go bankrupt eventually.
If this pipeline is ultimately completed, the movement is not all lost, nor is it all over. Sovereignty rights are a continuing issue that we must stay attuned to. These pushes take time and effort on the ground by individuals like Wasu Duta and Manape Lamere and they need us to stand with them. That vast numbers of people who have woken up to indigenous issues is the true victory for the Standing Rock movement. The smiles on the faces of the thousands of men and women at Oceti Sakowin camp attest to that. The vast number of individuals marching with solidarity signs in the streets of their hometowns attest to that. The vast number of individuals and cities that have chosen to take their money out of banks that invest in damaging projects attest to that. This is the real success of global movements. This movement does not lose because one pipeline is constructed. This is a battle of minds. In this regard, we have already won. And with the next issue that arises in Indian country, we will stand stronger and know that we are capable of immense power.
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!
Consider each day the beginning of a new year! What is your intention for how you want your new year to be? How do you want to feel about your life, your goals, and achievements? In your daily meditation, I encourage you to set your intention for the day and at the same time you will be setting your intention for your new year – whether it’s from January to January or June to June. Typically, when New Year’s Day occurs, people make all sorts of resolutions for the coming year. They may keep some of them for a few weeks but then eventually they fall back into their same old patterns. What if you could stay current with your resolutions by renewing them every day? What if you could actually meditate every day instead of just occasionally?
Courage to Step into the Unknown
We all know about the power of affirmations and visualizations but there are a few other aspects to the process of manifesting our dreams to reflect on. One key element is having the courage to take that first step. Do you let fear hold you back from doing the things you want to do? Where is that fear coming from? Often, we are responding to voices in our head that tell us we can’t do it, we’re not good enough, or some other type of limiting belief. When we look deeply into the source of our inner voices, we often discover that those ideas came from someone else who may not have had our best interests in mind. Watch your language. It is helpful to acknowledge the quality of our inner conversation and change it to meet our vision of how we actually want to move forward in our life.
Write it Down Make a List
Journaling can be a big help in defining how we want our lives to proceed. When you write down your goals, you are creating clarity and taking an important step in identifying your vision and dreams for your life. Talking things over with your partner or a friend and making lists can also be helpful. Dean Evenson and I have tons of journals full of our dreams and projects. Some of them we have accomplished and some are still waiting to be birthed. We keep chipping away at our dreams and when we stay focused on them, they actually happen.
Be Patient with the Process
One of the things I learned years ago when my dreams seemed to be taking too long to come into realization was that the timing wasn’t always up to me. Often, there would be other factors at work and I needed to learn to be patient and keep persevering. Dean and I used to sometimes consult the I Ching (Chinese book of changes) in order to gain confirmation on the next steps on our path. So many times that familiar phrase would show up – ‘Perseverance furthers.’ Keep going. Don’t give up. And sure enough, eventually, what we kept our focus on did ultimately become our reality. The universe has its own timeline and we need to be patient and stay the course by taking one step at a time.
I hope you have the best year ever and may all your dreams come true. They surely will if you stay focused on them and keep taking the necessary actions to make them happen. Be fearless in pursuing your highest vision for your life, each and every day and be patient with yourself. Your perfect life is waiting for you. It’s just a matter of time.
You may want to check out our meditations that all focus on staying tuned into your dreams for a whole year. Sale on both DVD & CD.
Music is the gift that keeps on giving all year long. A CD is a small item, but it fills your whole home with peaceful vibrations. When you purchase a full album for yourself or as a gift for friend or family member, you are directly supporting the artist who created it. We thank you deeply for supporting independent musicians.
As you may know, Dean Evenson and I (Dudley) founded Soundings of the Planet to share our peaceful music almost four decades ago. We have grown with each change of technology. We began in 1979 making cassettes. Then in the late ‘80s, we started making compact discs. Then, file sharing came in and thankfully, Apple founder, Steve Jobs, invented digital downloads so people could pay a small amount to deliver music to their computer.
Now, there are new delivery systems such as streaming services like Pandora, Spotify, YouTube, Spa Channel, etc. There, you can create your own Dean Evenson, Dudley Evenson, Tom Barabas, Scott Huckabay or Soundings Ensemble channel or station. We receive a small fee each time you listen so we do benefit somewhat. But the best way to support the musician is by purchasing an actual CD of the music.
