My bed is so hard that I have to wake up and turn over, otherwise I will have not only stiff joints but also bedsores. Now, I like a firm mattress… but there is a difference between “firm” and “rock hard”. So I bought a new mattress. Well, not really a mattress, but a dense piece of foam. When reading blogs from Sunday Scribblings about "bed", I ran across this drawing, by Edmund Dulac (1911). I love this drawing, and I know how she felt. Not so much the pea (I didn’t put one in my bed), but the height of a place to sleep. So now I have my bed frame, the main rock hard mattress, the 10.0 cm dense foam that I just bought, 2 local thin mattresses, and one IKEA mattress, then the mattress pad and sheet. Now, I no longer have to climb into bed, but onto bed. I don’t need a footstool yet. And when I saw this drawing, I knew that this princess, too, had to climb onto bed. And I, too, am a princess – a daughter of the Most High King! If this needs to be tested, just put a pea under the bottom mattresses! ☺
Music resonates deep within my soul. Sounds vibrate to my innermost being. I have been involved with music all of my life. While I played at the piano, I play the French horn and have done so for over 40 years. I love the horn. I love the timbre of it, the mellowness, and the way it resonates deep within me. I have not mastered it the way Dennis Brain, Philip Farkas, and Barry Tuckwell have, but I do enjoy playing the horn, and listening to horn music.
I have often wondered why I enjoy horn music so much. Why does it resonate so much with me? Why do some types of music go to the core of my very being? And why do some pieces of music sound just OK? Why do some concerts send my soul into blissful splendor, giving my body peace and a sense of completion? And why do some concerts just leave me feeling uneasy and empty?
When I was at university, I started out as a music major. They gave me money to go to school with. I played in the orchestra, brass choir, horn quartet, and marching band. Marching band was not my choice but a requirement for those on scholarship. I loved the orchestra and classical music pieces that we played. And I loved even more the brass choir. To this day, I am not sure if it was the music that I enjoyed in brass choir, or all that testosterone, as I was often the only female in the room. My favorite group of all, however, was Horn Quartet. One of the most rewarding concerts I ever played in was when we went to the Eugene School of the Deaf. The children couldn’t “hear” the music, but they could feel the vibrations. And, they could “hear” when we were out of tune. We deliberately started out of tune that day as we tuned up. All the children put their hands to their ears, squeeling at the dissonance, or “beat” that the out-of-tune notes made. As we got more into tune, they calmed down. We played several pieces for the children, the names of which I have forgotten, since that wasn’t the important part of the concert. If we hit a note that was even the slightest out of tune, they would hold their ears and cry out. After we finished the last piece, the children were invited to come up and put their hands on the bell of our horns while we played several notes. They could feel the frequency vibrations in the different notes. Why wasn’t I as in tune with the resonating frequencies as these deaf children were? These children, while deaf, had such a great appreciation for music that goes beyond what many musicians have. While they couldn’t hear one note, they could feel the frequencies of each note, and the blend of frequencies that resonated within them.
Another great moment in music that I really love, and there have been many of them, is when a piece of music is forever implanted in my mind in combination with a certain activity or place. “Stars and Stripes Forever”, by John Philip Sousa, is the first time I remember this occurring. When my high school band went to Europe, “Bands to Britain”, we played this piece at the end of each of the 22 concerts. The piccolo players stood during their solo. Then the trumpet and trombone players would stand and walk to the front of the stage during the grand finale, as the music slowed and broadened, grandioso in style. This brought every audience to their feet in applause every time. Mr. John was a great band director, and I will always associate “Stars and Stripes Forever” with traveling through Europe.
