Songwriting

Songwriting is possibly the most intimate act of co-creation I engage in – other than the making of my own children. I cannot truly write a song, but I listen for them. I invite them into me with a promise to nurture them to wholeness. Sometimes they arrive in a download; sometimes they incubate for years waiting for the right inspiration to coax them to completion.

The combination of melody and verse communicates the human experience more fully than anything else. I am no musician. – the translation of sound to lines on a page is sheer magic to me, and a magic that I could never court. Still, occasionally I am blessed with a song. The voice memo function on my phone preserves these whisps nicely.

I sing them obsessively for months until my voice adapts to them. When I am writing a song, I linger in the mood, the space of it. I travel there as if going on a vacation of consciousness. Even much later, when I sing them, I am returned to the place and time of their creation. I imagine you have experienced this often with music.

Sometimes they are a line with an element of worship, true praise songs. These chants are offerings and expressions of gratitude. They enable me to feel the presence of the divine and encourage that energy to flow through me.

Other times, the most human of experience brings me to near worship of the other, distracting me from my usual devotions. The first verse of one of these remained my rain dance song for years. I sang it over and over during summer droughts until finally I would feel the gathering of electricity in the atmosphere and smell the dusty welcoming of nearby rain. Inevitably drops arrive with a bang. Recently it became a beckoning of a different sort. I sing its completed verses sparingly and mindfully.

The unparalleled sensuality of music moves us beyond memory into the primordial, the animal, and the ephemeral. My former teacher Denise Kinch, as part of teaching the Inca medicine wheel, asks her apprentices to call in their medicine songs. The song that arrived for me was the song of who I was at that moment, but it also moved me beyond myself and into my healer’s body.

May you enjoy the sensuality of a song today and may you listen and receive the song of your unique medicine.