In our case, we spend a lot of time putting together a flow of the music, so there is a much greater benefit to owning a whole album versus just listening to one or two songs in random order. Our music is different from Top 40 songs because people use our music for healing and relaxation. We want you to stay in that mood and have no big surprises in the midst of your listening experience.
We are extremely grateful to you for supporting our mission of Peace Through Music. May your holidays be filled with joy and peace. Remember, when you comment on our blog at soundings.com we will send you a free mp3 track of our music in appreciation. Seasons blessings to you and yours! Take advantage of holiday special.
We are pleased to announce STILLNESS, Dean Evenson’s latest album. Official release date is November 18. Preorder on amazon.com. Digital downloads available now on iTunes. Dean’s long, slow keyboard tones and rich atmospheric arrangements blend with the pure sounds of his silver flute and the deep bass flute of Doug Tessler. This deeply soothing music connects with the still, quiet place within creating the perfect mood for meditation and going deep.
We realize it has been a challenging time for many people and emotions are running high and deep. Dealing with grief and loss calls for us to lean in on the tools we know work. Any time we are confronted with situations not to our liking, we are reminded that clearing the mind and letting go of attachment to our position can be a tremendous help. This principle works both ways and applies even if we are ecstatically happy about something.
For some peace of mind, join Dean Evenson as he plays his flute and meditates by mountain lakes
Meditation can support us in letting go of negative emotions such as anger and sadness and make way for a more compassionate, joyful and expansive state of being. We can’t always control what goes on around us but we can learn to control how we react to and internalize what happens in our outer world.Meditation can have immense benefits for our spiritual and physical wellbeing. Through listening to calming music and a regular meditation practice, we strive to reach a state of inner peace and move ourselves much closer to the realization our divine nature.
Michael McGillicuddy, Owner Central Florida School of Massage Therapy, had this to say about Stillness: “I love Dean Evenson’s new Stillness album. It is like listening to soft waves of flute while laying in a peaceful place. Very relaxing, peaceful and perfect for massage and other healing modalities. I received an acupuncture treatment today and listening to the CD was very healing to me.”
We invite you to check out our free download this week to listen to a track from Stillness.
And we love to hear from you. How do you deal with challenges when they come up, whether personal or societal? We always like to know what tools and techniques others have to get through difficult times. When you comment here, we’ll send you a free download in appreciation.
We love pumpkins and not just at Halloween. They are such a wonderful and inexpensive source of food. What other high quality food sells for 39 cents a pound? Well, maybe that’s not for organic pumpkins, but for people interested in feeding their family on a tight budget, you can’t beat that price. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin muffins, roasted pumpkin, pumpkin smoothie, pumpkin seeds, and on and on the list goes of yummy pumpkin dishes. Oh, and did we mention, a pumpkin that is kept in a cool place will last for months without refrigeration so it is a perfect winter storage food.
Here is some fun early history about pumpkins that I posted last year that you might enjoy being reminded of about this wonderful food source. It turns out that pumpkins are perhaps the oldest domesticated plants on Earth dating back as far as 10,000 years B.C. according to Cindy Ott, the author of Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Icon. When Europeans first arrived in North America, they relied on pumpkin as a survival food and they even made beer from it. The large orange globe is rich with nutrition and will store well in a root cellar providing food through the winter. Of course that was when we had root cellars and people even bothered to preserve and store food in the days before super markets and quick stops.
The appearance of a smiling or spooky face carved on a pumpkin is only a recent occurrence, supposedly an old tradition to frighten away evil spirits who might be lurking. The roots of Halloween go back 2000 years to the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain when the spirits of the dead supposedly walk the Earth for a night. The word Samhain actually means ‘summer’s end.’ Much later in the 8th Century that Pope Gregory III designated November 1st to honor saints and martyrs. The holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain and the evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween.
So now you know more than you probably need to know about pumpkins and Halloween. But do be sure to carve up a pumpkin and actually eat it. If you think of it as a big squash or gourd, you’ll prepare it in a similar manner. Cut it in pieces, scrape out the pulp and seeds, and bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for about an hour, depending on the size of the sections. Once it’s cooked and cooled, you can cut off the skin and your pumpkin will be ready to use in pies, soups, or as a yummy side dish. You can see in my pumpkin pie, I added raisins or dried fruit and pine nuts to give it an extra oomph. Enjoy!
