ELEMENTAL ALCHEMY represents a journey: one I am now ready to share. For the past seven years, my life has gone through so many changes that it’s hard for me to recognize the person I was in 2007. Breakdowns and breakthroughs dealing with death, loss and rebirth and doing whatever it took to finally heal whatever wasn’t working on the inside was an arduous process. I experienced a true dark night of the soul that led to a complete transformation of everything in my life as I knew it.

The walls I built around myself reflected everything I thought I wanted in life, and kept the deepest parts of myself hidden, masking an overwhelming fear of what others would think of me if they saw the truth. Societal conditioning, family and my environment molded my walls into structures so hard and formed that it took mountains, and in my case a loved one’s death, to break it all down. Fear and conditioning led me to build a life that I was not happy in – a life that reflected everything I thought I wanted on the outside, and very little of who I was on the inside.

As a child, I was inherently musical and naturally played piano and by ear, sang and danced for anyone who would listen: I did not have a single shy bone in my body. However, as I began to train more formally in the classical system that discouraged true creativity and improvisation, I developed many deep fears of playing a wrong note, of not being good enough, and was guided to constantly compare myself to others – and eventually I lost the joy and spontaneity that connected me with music in the first place. That which gave me more joy than anything, slowly began causing me more stress than joy, more pain than solace. Yet, I still knew that that music was the only thing I wanted to do, so I kept doing it anyways. Those deep-seated patterns led me to focus on everyone else’s musical output instead of my own.

For the entirety of my career, I worked with the musicians and artists I most admired in the classical music world, and though I was fulfilled in a way, a part of my heart and voice wasn’t being heard. The jobs closer to the top became so all-encompassing that there was no room for any of my own creative self to come through – and a major part of me, the most alive part, was dead. It took many difficult decisions and experiences – stepping away from a career; the loss of my father and two of my grandparents; three major cross country moves; more than 1600 hours of healing arts classes; starting a consulting business; reconnecting with improvisation as an art form on piano and with my voice; and beginning my healing arts practice – to come to the release of this CD.

I knew my path involved the place where music and healing intersected but I had absolutely no vision of how that might look. Then, after spending four intensive weeks at the Globe Sound & Consciousness Institute in San Francisco in the summer of 2014, it all came together: FINALLY! In sound healing I found my own peace, solace and purpose, and all of the elements of who I am came together in one place. This led to the title and inspiration behind the album: ELEMENTAL ALCHEMY. The album is based in healing the elements within ourselves and is a musical representation of my journey to the present: a captured moment in time in one of my favorite places on the planet, Ojai, CA.

When I made the decision to leave my job as Director of Artistic Planning at the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra to pursue my other passions, my friend and colleague Natalie forwarded me this poem by Mary Oliver that gave me hope. May all of us have the courage to listen to our hearts and transform.

The Journey
By Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.


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