Tag Archives: natural sounds

Honoring Mother Earth and our Native Communities

We love nature! Ever since we were young, Dean Evenson and I have enjoyed camping, hiking and just being in nature. Dean was an avid bird watcher and even achieved the honor of becoming an Eagle Scout with its associated merit badges. I used to explore the trails in the woods behind my house, imagining the Indians who walked there in a long ago age before cities, suburbs and super highways.

Dudley Dean mt lakeIt seems that time has only increased our love of the natural world and it doesn’t take much to get us out into wilderness areas. Last week, on a warm sunny day, we found ourselves high up on Mt. Baker near our home doing what we love to do – photographing, videotaping and sitting quietly on the mountainside with its vast vistas and sense of peaceful stillness.

It was our early exposure to the philosophy of Native American cultures that inspired us to consider the planet as a living body, our Mother Earth. In 1972, a couple years after the very first Earth Day, we attended the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment and met 15 Native Americans who had been sent over by Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog.2 UN Earth SummitsHe had arranged for them to offer their influence on diplomats and environmentalists, to share their wisdom about Mother Earth. Dean and I videotaped them and were profoundly impressed with their powerful message, so different from the others at the conference.

This week, four decades after that first exposure, we were honored to participate in the Indigenous People’s Day celebration at the Lummi Indian Nation, a nearby Native American tribe. 

It was inspiring to see how far our Native brothers and sisters have come back to their traditional ways and how proudly they carry the message of the Earth. This beautiful mother planet that we all share was the initial impetus for the music Dean and I create through our label Soundings of the Planet. Nature was our first inspiration and many of our recordings include the sounds of the natural world. May we learn to care for this Earth, our living home, and find ways to give back to the planet and to the original people and all who struggle here.

Thanks for reading and I welcome your comments and thoughts. When you comment here I will send you are free mp3 music track!

And please check out these albums and DVDs on sale at soundings.com.
Native Healing
4 Earth CD

4 Earth DVD
2 U.N. Earth Summits: 1972 & 1992

 

Have you heard about children with Nature Deficit Disorder?

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”  ~ Albert Einstein

4 kids in tree
April is here, the month of spring emerging and anticipation of the resurrection of all of nature.  It’s also the time that many of us acknowledge and celebrate Earth Day. But did you know that today, an unprecedented majority of children in modern societies have what is being called ‘Nature Deficit Disorder?’  That wouldn’t apply to the kids sitting in the tree pictured here though, but according to a report on BBC about a three-year study done in Britain, only one-fifth of the children aged 8-12 were ‘connected to nature.’  That means four-fifths or a staggering 80% of children have little or no connection with nature.

Why should this matter?  In recent years, a lot of research has focused on the negative effects that result from lack of contact with nature.  In 2012, Britain’s National Trust published a report on the phenomenon of ‘nature deficit disorder.’   Though it is not yet recognized as a medical condition, this lack of connection with nature can have harmful, long lasting effects on children of all ages.  With the pervasive use of technology by younger and younger children, the growth of virtual, as opposed to reality-based play is having a profound effect on children’s physical and emotional lives. Mental health disorders including depression and self-harming can often be a result of this nature disconnect.

According to Sue Armstrong-Brown, head of RSPB, Britain’s largest nature conservation charity, “improving the natural connection for children is not only good for the youngsters, it is crucial for the future of nature conservation.  If we can grow a generation of children that have a connection to nature and do feel a sense of oneness with it, we then have the force for the future that can save nature and stop us living in a world where nature is declining.”

Dean video pink flowersBecause of their deep love and concern for the natural world, Dudley and Dean Evenson have dedicated their life and work to elevating awareness and appreciation for the earth, our planet, our only home.  They remember the very first Earth Day back in 1970. And in 1972, with Dudley being five months pregnant, they back-packed across Sweden to the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment.  There they met Native Americans who were talking about Mother Earth and saying that the planet itself is an actual living being providing for all our physical needs and we are destroying her.  The Evensons were just beginning to work with the early portable video camera so they were able to document their experience in Stockholm and all that they were learning.  These videos and others ended up in a DVD released recently called ‘2 U.N. Earth Summits: 1972 & 1992’ of their experiences in Stockholm and later in Rio de Janeiro.

Then in 1979, Soundings of the Planet was formed to be a voice of the earth.  Dean had recorded the sounds of dawn in the Arizona desert and added their peaceful music of flute and harp and a whole new genre of music was born.  For over three decades, Dean and Dudley have produced CDs and DVDs that focus on peaceful, natural environments.  In celebration of Earth Day, Soundings of the Planet is offering super discounts on all Soundings albums that include natural sounds including our new 4 Earth CD and 4 Earth DVD of only natural sounds.  Please share with your children, grandchildren, or just enjoy them yourself.

Music for Health & Relaxation

By Dudley Evenson

“All the tragedy in the world, in the individual and in the multitude, comes from lack of harmony.  And harmony is best given by producing harmony in one’s own life.”

-Hazrat Inayat Khan, The Music of Life

All cultures on every part of the planet, from ancient times to this day, have used music in some way to lift the spirit and to enhance the healing process.  Sound affects us on all levels from the emotional to the physical, and reaches into our very depths, resonating through every cell and molecule of our being.

Music because of its nature is a link between the external and internal worlds, a bridge to the spirit and a doorway to the soul   Sound affects the vibratory rate of every part of the body and has a direct impact on the mental processes, muscles, nervous system, digestive system and circulatory system.  It is no wonder that health care practitioners have discovered the benefits of using music as a support for the healing process.