We love hearing from you so for those kind enough to comment on our blog, we will send you a free mp3 music track. To learn more about our music, please visit soundings.com and check out the albums we have on sale.
Are you feeling stress? Well, it sure seems like the times we live in are getting more and more crazy. With so much bad news (or even fake news) coming toward us, we tend to stress and get caught up in worrying about what did happen or what might happen to us and our world. Watching too much television or reading too many political posts on Facebook can get us quite worked up and even cause us to lose sleep at night. So, we’re here to remind you of some very basic tools to help overcome stress, whether it involves personal issue stress or stress based somewhere ‘out there’ in the world beyond.
For almost four decades Dean Evenson and I have been involved in creating peaceful, healing music. In the process of following our spiritual and creative path, we have learned of many simple, easy to use techniques that can help reduce the stresses in our lives and many of them involve music, our life passion. We are especially interested in accessing the power within us that is available when we close out all that busyness, the apparent conflicts and dichotomies pulling us in one direction or another. We are looking to get to that place inside where there is absolute stillness and a sense of inner peace and quiet.
Simple Sound Tools to De-stress
Most of the tools you are probably familiar with. Some of our favorites include breath, meditation, music, mantra, chanting, toning and affirmations. We recognize that quieting the mind is easier said than done, especially today when we are instantly aware of events occurring all over the world, many of which have nothing to do with us. What goes on in your mind is really the key. It is what forms your perception of your world. So having some tools or systems to tune into can carry us through troubled times. These are tools that we use to bring us back into that inner stillness, the quiet place within. And just so you know, we are rooting for humanity to thrive in this next coming time but more on that later.
The Basic Sigh
Probably the tool easiest to access is the breath. Simply taking a deep breath in, holding it a moment, and then letting out a long, slow exhalation is a good place to start. This basic sigh can help you reset your mind and body to a more peaceful vibration. Often when we are stressed or afraid, we are practically holding our breath, or at the very least, taking very shallow breaths. With conscious breathing, we are really bringing in the life force. Call it air, oxygen or prana, but know that without it, life ceases to exist. So take those long deep breaths and enjoy the calmness it brings. Focus on the breath and let the random or worrisome thoughts drift away.
Modern life is structured to get us geared up and ready to be productive members of society, or so they say. Drink the coffee and get the treadmill of the fast-paced world. Unfortunately, after all that gearing up we often find it difficult to unwind and settle down or are unable to fall asleep at night. So we need to develop practices that help us to slow down and bring ourselves to that place of inner stillness.
Repeating a short affirmation or mantra can help clear the mind. Simply saying (or singing) to yourself ‘I am. I am. I am,’ or another such positive phrase, can help to ground and center yourself. Getting the whole body to relax helps as well. Doing yoga or some stretches relaxes the body and at the same time, releases tension in the mind. In fact, one of the most important functions of yoga is not just to make your body strong and flexible, but it is primarily to ‘still or calm the whirlpools of the mind’ according to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Walking is another simple way to move the body and calm the mind and conscious walking in nature takes one even deeper.
Often when you’re getting ready for bed and trying to fall asleep, that’s when all the mental chatter comes in. We recommending playing quiet, peaceful music in the hour or so before bedtime so that you can start to calm down from all the gearing up you have done all day. With a regular meditation practice you can develop control over your mental thought processes leading to a more relaxed and peaceful state of being. You can read more about chanting, affirmations, toning and mantra in other blog posts or articles at soundings.com. These are simple tools that will benefit you in the long run and make you a more calm and peaceful person. I believe that whatever peace we have inside us will extend out and when we touch the people around us with our peaceful nature, and they touch the people around them with their peaceful nature, we will surely have a more peaceful world.
Keep in Touch
I hope you watch my video. You can hear the fun story about singing my prayer song for Dr. Larry Dossey. I’m sharing these simple possibilities so you’ll know there are some easy and meaningful things you can do to make your life better. Let me know what resonates with you. I love to hear how others navigate their own turbulent waters. And when you comment on our blog, we’ll send you a free mp3 of our music in gratitude.
