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The Importance of Teaching Music in Schools

Back in 2010 the UK Government introduced the English Baccalaureate, a key school performance measure that focused on specific subjects: English, mathematics, history, geography, the sciences and a foreign language. As someone who composes music, I remember feeling sad to see that music had been omitted from the list of subjects to be assessed and wondered whether this would eventually result in schools marginalising the teaching of music in their curriculum.

I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when I read this BBC news article which confirmed that my fears were well-founded. It reported that researchers from Sussex University are now warning that music “could face extinction” as a subject in secondary schools in England.

Music is something which has been important to me throughout my life and so it’s distressing to think that future generations of schoolchildren might not have the opportunity to learn about the subject that I love. I do however have other serious concerns about this trend to sideline music education in schools. + Read More

Spinning a Yarn

In Art and Alignment, I tell of different ways that art, writing and creative activities helped in my recovery from a life-threatening illness.  In the section called ‘The Object In Hand’, I describe how I was at home convalescing after a major operation and beginning to regain some energy.  I found that sitting in a chair, sewing bits of textiles together, which wasn’t something I would normally have done, was helping me to feel better.

I wasn’t fit to drive but was gradually recovering and one day I had a strong impulse to walk to the bottom of the hill and catch a bus to the next town.  There seemed to be a compelling reason to go there, although I had no particular aim in mind.

 

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What Can I Do?

“I am only one, but I am one.
I cannot do everything but I can do something.
And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

These are turbulent times and, in the midst of so much conflict and chaos, hearts are troubled.  For many people, uncertainty, anxiety and fear permeate everyday life and collectively we are facing huge challenges and crises.  There is a growing sense that we have an emergency on our hands and there is a yearning for greater peace and stability.  In different ways people are asking: “What can I do that will help?”

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The Company of Trees

I used to visit Doris when she was living in a care home and I’d often find her sitting by the window, with a view of an ash tree across the way.  She loved that tree and often said that she admired its strength.  Once I showed Doris a slideshow of photos that I’d taken in autumn, while out walking in an ancient wood.  She asked to watch the pictures again, saying that it was really refreshing.  She told me that she felt energised just looking at the colours and the shapes of the trees.  They were luminous and majestic and I said that walking in the wood had felt like being in a cathedral.  She clapped her hands and agreed that it was indeed ‘Mother Nature’s Cathedral’.

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In Praise of Emerald Alignment

I came across this blog I wrote eleven years ago and then filed away.  I thought that it deserved an airing because everything has changed so much since then and we find ourselves in challenging and troubled times .  Hopefully, if I can inspire one person to use the Emerald Alignment process to reduce their own stress levels and with a clearer mind, make more positive choices to find some meaning in their life,  posting it up will have been worthwhile. Jennifer

 

When I was first introduced to healing I was on a quest to dispel self doubt and discover the meaning of spirituality.  As a Speech and Language Generic Specialist working within the National Health Service in the UK, I managed a heavy caseload of adults and children with learning disabilities and impaired communication.  I was continually searching for new and creative ways of encouraging communication without actually focusing on the specific speech or language difficulty.  This was because I increasingly felt that an orthodox, symptom focused approach exacerbated the problem and didn’t resolve it.  In a trial and error approach, I had found a way of engaging the child or adult in an enjoyable shared activity of their choice and noticed that when relaxed, they became less aware of their  impairment and communication spontaneously improved. This isn’t rocket science but it wasn’t the prescriptive way I was expected to work.

However at the age of fifty, on the domestic front,  my life was running out of control as I juggled a fulltime job with a troubled second marriage, five children from my first marriage and three visiting step daughters from my second marriage, as well as being actively involved in all aspects of theatre production, which was my first love.  I repeatedly lurched from one family crisis to another…..  In an effort to find some inner peace, I had read books on Buddhism and had practised several other meditation techniques without much success because my busy mind would interfere with any attempt to still my thoughts .  Fortunately, at this stage in my life and career, a colleague gave me the telephone number of Carol Lamb, an experienced and well respected trauma therapist .  At the end of my first healing appointment, Carol aligned and sealed my energy with an Emerald Alignment which she told me was an attunement to the source of energy that governs the body , this higher energetic frequency would, she said,  pull me back into alignment and stability.   The alignment process had an immediate effect and I instantly felt calmer and more relaxed.  Although I didn’t understand what was happening and couldn’t remember accurately the words Carol had used, I impetuously used my version of the alignment the very next day with my voice clients, who were suffering from stress related vocal difficulties. + Read More

Colour my Life: Spending time with Leonard and Ron

I had been called to a communal residential home because Leonard, one of the older residents ( a man in his fifties)  who had a diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder, was irritating and annoying the other residents by making ‘strange noises’ when they were trying to watch their favourite television programmes. I had arranged a visit in order to observe the reported behaviour and realised that Leonard was choosing to make his deep growling sounds when there was a ‘full house’ as residents gathered to watch their television ‘soaps’. The sounds he was making closely resembled the base tones and the deep Tibetan tone used in meditational practice.  On a later occasion when Leonard and I were alone, he again made his sounds and was astonished and amused when I repeated his tones back to him. We then engaged in a strange and sonorous toning dialogue. I always carried with me a bag of rainbow coloured material and I decided to brighten  the room we were in with a swathe of vibrant red silk to correspond with the colour of the base chakra in health.

