January 28, 2015

Song from Within: A Musician’s Perspective on Listening Deeply.


Grandmother Winter arrives carrying the new year like a child, and for a moment all the earth slows to match her quiet steps.

Senses sharpen, spirits are refreshed and plans are made for the life of a coming season. In the dim morning light I watch an urban miracle of a sleeping hawk in the branches of a tree outside my Brooklyn window.

Soon she beats her soft wings in time to the currents of air and disappears into the sky. I hear the moan of a ship’s fog horn on the river, and the low hum of a city springing to life. I allow the song of the day to wash over me, and remember how much I love the gentle flow of early winter mornings.

The pace of autumn for a musician living in New York City can be overwhelming, and deafening to the senses. Recording schedules, rehearsals, performances and party production can take up much of the time we normally use to recharge and connect.

Today I welcome the rebirth of the year, hoping to wind my energies down to a different speed in order to hear new music welling within me. I hope to follow the flow, to use winter as a time to listen deeply for new songs waiting to be born, and to welcome personal growth.

This winter I will allow myself to turn inward with the season, listening for the currents of energy that germinate seeds of creation and inner growth. This is a gift we can give ourselves every year instead of continuing to move with faster frequencies we were riding in summer and fall.

Here’s my plan, I hope you will be inspired to find your own ways to listen to your own inner melodies of life:

Breathing In:

In developing a deeper connection to my breath through the practice of mindful breathing, I learn an important lesson about the tides of life. All things come and go. All energies must first move inward before they can move out into the world.

As artists and creators of our life’s path, we must breathe in new ideas, inspirations and experiences in order to breathe out new creations. This means slowing down, and allowing for times of inaction and dormant regeneration. January’s arrival is a slow inhalation of freshness, it asks us to spend time in quiet contemplation and self care to encourage vibrant birth of new pathways and ideas.


Writing in a dream journal first thing in the morning by candlelight, I create a ritual of remembering, and honor the unseen world that walks by our side. Inspirations, melodies and answers to inner questions bubble up from the dreamtime, and assist in helping me to understand my connection the multiverse.

The shorter days of winter invite longer time spent dreaming in warm blankets and cozy places. Allowing time for short naps to recharge encourages more time spent in the hypnagogic state, and balance between the sides of the brain. I love to close my eyes for 20 minutes on a cold, cloudy afternoon with binaural beats in my headphones, and awake with a new outlook for the rest of my day.

Touching The Bones:

During the cold and barren months of winter I like to let myself go deep.

I read poetry, and listen to music that touches my deepest parts, feeling emotion wash over me and and inspire my own words and sounds from within. I indulge in long moments spent gazing at the bones of the trees, and think about the natural cycles of life. I watch the sharp beauty that pierces the winter skies on windswept days and nights, listening for the powerful life force that runs through the earth even in slumber. I remember that I too will grow and old and wither as I stand in my sleeping garden, and feel the frozen ground beneath my feet.

This is the time to savor life, and know that death is a loving gateway that promises to return us one to day the source. I give thanks for the growing days of spring that nature promises to return to us, and honor the ancient memories of the ancestors stored in stone and mountain.

I won’t rush Grandmother Winter and the sleeping child she carries with her. I’ll let her wind her old worn out hands around my own, and whisper ancient tales from the depths of time gone by. I have to love her.

She is a an old woman who remembers. She reminds is that the light is returning. Grandmother carrying a candle of hope. She is surrendered to the flow, and no longer wishes to be young again. She sees herself in all that lives around her, holds the seeds of spring close, and quietly celebrates the rebirth of the sun. She settles in to weave her stories, and sing melodies from the deep place between her breasts.

Does she see the next world when she dreams? The blossoms of the coming year?

Grandmother…sing to me, I am listening.



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 Author: Kai Altair 

Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: martinak15/Flickr

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