Since the very beginning of Soundings of the Planet in 1979, Dudley and Dean Evenson have been privileged to collaborate with outstanding musicians from around the world. Recently, Dean has enjoyed recording and performing with 11th generation Indian sitar masters – Deobrat Mishra and Pt. Shivnath Mishra. Their popular album on the Soundings label, RAGA CYCLE, is a blend of ancient ragas and modern interpretations. This fall, Deobrat Mishra is touring in the Pacific Northwest and Soundings is pleased to sponsor his Evening Ragas Sitar Concert in Bellingham. His concert tour is a benefit for the Benares Music Academy and the Daya Foundation which empowers people through yoga, two very relevant organizations.
Deobrat Mishra brings his energetic and innovative playing style back to Pacific Northwest. He is one of the most creative and innovative sitar artists in India. He was taught by his father, Pt. Shivnath Mishra, who had him performing on stage when he was five years old. The father-son duo has toured extensively in India, Europe and the Pacific Northwest to sell out crowds and more recently, Deobrat is traveling solo with a tabla player. Dean Evenson will join him on flute in Bellingham.
Sunday September 25 – Evening Ragas Sitar Concert –
The Majestic on North Forest, Bellingham, WA. Saturday October 1 – Raga Singing & Kirtan –
3 OMs Yoga. Bellingham, WA. Bellingham Concert details here.
Deobrat has received numerous music awards over the years. Selectivity, melody and rhythmic complexity are typical features of his lively playing style. He is Director of the Benares Music Academy on the Ganges whose mission is to keep classical Indian music alive. The Benares Academy of Indian Classical Music provides musical training and home for students ranging from the community of ‘untouchables’ in India, children of impoverished musicians who can’t afford to pass their traditions along, as well as to international travelers. Students have the opportunity to study music that engages the brain, heart, body, and mind toward integration, optimism, and service. Classical Indian music instruction is offered by scholarships made possible by these events.
DAYA Foundation is a change-agent organization based in Portland, Oregon that empowers students to discover their essential life skills through the yoga. Students are from diverse populations, including those isolated by trauma, incarceration, residential treatment centers, or with mental or physical health challenges. Their prison programs train adults in custody to become yoga instructors for other adults in custody.
Dean Evenson has loved nature from his early days as a bird watcher, an Eagle Scout and camping with his family. His peace music began with flute at 10 years old, so as he grew up, the idea of combining nature and music together became a natural course of his life path. In 1979, Dean was one of the first musicians to combine the sounds of nature with his peaceful music and in the process, he helped birth a whole new genre of relaxation and meditation music.
Another influence on his work has been his contact with Native American wisdom that teaches about nature perceiving the Earth as a living being which provides for our physical sustenance. The indigenous people call her Mother Earth and it is this concept that has caught the attention of Dean and Dudley who have dedicated their lives to bringing awareness to the importance of respecting nature. They see nature, not just as a resource for human development, but as having value in itself, for itself. Humans benefit greatly from healthy, natural ecosystems. When nature is out of balance, human populations are affected, not just the animals and plants. It is in all our best interests to do what we can to protect nature and give back to the Earth.
We hope you enjoy this short video of Dean Evenson discussing his philosophy about nature, music and peace.
“When we can relax ourselves into nature and experience the beauty and complexity of the natural world around us, we began to see how we do fit into this amazing system. We realize our responsibility to care for the life that is around us, knowing that life gives back multifold to an energy that’s given into it. You put a seed in the ground, add water and light, and that one little seed grows into a big plant. Some of the plants even have fruits and vegetables that are shareable as food. The natural world is a support system for all life and especially the human population so that we can evolve into greater things. It gives us immense pleasure to be part this beautiful, living system” ~ Dean Evenson
To these ideas of music and nature, Dean adds the concept of peace – both inner and outer peace. For almost four decades, people have been using Dean’s music to support their meditation and healing process. The gentle tones of flute, joined with nature sounds, create a perfect environment of Peace Through Music. When a person experiences inner peace, they will be a peaceful influence on the world around them. Everyone benefits from one individual living in harmony with themselves and their environment.
Thank you for watching and sharing. When you comment on our blog, we will send you a free mp3 track of our music as a thank you. We send you blessings of Peace Through Music!