Arrangements were made for me to visit Leonard weekly for six sessions, to explore the cause of his behaviour and to advise his care staff on the best way to encourage appropriate communication. I was eager to find out why he was making these particular sounds and to help him release any pain from past experience . The deep base chakra tone resonates with the lower bowel and helps to  release deeply held emotion and the base chakra governs the kidneys and adrenal glands.

During these visits to see Leonard, I also noticed Ron, a man in his sixties,  peering through the glass partition of the door and laughing at the sounds we were making, while pointing excitedly at the rainbow coloured silks I was using.  Having seen this behaviour, however, a support worker would chastise him for interrupting  the session and endeavour to distract him and lead him away from the door.

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Playing with Alice

Fairytale-CastleAlice was referred to me at the age of five by a team of health service professionals who were offering counselling support to Alice’s father and his new girlfriend. Alice was suffering from the loss of her mother who had died of cancer when Alice was three years old. The little girl had watched helplessly as her mother had slowly deteriorated before her eyes. Her father’s inability to come to terms with the loss of his wife, Alice’s mother, had led to his new girl friend leaving the family home on repeated occasions. This obviously had an impact on Alice.

Alice was a pale, solemn little girl with fine curly brown hair and large grey eyes. She was reluctant to join her classmates in their activities at the group table in school and was refusing to read or write.

I suggested that rather than insisting on group cooperation, a place should be kept for Alice at the activity table so that she could join her group when she felt ready to do so but meanwhile she should be allowed to sit separately so that she could draw and paint, activities which she enjoyed, which would enable her to freely express the painful emotions she seemed to be holding inside.

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Art and Alignment

‘Bright Flight’ ~ Louise Oliver
“When we see a bright color, we are witnessing our own inherent goodness.  
When we hear a beautiful sound, we are hearing our own inherent goodness.”
Chogyam Trungpa

Art and Alignment is a Special Interest Course, available through The Academy of Spiritual Sciences.  It is concerned with connection and expression.  The course includes a handbook, together with videos and illustrated articles, telling personal stories of healing through creativity from members and friends of Rainbow Light Trust.  The handbook gives a perspective on personal alignment and the soul journey, looking at the importance of strengthening our connection to our higher self and engaging with creativity and imagination.  Creative activity, when aligned with higher awareness, can bring the messages of the soul into physical expression and become a powerful force for healing.

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The Founding and Development of the Academy of Spiritual Sciences

In 1993, Carol Lamb was running an innovative holistic health care course for further education and with the help of one of her students who became a close colleague, had decided to establish a small therapy centre in the Yorkshire town of Sowerby Bridge, in Northern England, with the intention of offering past life therapy.  In 1994, during a therapy session with a client, Carol was contacted by a higher stream of consciousness in the form of direct communication from a guide.  To prove the authenticity of the communication, Carol asked questions of the guide that only she, herself could have answered.  In the conversation that ensued, she was told that the guide had passed through the veils from the higher realms to speak to her with the sole purpose of connecting individuals to their higher selves so that a divine blue print founded on spiritual law and spiritual principles, could manifest in the physical world.

As the guidance unfolded, Carol was informed that if instructions were followed and spiritual principles adhered to she would be instrumental in establishing international healing and teaching centres.  The Centres were to incorporate meditation groups, healing clinics, community outreach programmes, College courses and spiritual teaching.  Over time, these things came to pass but only because of Carol’s determination to commit to the guidance, whatever the cost and sacrifice to herself.

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MANSIONS OF THE MOON

earth-and-moonThe cycle of the Moon around the Earth takes approximately 27½ days, known as a sidereal month as it is the time it takes the Moon to return to a similar position among the stars.

The ecliptic is the apparent path of the Sun on its annual path across the sky.

A lunar mansion is a segment of the ecliptic, sometimes called a station or a house. The Moon moves through these mansions on its orbit around the Earth.

The Lunar Zodiac

The Zodiac consists of the 12 astrological Signs, from Aries through to Pisces and is strongly associated with the Sun. The Sun travels across the ecliptic (the imaginary path of the Sun across the sky), passing through the 12 astrological Signs. Each astrological Sign consists of 30 degrees, totalling the 350 degrees of the whole cycle.

There is a second, lunar zodiac. As the Moon is closer to the Earth, the lunar zodiac was traditionally thought to be more significant than the solar zodiac and closely connected to events occurring on the Earth.

The Moon completes its full circle, seen against the stars, in approximately 27½ days, which is known as a sidereal lunar month (sidereal meaning ‘of the stars’). Every culture acknowledges the lunar cycle.

The Western astrological tradition is strongly influenced by Arabic astrology, which uses the lunar cycle. The lunar cycle divides the circle into 28 sections, giving 12 degrees 51 minutes and 26 seconds to each lunar section (also known as Mansions).

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