Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spirit Breath, A Healing Concert

As I prepared for this day's CFBS event, I noticed how the tasks of picking flowers, chopping vegetables, mixing salad dressing, and getting dressed were all imbued with a feeling of being in ceremony. I didn't put on my watch as I silently told myself that today I will be 'out of time' and will not need to look at my watch.  As  I tried on the banana wrap that I was going to wear with my malong, I marvelled at this plant whose fibers have now become a beautiful gift of garb. Gratitude.

I thank Lizae for organizing this event from a place of heartful intention. Lizae was thinking of a relative in Manila who is living with cancer and she wanted to offer a healing ritual in her name. She thought of the symbols of of tendrils, young shoots, new blooms of Spring as reminders of the cycles of birth, death, and rebirth. She thought of an elderly aunt who is still painting flowers and she wanted to share this gift with her friends. She thought of her sound healing cohort who were always willing to share this gift with others, like me, who are not familiar with the concept of sound healing. Thus, the seed idea for this event was conceived.

Months and weeks into the preparation for this event, I was reminded of the writings of Prechtel about ceremonies and ritual and their necessity in maintaining the heart of the village.  I watched Lizae and the other volunteers for this event remind each other of the sacredness of this event. It is not merely a performance, a showcasing of talent, or putting on a show. And definitely it was not occasion for an academic to put on a lecture - this was their gentle chiding. Leny, please speak from your heart, Lizae said, when you speak from your heart it is so beautiful!

It challenged me. What then can I offer at this event if I am not going to talk in the language of the academe? In a secret corner of my heart, I've wanted to honor my indigenous Kapampangan roots, but how? So I asked Mike P if he knew of an indigenous Kapampangan invocation and he sent me Dalit Karing Nunu/Praise to the Ancestors. He said that this is chanted in the form of the pasyon, the holy week chanted reading of the life of Jesus. I told Mike that I didn't grow up Catholic so I didn't grow up with pasyon singing. Mike then said that the pasyon was borrowed by the Spanish and it "never belonged to them, it belonged to us." Ahhh! There is the answer! I will reclaim this chant and make it mine.

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