In a gentle way, you can shake the world - Ghandi The world feels especially topsy turvy at the moment on a local, national and global level. The rise of right wing governments is accompanied by brutal misogyny, racism, environmental destruction and oppression of minority groups including the LGTBQ community. For me the question comes repeatedly, how can I serve, what can I do?during these very intense times. For me, empowerment and peace comes from starting with what I can do in my corner of the world - small daily actions like smiling at strangers, making ethical consumer choices, protesting intelligently and of course singing where and whenever possible.... Whatever your gift, whatever your abilities, whatever your situation - just by being here, you are contributing to the wellness of the world.
Singing Makes Magic In Mayhem When the world turns upside down, the best thing to do is turn right along with it - Mary Poppins The mistress of magic, Mary Poppins, teaches us to seek the possible within the impossible and to look for new perspectives available when life turns upside down. Anyone who does yoga will have felt the benefit of turning themselves upside down in a downward dog. Similarly walking backwards can press the reset button on our brains. We have the capacity to alchemise our challenges, to find the magic in the madness. Singing sprinkles some magic and brings a fresh perspective on day to day life: as Jack Pelham, MD of Men's Chorus Sing Montana identifies It is for me one of life’s most meaningful experiences, and yet its meaning is strangely non-pragmatic. I mean, it’s not like the economy does better because of men singing, or that it solves congested traffic patterns. But its value lies in something of a different sort; there’s something so “human” in the experience. And I find that Jack is simply a better person when there’s something like that to be experienced, and to be looked forward to each week. Caveat: Actually, we know that singing does boost the economy - an Arts Council report demonstrates that arts and culture industries generated £3.4 billion in 2015. :)
Singing Activism It's a folk singers job to comfort disturbed people and to disturb comfortable people - Woody Guthrie. There are multiple ways in which singing has been used to bring wellness, strength and peace to those who are suffering. Singing is now being prescribed as to alleviate the suffering of those with many health conditions including COPD, dementia, Parkinsons and mental health issues. Singing has also been used as a revolutionary tool to disturb oppressive systems and regimes - singers including Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Joan Baez and Peter Seeger were all at the forefront of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. Some evolutionary theories suggest we started singing as a noisy display tactic to frighten away predators and enemies. This ancient battle cry can be found ringing around football stadiums and a recent study showed that football teams who sang their national anthems with great passion were more likely to win! As I write, huge amounts of people are taking to the streets to protest the proroguing of the UK Government. There are also ongoing events and protests by Extinction Rebellion. If you are interested in joining mass chants at events in October with the leader of the Spooky Man's Chorale, please email Stephen Taberner. There is also an Extinction Rebellion Choir Facebook Group As singing activates our inner wellness, we are motivated to contribute to the wellness of the world. It's a natural cycle of giving and receiving from the magic of song, that rides on the wave of every breath.
After a wonderful summer, I'm excited about the new term of Autumn singing - please visit my choir page for the full line up.
If you'd like to flex your activism and wellness singing muscles either 121 or at a choir do drop me a line.
Wishing you an awesomely active, wellness boosting Autumn
Photo - sunset perspectives, Recent wonderful trip to Aarhus