Luminous Moments: A song for Edie
This is a very exciting time in the Lifesongs calendar. For the last several months, we have all – elders, youth, artists, and community members – been wholeheartedly engaged in sharing our lives and stories with one another, and in creating songs (and even dances!) together. On May 7th, as part of the Academy’s Festival of Learning, we will have the opportunity to share these songs with the wider community at the Lensic.
As we prepare for I Saw The Mystery: Lifesongs in Concert, we are reflecting upon the year that has been: the heart-opening conversations, the personal discoveries, the insights that we have shared as a community, and the songs that have been so lovingly created. Our Luminous Moments.
Lifesongs began over nine years ago as an idea or, to be more honest, as an impulse that sang itself into being with many caring hearts and hands. Unlike a million other beautiful ideas that come and go in the world, Lifesongs blossomed under the care, first of a few people, and then of more and more who came to fertilize the soil, water the plants and care for its growth.
At this year’s concert, we wanted to honor one of the roots of Lifesongs. We all have different inspirations. For me it is my grandmother, Edie Davies.
Edie was a lover of underdogs, playing dress up, the wilderness, animals and music. She loved Bach and Chopin and, despite severe arthritis in her hands, she played piano for most of her life. I remember lying on the floor for hours, as Edie played piano, and feeling a rising in my own heart. Looking back, I might call this feeling inspiration.
Every week for many years Edie went to Boulder Manor, a care center, to play music for the residents. As a young musician myself I had been to nursing homes with my school choirs during the holidays to sing medleys and madrigals. Like most teenagers I didn’t enjoy going there. I felt uncomfortable with the smells and was awkward around the residents. I really had no idea how to relate to anyone. At some point during those early high school years Edie asked me if I might come along to turn pages for her at the piano. I agreed and went with her every week for a time. Over just a few months, something began to change within me. Looking back now I can see that Edie gave me a great gift- a gift that took root in my heart.
As I sat at the piano with Edie and her fellow musician, Earl, who played the “potato box” (a depression era term for guitar), I began to notice something I had never seen before. It was a feeling of joy and relief. It was often just for an hour or two but once the music started the mood and energy in the facility changed. I also noticed my grandmother felt lighter and happier next to me as she played. I saw that she loved the feeling that she was doing something that gave meaning and joy to others and in that way she was also receiving a gift from the residents for herself.
Over time I came to see that it really wasn’t too hard to actually connect with something that is alive in each one of us. Some mix of creativity, respect, deep listening, honesty and discovery seemed to make healing possible. Now having worked in this field for over 18 years I can see how Edie’s sharing of her love of music, spirit and community blossomed in my own heart and helped me to tend to the early seeds of Lifesongs with passion, care and consistency. In those early days, together with the other tenders of the early seeds, Acushla Bastible and Andrea Fellows Walters, deep focus and attachment was needed to bring the program into being. Today the true vitality of Lifesongs, for me, is the radiant flowering tree that has taken root here at the Academy for the Love of Learning, and belongs to many people and grows from the soil of mystery and true love.
This year I wrote a Lifesong for Edie who transitioned fourteen years ago. I wanted to write a song for her that was simple, that many people could sing, and that would capture what I feel is a ripple effect that occurs when true love is passed from heart to heart. By true love, I am speaking of love that is not founded in attachment to an idea, identity, one person, or an outcome. By true love I am speaking of something far bigger than romance. By true love I mean that which undeniably reveals our one shared heart.
It will be an honor to perform this song with many voices at our upcoming concert.
In our love we are whole again
And in our love we heal the deepest wounds
In our love we spread our wings and we take flight
In our love we breathe the breath of home
It doesn’t take much to remember
It doesn’t take much to return to the light of the heart
It doesn’t take much to reach beyond the things that tear us all apart
Our love leads us home
Lifesongs Co-Founder and Lead Faculty
May 7, 7pm
Lensic Performing Arts Center
General admission tickets: $10; Premium tickets: $100
Ticketing through ticketssantafe.org
Click here to hear some songs from our first Lifesongs album, Love is Here: Songs and Poems from the Heart.
We will have CDs available at the concert.
For more information on how to get involved with the Lifesongs Ensemble, email Lifesongs@aloveoflearning.org, or call 505-995-1860.