Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Strengthening Community Through Song
Category:
Healing

For more than 30 years Esalen faculty Lisa G. Littlebird has been on a mission to restore community singing and bring it back into the daily lives of others. Her passion has helped many people discover new pathways to what she calls, “communion and release” and to cultivate wellness, mindfulness, empathy and joy.

“Certainly, we are all seeing now the need for connection and community,” says Lisa, who is part of two workshops at Esalen this year: Courting the Muse | Many Voices, One Song, a campus-wide gathering August 23-28; and Singing on the Edge: A Community Singing Festival October 9-11.

“For me, singing is the most direct pathway to that feeling of mutual connectedness across any social setting. There is an inherent trust that is created in that field. While we cannot do live gatherings right now during the COVID-19 pandemic, we can come together with those in our home or create online gatherings that can be very helpful.”

A longtime singer, composer, writer and voice coach, Lisa is the founder of Littlebird Songleader Flight School, an online training program for emerging songleaders, and the founder and director of the 140-member Wholehearted Chorus on the Central Coast of California. Her song library on The Bird Sings website is ever expanding and includes more than 400 oral tradition songs—from contemporary pop and lullabies to contemporary spiritual and traditional folk.

“Singing increases oxytocin—our good feeling hormone—and for me, it’s a great wellness practice and an instantly available way for us to uplift and connect with each other,” Lisa says. “It requires nothing. No tools. No training. It’s something inherent to our beings. We were all born singing and dancing as children and to return to that and to model for our children—that playful freedom—is such a restoration of our own lifeforce and vitality.

We turned to Lisa to help us curate a unique song list from her vast song library. Explore the following and allow them to establish some levity during this unprecedented time.

1. Shine on Me This soulful African-American spiritual is a beacon for our times. Sung by Melanie DeMore for the Wholehearted Chorus, it penetrates deep to the bone, evoking emotions and a sense of divinity. Note: Melanie does not teach harmonies to this song. After sharing the melody with a group, she simply says “harmonize” and somehow, everyone seems to know just what to do. Lisa says this song is “a deep ask” for benevolence. *Song lyrics used with permission from The Bird Sings website and the songwriters.

Lyrics:

Shine on Me,
Shine on Me,
Let the light from the lighthouse shine on me.

Listen and/or sing along: http://www.thebirdsings.com/shine-on-me.

2. Be Open If you are new to song circles and want to dive in, Be Open from Debbie Nargi-Brown is a good go-to starting song circles in your home with your family or virtually. Lisa says the song is an “... easy fast-track to upliftment and the perfect recipe to instantly dissipate nervous energy among new singers—and rock the hearts and smiles of your most willing.” *Song lyrics used with permission from The Bird Sings website and the songwriters.

Lyrics:

Be open for something wonderful to happen
Be open to the possibility (x2)
Aiye Aiye Aiye, Aiye Aiye Aiye (x2)

Listen and/or sing along: http://www.thebirdsings.com/beopen/.

3. Soul Work Debbie Nargi-Brown’s beautiful heart resonates in this song. She creates an offering that is both deep and uplifting. “An instant earworm for life in all the best ways,” Lisa says. This song was sung by the Wholehearted Chorus during the 2019-2020 winter mini-season. Words from McCall Erickson; music and arrangement by Debbie Nargi-Brown. *Song lyrics used with permission from The Bird Sings website and the songwriters.

Lyrics:

Soul work is not a high road
It’s a deep fall into the unforgiving darkness (x2)
That won’t let you go until you find the song that sings you home

Listen and/or sing along: http://www.thebirdsings.com/soulwork/.

4. Give A Little Bit The recognizable Supertramp hit from 1977 is a both a crowd-pleaser and has a great backstory—the band’s frontman Roger Hodgson wrote it at age 17. This version is only a few minutes long and was used by Wholehearted Chorus as a concert encore—the choir collaborated with violinist Edwin Huizinga and Rayner Marx on guitar. *Song lyrics used with permission from The Bird Sings website.

Lyrics:

Give a little bit, give a little bit of your love to me
Give a little bit, I’ll give a little bit of my love to you
There’s so much that we need to share
So send a smile and show you care

Listen and/or sing along: http://www.thebirdsings.com/givealittlebit/.

5. We Shall Not Be Moved/No Nos Moveran This traditional folk song of resilience and determination gained popularity and several new verses during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Mavis Staples and many other singers performed the song. In this arrangement by Lisa, the low voice performs the melody and the high voice takes on the harmony. *Song lyrics used with permission from The Bird Sings website and the songwriters.

Lyrics:

We ... shall not, we shall not be moved
We ... shall not, we shall not be moved
Just like a tree, standing by the water
We shall not be moved
On the road to freedom, we shall not be moved …

Listen and/or sing along: http://www.thebirdsings.com/we-shall-not-be-moved/.

“There’s nothing stopping us from exploring our creative potential at any time,” Lisa adds. “We have a unique opportunity now, with all of our regular lives changing and all that busyness not distracting us from our most basic nature, to come back to what’s most important. To me, finding soulful ways of expression and connecting with the people in our lives is a cornerstone of a life well lived. It’s a beautiful time to explore those things. Singing lightens the load, no matter what we’re doing.”

Craving more? Experience this special video here, which features Lisa and her songs.

“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 
–Aaron

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
–Karen
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
–Charles
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”
–Steve

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“
–Rainer

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”
–Suzanne

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“
–Peter

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”
–Lori

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
–Steven
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.


Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?