In 1985, I was living and working in Nepal. June 1st, they opened the Nepal-Tibet border for the first time. Some friends and I formed a tour group, and crossed the border June 4th. At the end of our three-day tour, we told the tour guide that we enjoyed our trip so much, that we wanted to see more of Tibet. So we rented the Mitsubishi mini-bus, and traveled onward, with the Chinese tour guide, until we got to Shigatse, where we left the minibus and guide, and traveled on our own. As we crossed the mountains, there were numerous high passes, each dropping only slightly before climbing again. But the first time after crossing the Himalayas when we actually dropped down onto the Tibetan plateau, the beauty before us mesmerized us. The barley was just coming up, so there was this brilliant green in the fields with the contrasting brown dryness in the hills, and George Winston’s “December” tape was playing “Carol of the Bells”. I will forever remember that breathtaking scene when I hear “Carol of the Bells”, and the feeling of perfect peace and harmony as that scenery and music blended through the spheres.
Willie Ruff is a jazz musician. He plays other music as well, and he is the first person I have ever heard to play jazz French Horn. And he is great! One time I heard him play live jazz French Horn in a concert in Portland, Oregon. It was incredible. One of the things I remember most, besides playing music outside of the box, is that in one piece, he played his horn directing the bell right into the strings of the grand piano. It was amazing! He set off reverberations and chords as different strings resonated individually with his music. He had an entire orchestra right there with him playing solo French horn. The New York Times has called his jazz music “satisfyingly unusual”. I also have a tape of Willie Ruff playing Gregorian Chants on the French horn inside of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, Italy. He got permission one night to go in and play. He took in a simple mono tape recorder, and stood in center of the cathedral, and played his horn. He played with perfect pitch, and was able to record resonance, tones and overtones, as his music resounded and reverberated within the cathedral. His music speaks to the depths of my being, the depth of my soul.
Over the past few years, I have often thought of the music that has resonated so much within me, and curious as to why some music sends me soaring and other music leaves me empty. Some concerts leave me with a sense of fulfillment and completion, while others leave me incomplete, lacking certain qualities to feel fulfilled. Since I am in the field of health care, I am interested in total and complete healing of our bodies, whether the problems are physical, spiritual or emotional, so I find this very interesting. I have recently been studying how different sounds and notes resonate within our bodies. We have seven major energy centers within our bodies. Eastern thought calls these energy centers “chakras”, and each energy center relates to a different color, has a different emotion related to it, and vibrates to a different note. Pure white light, when separated by a prism, separates into the seven colors of a rainbow. The seven energy centers of the body vibrate harmoniously with each of the seven color frequencies of the rainbow. A different emotion, or part of our being, is associated with each energy center: 1 - physical body and earthly grounding, 2 – sexuality, emotion and reproduction, 3 – inner strength, will and self-confidence, 4 – relationships with yourself and others, love and compassion, 5 – communication, creativity of expression and impulse, 6 – imagination, intuition/ clarity of though and dreams, 7 – pure awareness/consciousness, and understanding. And while each energy center vibrates to a different note, and the octave of music with that note, there seem to be different opinions as to which notes correspond to each chakra.
There are many web sites devoted entirely to this study, and wanting to sell you their music to open these chakras or energy centers. In the music for sale, each piece is set in the note of the chakra with the mood and emotion of the chakra matched with carefully selected instruments to produce the exact ambience. The entire set of music, which targets all of the chakras, will help heal and energize. But when it comes down to it, all we have to do is listen to our own body, and try to feel the sound vibration moving through it. Our bodies are filled with different rhythms, of each organ and system working in harmony within themselves, and working in unison with each other. Music and rhythm are life itself. It is how our bodies function. The notes or pitches can be experienced through listening to a piece of music in the appropriate key, played on a musical instrument, or simply sung or hummed by you.
The general consensus is that if there are any energy blockages in the chakras, applying the correct light frequency, and music frequency, can be very beneficial in clearing and restoring the area to proper functioning, influencing the entire body and psyche. Your energy system can be stabilized, and it serves as preventative medicine, as each cell in your body has the capacity to respond to any sound and to resonate. This gives the sense of healing, wholeness, and completion.
