Many people set New Year’s Resolutions, long lists of what we wish to resolve, achieve and accomplish. This year, I decided to take a less traveled path and forgo the pencil and paper method of writing down my resolutions. I have always been attracted to The Bhakti Yoga path, the spiritual practice of fostering loving devotion (bhakti) to a personal form of God. So instead of scribbling down a few goals, I decided to be part of a collective group, to shape my intention energetically and to consciously create a beautiful New Year.
Looking for the perfect event, I was drawn to the Sound Healing and Intention Circle, guided by Stella Davies and Debbie Shaw Brickell, who work with both modern and ancient healing modalities in the Los Angeles area.
Stella trained as a Drama-therapist, using creative play, movement and vocal work therapeutically in prisons, psychiatric hospitals and schools. After taking Naked Voice Training with Chloe Goodchild (www.thenakedvoice.com) Stella found that every human being has a deep, authentic, creative voice, steeped in wisdom. In Stella’s Heart of Voice workshops and individual sessions, she teaches people how to awaken and deepen the connection to their own voice and to Witnessing Consciousness – a silent knowing from which all creativity flows.
Debbie Shaw Brickell holds a Masters Degree in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica and is a master group facilitator, Life Coach, and both a Reiki and Theta Healer. Debbie’s “Meditations for Peace and Prosperity” and “Meditations for Embracing Change,” CDs use energetic exercises designed to help release unconscious fearful belief patterns and replace them with thought patterns that support peace and prosperity.
Surely with these two powerhouses of transformation, I could get my New Year off to a positive start!
The circle was held at Stella Davies home in Oak Park. I felt instantly safe when I walked into the light and spacious house. A table was set with a winter Poinsettia, fruit and snacks. There were exactly twenty-two women and one courageous man, who attended with his wife. As our one male representative in the Intention Circle, he was surprisingly calm and comfortable with the abundant feminine energy.
Stella and Debbie explained that in order to request change, we must first release the “baggage” we no longer wished to carry into the New Year. The circle was being held on 1/1/11 and apparently, the date was significant and would create a powerful, energetic opening — a gateway for transformative changes.
After gathering in a circle, Debbie guided us through a prayer to the higher powers, invoking spiritual guides to help us set positive intentions for the New Year. She also asked us to offer healing thoughts to Gaia our mother earth, to strengthen our connection and create the strength needed to release old worn out ideas and habits holding us back.
The first task was to release the “baggage.” As a group, we spontaneously took turns affirming what we wished to release through our words. We went around the circle spontaneously saying “I release” followed by whatever came to mind: anger, resentment, guilt, jealousy, shame, doubt. If a word or phrase resonated with you, all you had to do was say, “ho.” This struck me on a deep level and I found myself doing a lot of “ho-hoing,” each time I recognized a familiar emotion or experience in one of my fellow participants.
Even though I’d never met these people, our deep human connection was becoming more and more palpable. I remembered the quote by the French Jesuit and Philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardi, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience.” I felt I had a visceral understanding of what that meant, how we all resonated with each other’s pain, loss, self-doubt or joy. Our trust deepened as we shared the tribulations and challenges of life.
Debbie guided us through the imagery work, asking us to use our five senses; to physically see, feel, touch, smell and hear what we wanted in the New Year. Through ritualized imagery, Debbie led us toward the essence of what we truly wanted, in order to set authentic intentions. Debbie was like the key-holder who allowed us to open the door to our deeper needs. According to Debbie, we had to connect with happiness and the idea that we deserved to live in joy so that we are in alignment with our intention.
Stella led the chanting and when she shared her voice, I was literally stunned as a beautiful, angelic voice emerged. Stella practices a vocal form called Over-toning, a subtle, yet powerful energetic sound work. Stella explained that the human voice holds enormous potential for healing and balancing the energy centers (Chakras), which can become blocked through the stress and strain of daily life. Since we exist as pure vibration, Over-toning teaches us to draw on the harmonics of sound to restore balance in mind, body and spirit.
Finally, it was time to form our intention for the New Year, affirming what we hoped to grow, flourish and expand. Like many people, I am my own worst critic, so I asked for acceptance and greater compassion for others and myself.
At this point in the afternoon, I witnessed some tears in the eyes and faces of those in attendance. The intimacy of the ritual, the chanting and guided meditation had connected us. As we shared our human experience, emotion was releasing. I felt something shift inside me. I felt cleansed and ready to face a new year.
The circle ended with a Savasana. As I laid on the floor in a meditative state, eyes closed and body in complete relaxation, Stella’s over-toning allowed me to slip into a higher state of consciousness. I could sense my body below me, as I floated slightly above, looking down at my calm and smiling face. As we gently came out of the meditation, I felt a great sense of levity in my body, mind and spirit.
Now I understood why I had wanted a deeper experience than scribbling a few thoughts on a piece of paper. The combination of Debbie’s imagery and Stella’s voice had shifted some deeper level of awareness inside me. I felt, cleaner, healthier and more connected.
So far, my best resolution of the year was coming to The Sound Healing and Intention Circle. I highly recommend you attend any of their future events. Their next event is scheduled for February 19th, 2011 and offers you the opportunity to connect with the Angels. The workshop is entitled “Expect a Miracle: Manifesting with the Angels”. You can expect to enjoy an afternoon of guided visualization, vibrational upliftment through sound and chant, angel card readings and much, much more. To register, contact Debbie Brickell at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Debbie Shaw Brickell holds a Masters Degree in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica. She is a master group facilitator, certified Spiritual Life Coach, and Reiki and Theta Healer. She offers a Wednesday morning 9:30 am Spiritual Support, Guided Meditation & Intuitive Guidance Group at The Center for Spiritual Living in Wesltake Village. If you’re unable to make the group sessions, she’s also available for Individual Sessions, offers Spiritual Coaching packages and Guided Meditation CD’s to help you step fully into all that you desire. She can be reached through her website at: http://awakeningthrugrace.com.
Stella Davies has always been fascinated in the healing of creative arts, singing and sound. Stella became one of Chloe Goodchild’s ‘Naked Voice’ facilitators in 2000, and trained with the British Association for Sound Therapy in 2005. She has recorded several albums of her own material, including the Chant CD ‘Soul Lines’, and has shared these healing sound practices widely in the UK, across Europe and now in the US. She offers monthly community Kirtans at The Yoga Loft in Woodland Hills on the first Friday of each month at 7:30 pm and in her Oak Park home every Monday night from 7:00 – 8:30 pm. She can be reached through her website at: www.theheartofvoice.com
Kat Stimac is a photographer and yogi who specializes in detailed photographs of Flora and Fauna, landscapes, sky-scapes and textures. Kat applies the mindfulness of meditation to her photographic technique, capturing wildlife in unguarded moments of stillness or repose, stunning moments in time or breathtaking vistas to create a state of transcendence in the viewer.