Although she seems like a longtime customer, in fact I have only had the pleasure of knowing Nancy since June of ’12, when she made her first purchase of a few Master-quality bowls in quarter-tone tuning. She was on fire with enthusiasm for the bowls, and within a month, I had put together a Pentatonic Set for her based on the rim tones. Soon, she began exploring her set’s diatonic fundamentals in a Chakra-tuned scale in the 3rd octave, and another Universe opened up for her. Before long, we had put together a Pentatonic set of 3rd octave fundamentals to match her 5th octave Pentatonic rim set, so she could play tri-tone intervals between the two sets. We are still working on a Cycle of Fifths set to round out her collection.
It was fun to work with Nancy because she followed her own road harmonically; expanding her set intuitively, guided by her inner ear. But perhaps most gratifying of all was hearing about her visits to the Long Term Care Facility at Providence Valdez, and knowing she would share her singing bowls with the patients there. I am grateful to her for sharing the gift of sacred vibration with her community, and I’m inspired by her generosity. ~Shakti
Every Tuesday, I take a collection of my singing bowls from the Bodhisattva Trading Company to the Valdez Providence Hospital Long-term Care Facility in Valdez. Each Tuesday is a new experience, just as the rich tones and harmonics bring out constantly changing tonal moments.
Some Tuesdays, residents stay in bed or lie in the recliners and just listen. A small smile and a briefly opening eye lets me know how much they enjoy the music. Often, I play slowly, letting the notes ring clearly then gradually fade as another replaces it forming overlapping harmonics, like gently falling snow flakes. My goal is to give them the joy of a special period of relaxation, dreams, comfort and a new experience.
Many of the residents suffer from various degrees of dementia. They hear the TV but they no longer can follow a story line. I think listening to the singing bowls eases their frustration. There is no melody or tune to remember from their childhoods, no words that have just slipped out of their minds — just the rich sounds to breathe in and release, over and over again.
Sometimes, I play a brief series of four to six notes then let them fade before repeating them again and again before introducing variations. My goal is to give the dreamers a short theme that they can recognize and follow.
One of the residents who participates almost every Tuesday has memory, visual and coordination problems. She wants to strike a bowl and hear it ring, but she has difficulty connecting with the bowl. When at last she does connect, her smile is priceless.
Other residents, when they are not in physical therapy or having their hair cut, enjoy coming and playing the bowls. They listen with amazement as they experiment with striking various bowls and absorbing the ever-changing harmonics. There is no “right” or “wrong” note, no rhythm to follow — only the curiosity of wondering what will happen when they strike a different bowl. Best of all are the smiles when they discover bowls that sound especially well together or the surprise of discovering a minor tone. Sometimes they will resolve the minor; other times they will just smile and let it fade.
If you have the opportunity to take some of your beautiful Bodhisattva Trading Company bowls to an extended care facility, I hope you will do so. For me, to see the residents’ enjoyment is one of the highlights of my week. Thank you Rain for collecting the bowls and Shakti for helping me to select them.