I find it interesting how it is “seven” of everything. This is a perfect prime number. Throughout the Bible, seven is repeated as the number of perfection and completion. It took seven days to create the earth (six to create, and one to rest and enjoy creation), and there are the seven churches, the seven trumpets, and the seven Seals of Revelation (Rev. 15), and many other references to “seven” in between. So we utilize the seven colors of the rainbow, the seven chakras (first through seventh), and the seven parts of our being to create the sense of wholeness and completion in us, the harmony and balance in our being. Maybe it is that striving for completion of what God has created within me, that desire to seek Him and all His wisdom, that need for wholeness that only He can provide that horn music tries to fulfill. If living in a fallen world creates that emptiness, that lack of vibration or blockage in one of my energy centers, maybe, just maybe, He uses music (and in my case, the French horn) to help fill, complete and restore that which is missing. Only He knows for sure. Only He can fill the void and give me the wholeness that I crave and desire.
Maybe this is why the French horn has such a powerful effect on me. Maybe it opens a particular energy center that is blocked. Maybe its frequencies help my body to function better. Whatever the reason, it helps create that sense of completion and wholeness. It creates a sense of beauty, perfection, harmony, and order within me. The French horn resonates deep within my soul.
Since "bed" is the prompt this week, I shall write about MY bed. My bed has taken on many forms over the years. When I was young, I slept in a single bed, sharing a room with my sister. And for a short while, we actually shared a double bed! I think that was a disaster. After leaving home, I usually had a double bed all to myself, other than when I was in a dorm.
My favorite beds have been on backpack trips, sleeping in a sleeping bag, on a foam pad (later years, on a Thermarest) under the stars. I love sleeping out under the stars, just lying there watching them twinkle in the dark sky. The expanse of the night sky is so enormous, and with a chill in the air, I love cuddling down in my sleeping bad, feeling safe, warm and secure.
Sometimes my bed has been a yak hair mat. These are actually quite comfortable. While they are a little smelly, they are OK to sleep on. Sometimes in China, I have had a straw-filled mattress. These are really terrible, as they are hard, and it is difficult to get really comfortable. And sometimes, I have slept on a Tibetan mattress with a khaden (Tibetan for “rug”) on top. These are really comfortable. While wider than a single bed, they are not quite as wide as a double bed. The Tibetan mattress is about 3” thick, and the khaden is usually hand woven and really plush, so it makes for a great sleep.
My bed has taken me to many places. From sleeping in a bed and breakfast in Dublin, Ireland, to youth hostels in Berlin, to beach parties in Baja, to tea houses in Nepal, to sleeper trains in China, … while trekking in the Himalayas, or climbing the peaks in Mexico, or backpacking in the Altai of Kazakhstan… It doesn’t matter where I go. The important thing about a bed is to sleep in MY bed.
It seems as if so many people in America are in search of the elusive Fountain of Youth. People are getting Botox injections and face lifts to get rid of the wrinkles, dying their hair to cover the gray, and taking all the latest fad supplements to fight aging. What is so wrong with the natural process of aging anyway? I do want to take care of myself, keep healthy and fit, but some things just happen. When I first went overseas, my sisters were having children. And now, these children have grown up and are having children of their own. Aging just happens. We can’t change that.
Living in Asia, I have the fortune of seeing many people with “character” in their faces. They have great smiles. They are weathered looking. They have gray hair. When I look at the faces with “character”, the ones I like to photograph, they don’t have their teeth straightened. Some of them don’t even have teeth! While Tom Cruise is not my favorite actor, I think his smile had more “character” in it before he straightened his upper teeth. And, just so you know, I am not against having teeth straightened, as there are many cosmetic and health reasons to have your teeth straightened.
People with “character” have wrinkles. I like wrinkles on people. What is it that ‘they’ say? ‘Wrinkles are where smiles have been!’ No Botox or face lifts for me! I like the wrinkles. Maybe not so many of them, but they add “character”. I don’t want that tight over-stretched face like Joan Rivers has!
