My grateful heart, so filled with years of living. Memories flow by me like petals on a stream. My grateful heart forgives so many sorrows, Brings peace that lasts forever, Illuminates the dream.
Mi corazón tan lleno de recuerdos.
Si deslizan suaves, pétalos en el mar.
Mi corazón perdona los dolores,
Ofrece paz eterna,
You can find this song along with many others we sing, on the Threshold Choir CD ‘Tenderly Rain’ available here.
“I am learning from this experience. So it’s not depressing.” These were the sentiments expressed by a woman we visited who had taken a bad fall in her home. As she put it, “Last week I was dying, this week, living.” Although she had hearing difficulties, she was eager to engage in conversation and shared with us some precious wisdom about what she was going through and about her family life and history. When she couldn’t hear us talk, she encouraged us to write her notes. While she told us she wouldn’t be able to receive our singing, but was an avid reader, we handed her the lyrics to “Shine” by Joan Chu from the Aromas, CA choir so she could read them. This seemed to epitomize her positive attitude and how she has lived her life, and she remarked that she approved of the message of the song. As we left, she encouraged us not to give up, sharing more words of wisdom. Driving home, the full setting sun broke free of the clouds, lit resplendently in hot pink and orange, shining with a most vibrant and joyous light.
Last night at rehearsal we shared an enlightening experience. We usually sing at the Little Chapel of All Nations on the U of A campus. We sing inside the sweetly intimate and quiet space – when we have a key. We quickly learned the universe had other plans for us, being that we arrived sans key.
So, we improvised. First we sat in a nearby courtyard. With temps still hovering near 100 degrees it was warm, yet the cool night sky helped us be outside with ease. Okay, we thought, this is nice. But then the thumping bass lines and party soundtracks from nearby sorority or fraternity parties made themselves known. (School just resumed = HIGH energy hum!) It was a little tough to concentrate. With her trademark patience and intuition, Erin suggested we move into another space, due to the ahem, ‘high ambient noise’ factor. (Love her so much.)
The four of us took two benches and moved ourselves with these into a dark, brick and relatively quiet passageway with a cool cross-breeze. Great acoustics to boot, we realized. We found another little world within a world! We sat back-to-back, sinking into our breath and our bones. We sang with delicious satisfaction.
As I reflect today, I am seeing the metaphors. I see how we were quietly guided by intuition and listened to it. We didn’t let the noise and commotion annoy or disrupt us. We found the quiet space. We claimed it. And the joy of singing together unfolded for us, externally and internally, all at once.
The staff at this inpatient hospice facility in Tucson welcome us twice a month, as we come with songs into the hallways and rooms. We sing to patients and their families. When staff say, “sure, we’d like a song or two” we sing to them, too!
The first time we visited, we offered songs with five voices. We sang to a small number of patients whose ages spanned from pre-teen to elders. Sometimes, like tonight, only two of us may make it to sing. It may be the perfect amount unbeknownst to any of us — only two voices. We were called to sing softly for one woman. The songs were “So Many Angels” and “You are Loved”. Her labored breathing appeared to soften as we tapered our sound into hums.
For anyone who faces loss right now, I feel moved to post this video of Threshold Sisters singing earlier this year at a National Gathering. The uplifting power of our songs need not only occur in the hallways at hospice. Hopefully this song reaches many hearts:
From March 2nd-4th, 40+ women of varying ages and life experiences gathered to sing in Taos, New Mexico with our National Director, Kate Munger. Three of us from the Tucson Choir were enormously blessed to join this wise circle.
YES. We gathered with a singular focus: to sing! And to heal. And laugh together. Shed tears together. Walk a labyrinth on crunchy snow together. Mostly, to sense our voices lifted up in song as one glorious vibration.
We learned new songs like: “I will be your standing stone / I will stand by you.” And “Freedom on the Inside“. Oh – and “Make me a Polished Stone” — all written by our Song Grandmother, Kate. ‘Polished Stone‘ in fact, was written the day before we gathered; while she was at a local hot springs!
Words fail me when trying to describe this experience. I’m hoping my sisters who also attended will chime in with their thoughts. We will attempt to upload some sound files, so you can listen to some of the songs we rehearsed together.
What I can say shines amongst my most memorable experiences is this: the vision and sound of Kate Munger singing a solo lullaby. She explained how our sound while singing bedside ought to be no more than a mother singing softly into her baby’s ear, while held against her breast. This tenderness is incredibly soft. So delicately loving! And when a group of women sing this way, the power of it brings pure healing love.
Some women came with heavy hearts, as they were experiencing their own grieving. Some of us came with a need for renewal found in the songs we sing. Many of us were surprised by everything we experienced beyond what we came for.
Thank you, Kate. And thank you, Threshold sisters. My life is so incredibly expanded by your presence. And when I reflect upon the circles of people we touch while we go out into this world singing our songs, I’m awash in the same kind of spirit-filled goosebumps I feel when we close a song cycle.
We celebrated our first Tucson Threshold choir rehearsal of 2012 catching up on news since our last gathering and taking turns receiving song in the center of our singing circle. As recommended by our founder Kate Munger, we have a reclining chair that helps us to put ourselves into a receiving state of mind and into a similar position with those for whom we sing who are often in a bed or chair.
The Littleton, MA Threshold choir can be seen rehearsing in this way:
Our member C. is a songwriter, and we’ve had the privilege of debuting one of her pieces (“You Are Love”) in giving and receiving. When singing to someone in the chair during rehearsal, or at the bedside, we aim for a sense of unity with that person and with each other to express comfort and support through our joined voices. We all agreed that there was a particular sense of unity that permeated us when singing “You Are Love” this Tuesday, a wonderful beginning to the new year. We are looking forward to the year ahead with its many possibilities. Our rehearsals will continue to be the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month from 7:30-9 pm.
We talked at tonight’s rehearsal about taking a practice hiatus, so our next rehearsal will be January 10th (our regular second Tuesday). Stay tuned for possible singing opportunities over the holidays. Please comment here if you are interested.