It is rare to have a healing session these days without the presence of peaceful music in the background.  Why is it that music and bodywork go so well together?  In addition to the pleasant environment that music provides, there are many reasons why music actually supports and extends the benefits of the healing session.  In this article, we will explore a few of them.

It is interesting to note that both healing music and massage began to have a popular acceptance about the same time.  The 1970’s were a time of new innovations and explorations into healing and consciousness so when a few pioneering musicians began to create a more spiritual and meditative form of music, it was natural that the newly blooming massage therapy and bodywork professions would discover its benefits for their practice.  In addition to a good massage table and fragrant massage oils, good music became a must-have part of a massage therapist’s medicine kit.

Surrounded as we are by the monotonous 60 cycle per second hum of machines and consuming urban life, the tendency toward tension and dis-ease has become the byproduct of our modern lifestyle.   Soothing music and the sounds of the nature remind us of the peace we desire.  Clinical research and personal testimonials attest to the effectiveness of music and natural sounds in providing a space for healing to occur.

In his landmark book, The Mozart Effect, Don Campbell states that “by listening to music with longer, slower sounds, one can usually deepen and slow the breath, allowing the mind to calm down….As with breathing rates, a lower heartbeat creates less physical tension and stress, calms the mind, and helps the body heal itself.  Music is a natural pacemaker.”

Stress.  The American Institute for Preventative Medicine cites it as a key role player and contributing factor in both heart disease and cancer, two of the leading causes of death in the United States.  Best-selling author and physician, Dr. Andrew Weil, concurs saying “I am convinced that stress is the primary cause or aggravating cause of the majority of illness.” Tension in the mind translates itself into tension in the body and can cause a state of dis-ease in the body’s organs and systems.

No wonder the many forms of bodywork now prevalent in our society such as massage, Reiki, healing touch, acupuncture, chiropractic, yoga, tai chi and Pilates are resulting in a direct benefit to our health.  Used in combination with peaceful music, the positive effects can even extend the healing experience beyond the hour or two of a session.  Some healthcare practitioners are “prescribing” music for their clients in order to extend the beneficial effects of their work.  If someone has had a positive experience listening to a certain piece of music during a session, being able to play the music at home will allow the effects to continue and cause the “Relaxation Response”  to kick in when the music is played and the memory stimulated.

What is it that makes music healing? Healing music as we have discovered is much more than just slow music with nature sounds.  We have identified multiple reasons why the music has a positive effect.  Some of them are listed below:

• Slow rhythms entrain bodily systems (heartbeat, pulse, digestive system, respiratory, muscles)

• Natural sounds (if present) give sense of peace

• Tones are nurturing, clear, warm and gentle

• Pace is slow but with a sense of joy and beauty

• Music doesn’t have hooks and repeated refrains that engage the mind (not demanding)

• Feeling is more like nature, flowing

• Sub-audio frequencies (if present) entrain brainwaves to alpha or theta state

A relaxed body and sense of inner calm are beneficial to restoring health and maintaining balance in the face of disease.  Often, the mind needs an extra tool to assist it in letting go of disturbing or repetitive thoughts.  Music has the ability to give the mind another focus and helps to lower stress levels, which in turn, helps strengthen the immune system.

Healing is about re-aligning the body with its own divine blueprint.  It is about returning to a dynamic state of balance from a temporary state of imbalance.  A primary way sound heals is through physical and emotional resonance.  Resonance occurs when two energy systems vibrate at the same frequency.  Certain music will cause the body and its systems to resonate with it and return to a state of balance.

Another aspect of healing with sound involves slowing down the brainwaves. Our brains emit a continuous and often varying vibration reflecting the state of our consciousness and attention.  When we are busy, physically and mentally active, or stressed, our brains emit Beta waves (15-21 hertz or cycles per second).  When we are in a peaceful, calm and meditative state, our brains emit Alpha waves (7-14 hertz) and we are more receptive to healing.  Theta brainwaves (4-7 hertz) are emitted in an even deeper and more dreamlike state.  Delta brainwaves (.5-5 hertz) indicate deep sleep, coma, or trance states.  Music with very slow sub-audio frequencies can help entrain the brain to go into the desired states.  Entrainment simply means causing one system to vibrate with another. A sub-audio frequency can be felt but not heard.  (Audible sound is in the range of 20-20,000 cycles per second.)  Music that contains very low frequencies under the mix can extend the healing effect of the practitioner’s work.

The intention of the musician is another aspect to consider when choosing healing music.

Sound is a carrier wave for intention and spiritual energy so the integrity and original intention of the musician are very important.  If music is made by formula and simply for commercial purposes, that is the intention of the artist and the music will have minimal healing effect.  On the other hand, if the musician is coming from a truly spiritual place, the benefits of the music will be all the more effective.

The level of healing gained by any musical piece is a function of the balance between the elements of intention, harmony, resonance, frequency, rhythm, and entrainment.  Because music is a form of art, there are also creative and artistic levels to consider and here we get into areas that are more intuitive and based on individual perception.  Slow music that is morose and moody will not have as positive an effect on the healing process as music that is joyful and uplifting and carries a sense of beauty and spirituality.  The good news is, there is much healing music available today that can assist the body worker to support the healing process and help the individual return to a state of wholeness and harmony with oneself.

Dudley Evenson and her husband, Dean Evenson, are award-winning musicians and co-founders of independent record label Soundings of the Planet, celebrating 30 years of creating Peace Through Music. They are sound healing pioneers and have produced over 60 albums since 1979. Contact Soundings of the Planet, www.soundings.com.