My favorite photos are either of children or old people. And the old people all have gray hair. These days, many older people in China are actually dying their hair black, to hide the gray, while many of the younger people are dying their hair red, blond, and even purple!
OK, so I have a few gray hairs. OK, it is more than just a few. I have that lovely little patch of gray in the right front. I inherited this from my maternal grandmother. When she was 95, she still looked more brown that gray. And she always had this little patch of gray in the front and a little to the side. I like my brown hair. And as I age, I seem to be gaining some lovely red highlights. So, do I dye that little gray patch (and the few other strands of “silver” that I see glinting in the sunlight)? or not? To have “character”, or not?
It is so great to be home. When I went to the States last autumn, I thought it was only to be for three months. It turned out to be “The Never-Ending Story” – it went on and on, and just would never end! So after eight months in the States, I was able to leave May 27, and to return ‘home’ again. I can sleep in my own bed! I can cook in my own kitchen! And, let’s face it – I enjoy the challenges of daily life and functioning in another language and culture!
Everyone has been so friendly!!! My neighbors all want to talk, friends come over, and kids say, “Hello!” then giggle, run and hide. When I first moved into this apartment, I was the only foreigner here, and that was great! Now there are four foreigners living in my compound, with another three soon to come. Since we are all good friends, I don’t mind all the other foreign presence here now. And I think that we all have complimentary life skills so it will be a good witness to others around us. “You will be known by your love.”
Unpacking has been a chore, and fun at the same time. I open a box, and it is just like Christmas! “Oh, I forgot I had this!” and “Oh, I don’t even remember having this!” and “Oh, I can get rid of this now!” I have electricity and running water. And now I have running water even in my kitchen! The curtains are put up in the living room and my bedroom. Kitchen cabinets have been installed from my old flat, and I had a few new ones made to make up for the ones that didn’t survive the transition from one flat to another. Not only am I returning “home” after an extended stay in America, I am also moving into a new flat. Everything has been in boxes for several months, and it is time to get settled in (so I am taking a much-needed break to write this).
And my students… The first week I came back, I asked the teachers if they would mind me coming in to visit my former students. Not a problem. So I peeked in the door, and nearly caused a riot! They were shouting, clapping, and stomping their feet. I went around to each table to greet my former students. One girl burst into tears. She said, “Oh teacher, I have missed you so much!” Is it that she truly missed me? or is it because there are only male teachers now, and she misses the female presence? I don’t know, but it was great to be missed so much!
I was also greeted with emergencies my first week. A young man came to me only 30 minutes after he had broken his nose and sustained a concussion in a soccer game. Two people who I had started treatment on before I left, came back for further follow-ups before they left the country, one of which had been suffering with a dislocated rib for the past month. And a young woman, who is the friend of a friend of mine, has a badly fractured pelvis. In addition to helping her pelvis to heal up in a correct alignment, I am helping her to become more mobile in her sister’s flat.
While I love being back, I will miss my family and friends in America. And, I have much to look forward to this summer, including summer teams, friends who will be visiting, seeing my Tibetan family, and the horse festival!
A friend of mine has been in the hospital for 54 days now with tuberculosis. After finding out which hospital he was in, I went to see him, and to see if I could help. The hospital turns out to be only about a 15-minute walk away from me. This friend of mine has really been struggling with many things lately, the least of which is the tuberculosis. Over the past few days I have been able to do a lot of scar tissue release work on his lungs, connective tissue release, lung segment mobility, and have helped to restore circulation to the damaged parts of his lungs. “Joseph” has really been amazed at how his breathing improves with each visit. Over the past 54 days, Joseph has seen three roommates come and go, and from them he has learned many things, especially about how his people can get financial assistance for the tuberculosis medicine. Tuberculosis is quite rampant, especially among the nomads. Statistics in small villages have reported that 10% of the population may have TB. I think that this report may be a little lower than what is actually going on. My hope is that when Joseph’s doctors come in this week, that they will see actual clinical improvement which supports the subjective improvement that Joseph (and I) have seen over the past few days. This story will continue…