Songbirds
Acrylic on Canvas 12" x 24"

Sing!
Sing for life.
Sing in the times when thoughts become worry.
Sing then.
Sing to feed hungry souls...
and sing to fill the craving in your heart (masquerading perhaps, as a rumble in your stomach, or a longing in your wallet).
Sing because you can...
and it's not too late.
Sing because they told you not to.
Sing because they still might remember what it was they loved
before it became too serious to love it anymore.
Sing!
Sing to forget, and sing to remember again.
Sing loudly and off key.
Sing until the vibration makes the hair on your body tingle with delight.
Sing until your lips go numb, and your voice cracks,
and you smile and laugh at the wonder of your heart in flight.
Sing for freedom.
Sing for peace.
Sing for love.
Sing the blues until you sound like tears and rain, and clouds heavy with fever.
Sing in solidarity with all those whose cages are yet to be broken,
and sing again to unlock the cages you've made with your own hands.
Sing world!
Sing because it is simple...
because it is almost always harmless,
and because it is often healing.
Sing words that carry your intentions like spells on the breath of your life.
Sing wordlessly...
in languages of another tongue,
to melodies that will never be written,
about mysteries that will never be explained.
Sing when you don't know what else to do.
and sing when the drama is at hand.
Sing because it does not matter,
and sing because it's all that ever mattered.
Sing because you too are part of the choir,
and because you sound like the universe,
when it sounds like you.
As a young man, I had the good fortune to work for a bit on an Island off the coast of Honduras. I learned so many things during that time, but one of the most enduring lessons came from the simple experience of being surrounded by people who sang as a matter of course. They sang as they cooked and cleaned, as they walked and waited... they sang as they lived. They did not do so to make art, they did not fret over the acceptability of their voices, they made song to make life- and to make life sweeter. In the years since, I have spent much time learning about the powers of song and music. What a priceless treasure it is to discover that all around the world, people have revered the power of song as a vehicle for the transformation of their lives and consciousness. From gospel to the healing choruses of the Kalahari Ju/hoansi', from qawwali to kirtan, from Peruvian icaros to Pagan chants, the list goes on and on. It's a tale of ecstasy, of sonic communion with the infinite sky of being. Celebrated and revered, the power of song is addressed in mysterious words that describe enchanted ineffable states, words like "duende, !num, tarab, bhav, soul... "

When compared with these mighty and prolific traditions, our common understanding of songs as products, is a pitiful and impoverished way of thinking. Song is sorcery of the highest order. That's source-ery. From the source to the source by way of breath made audible. It is both means and ends. It is lifeartwihoutdivison.

Many songs carry the accumulated wisdom of generations. The traditional aborigines of Australia mapped their entire landscape in song. They literally moved through the world following song lines- mysterious verses that pointed the way through their territories while also revealing the sacred meaning of the environment around them. As they walked, they could hear and sing the stories that joined people to the land, the spirits, the past, the present, and the future. For more than 40,000 years, this high technology was essential for survival in some of the harshest environments on earth. Their elders have said that to lose the song is to lose one's story and the way.

Most of us can barely imagine this kind of close relationship with a physical landscape, but the territory of the heart is no less vast and no less essential to our wellbeing. It is also a landscape that can only be mapped in song and art. In recent years, Westerners have been rediscovering the power of song and chant as a way, a meditation, a practice. They are peaceful pioneers following ancient tracks, a new wave of gentle discoverers pursuing their own spiritual setting sun as it sinks into the darkness of soulful night. They follow an old tune in search of a hidden passage home. Those who sing long enough inevitably report that the journey is the destination, and that their songs have turned to wings, their breath to wind, and their bodies to the dawning light of love itself.

Sing!
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