MY LAST SIX WEEKS: I am emerging from the waters of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of At-One-Ment.
The last six weeks have been a time of hyper-focus as ritual holds up its mirror asking “who are you, and who do you want to be?”. Although most of my life was suspended in order to polish my hazzanutic (I think I just made up that word – I like it) identity, I would not trade one moment of the fabulous challenges and gifts working with a stellar leadership team that walks the line of irreverence and reverence with ease and humor. Somewhere between aligning myself with my most sincere level of expression of liturgy, and the rapture of the haunting musical melodies of this time, my channel opened to spirit perhaps in a way it never has.
The absence of one of our beloved Hazzans Nessim Issa Enver, who sang with us for many years, left spaces for me to risk taking on some middle eastern improvisation. The experience stretched me - I’d say I am a teen in that department and growing. I received honoring acknowledgement from many elders I respect in the community, which is very meaningful to me – and I am personally aware of holding grounded leadership, taking relatively good care of myself and my voice, and pretty sure I kicked some singing ass. MY NEXT SIX WEEKS: I was reflecting on how much I prioritized this work, all the practice, the eight rehearsals in 2 weeks, and the circadian audiation that occurs when you sing the same repertoire over and over again, and thought, “well damn, if I kept that schedule around my own music, I’d be further along!”. So, I bought a large wall calendar devoted to my song release journey. Stay tuned!
I hold a lot of forward moving energy in my field. I joke with my friends that because I have five planets in Scorpio, that it’s like a class 5 river ride in my body a lot of the time – sometimes all that water turns to fire. This is to say that suspending my urges is not something that comes natural to me. When inspiration strikes, I fly!
Thank you Goddess! for giving me a moon in Taurus to temper this and keep my feet on the ground. It feels good to listen to the YES energy and go forward, not procrastinate, and set the physical manifestation in motion right?!
Yet, timing is essential in order to support the possibility of creating the outcome we want. Learning to self-regulate has not only increased my appreciation and capacity to suspend, but has also changed my neurobiology to allow me access to the guidance to do so. This, of course can only happen when my hind brain is not hijacked by strong emotions – then it’s time for vocal release and vagus nerve resets baby! I have had to inquire with curiosity, am I suspending from a place of fear, or is it a choice? Both happen of course – good to observe. SUSPENSION IN MUSIC AND IMPROV: In the world of music making and improvising, a suspension is a technique that can be used to create tension and add depth to a composition. It can involve holding a note, while other notes shift, which can create temporary dissonance until the note resolves.
One can engage with music through this theoretical understanding, and also through an instinctive process where we choose to suspend when improvising together in order to create spaciousness, and rhythmic as well as tonal dynamics. This requires listening to the whole ensemble, and acting as one piece of a larger system that works together to cohesively collaborate to create beauty. We simultaneously listen within while also being aware of the other, and imagine what our individual impact is on the other and on the whole.
Perhaps the one aspect that allows access to this capacity is the consideration that every action creates an impact, either on ourselves or others.
This practice of making up music with others is a spiritual practice my friends. In the same way that verbal communication is my spiritual practice, this musical conversation requires me to both listen deeply while being a contributing part of the cangleska (Lakota for circle). Let’s spend some time together is suspension and see what happens!