About

Esalen Team

Strengthening Community Through Song

About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Category:
Healing

For more than 30 years Esalen faculty Lisa G. Littlebird has been on a mission to restore community singing and bring it back into the daily lives of others. Her passion has helped many people discover new pathways to what she calls, “communion and release” and to cultivate wellness, mindfulness, empathy and joy.

“Certainly, we are all seeing now the need for connection and community,” says Lisa, who is part of two workshops at Esalen this year: Courting the Muse | Many Voices, One Song, a campus-wide gathering August 23-28; and Singing on the Edge: A Community Singing Festival October 9-11.

“For me, singing is the most direct pathway to that feeling of mutual connectedness across any social setting. There is an inherent trust that is created in that field. While we cannot do live gatherings right now during the COVID-19 pandemic, we can come together with those in our home or create online gatherings that can be very helpful.”

A longtime singer, composer, writer and voice coach, Lisa is the founder of Littlebird Songleader Flight School, an online training program for emerging songleaders, and the founder and director of the 140-member Wholehearted Chorus on the Central Coast of California. Her song library on The Bird Sings website is ever expanding and includes more than 400 oral tradition songs—from contemporary pop and lullabies to contemporary spiritual and traditional folk.

“Singing increases oxytocin—our good feeling hormone—and for me, it’s a great wellness practice and an instantly available way for us to uplift and connect with each other,” Lisa says. “It requires nothing. No tools. No training. It’s something inherent to our beings. We were all born singing and dancing as children and to return to that and to model for our children—that playful freedom—is such a restoration of our own lifeforce and vitality.

We turned to Lisa to help us curate a unique song list from her vast song library. Explore the following and allow them to establish some levity during this unprecedented time.

1. Shine on Me This soulful African-American spiritual is a beacon for our times. Sung by Melanie DeMore for the Wholehearted Chorus, it penetrates deep to the bone, evoking emotions and a sense of divinity. Note: Melanie does not teach harmonies to this song. After sharing the melody with a group, she simply says “harmonize” and somehow, everyone seems to know just what to do. Lisa says this song is “a deep ask” for benevolence. *Song lyrics used with permission from The Bird Sings website and the songwriters.

Lyrics:

Shine on Me,
Shine on Me,
Let the light from the lighthouse shine on me.

Listen and/or sing along: http://www.thebirdsings.com/shine-on-me.

2. Be Open If you are new to song circles and want to dive in, Be Open from Debbie Nargi-Brown is a good go-to starting song circles in your home with your family or virtually. Lisa says the song is an “... easy fast-track to upliftment and the perfect recipe to instantly dissipate nervous energy among new singers—and rock the hearts and smiles of your most willing.” *Song lyrics used with permission from The Bird Sings website and the songwriters.

Lyrics:

Be open for something wonderful to happen
Be open to the possibility (x2)
Aiye Aiye Aiye, Aiye Aiye Aiye (x2)

Listen and/or sing along: http://www.thebirdsings.com/beopen/.

3. Soul Work Debbie Nargi-Brown’s beautiful heart resonates in this song. She creates an offering that is both deep and uplifting. “An instant earworm for life in all the best ways,” Lisa says. This song was sung by the Wholehearted Chorus during the 2019-2020 winter mini-season. Words from McCall Erickson; music and arrangement by Debbie Nargi-Brown. *Song lyrics used with permission from The Bird Sings website and the songwriters.

Lyrics:

Soul work is not a high road
It’s a deep fall into the unforgiving darkness (x2)
That won’t let you go until you find the song that sings you home

Listen and/or sing along: http://www.thebirdsings.com/soulwork/.

4. Give A Little Bit The recognizable Supertramp hit from 1977 is a both a crowd-pleaser and has a great backstory—the band’s frontman Roger Hodgson wrote it at age 17. This version is only a few minutes long and was used by Wholehearted Chorus as a concert encore—the choir collaborated with violinist Edwin Huizinga and Rayner Marx on guitar. *Song lyrics used with permission from The Bird Sings website.

Lyrics:

Give a little bit, give a little bit of your love to me
Give a little bit, I’ll give a little bit of my love to you
There’s so much that we need to share
So send a smile and show you care

Listen and/or sing along: http://www.thebirdsings.com/givealittlebit/.

5. We Shall Not Be Moved/No Nos Moveran This traditional folk song of resilience and determination gained popularity and several new verses during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Mavis Staples and many other singers performed the song. In this arrangement by Lisa, the low voice performs the melody and the high voice takes on the harmony. *Song lyrics used with permission from The Bird Sings website and the songwriters.

Lyrics:

We ... shall not, we shall not be moved
We ... shall not, we shall not be moved
Just like a tree, standing by the water
We shall not be moved
On the road to freedom, we shall not be moved …

Listen and/or sing along: http://www.thebirdsings.com/we-shall-not-be-moved/.

“There’s nothing stopping us from exploring our creative potential at any time,” Lisa adds. “We have a unique opportunity now, with all of our regular lives changing and all that busyness not distracting us from our most basic nature, to come back to what’s most important. To me, finding soulful ways of expression and connecting with the people in our lives is a cornerstone of a life well lived. It’s a beautiful time to explore those things. Singing lightens the load, no matter what we’re doing.”

Craving more? Experience this special video here, which features Lisa and her songs.

“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 
–Aaron

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
–Karen
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
–Charles
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”
–Steve

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“
–Rainer

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”
–Suzanne

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“
–Peter

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”
–Lori

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
–Steven
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.


Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?



About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Strengthening Community Through Song
Category:
Healing

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About

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Strengthening Community Through Song

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Esalen Team

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