My Mt. Everest | April 2007 Newsletter

My Mount Everest: April, 2007
Merle M. Singer, Founder



“Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace.”

Amelia Earhart (1897 – 1937)
Courage, 1927


Dear MyMtEveresters,

Writing this e-letter is My Mt Everest

My Mt Everest is about my intentionally putting myself into situations (not necessarily physical situations) that challenge me. Based on the theory that meeting challenges take courage. And courage is something that strengthens with use, like exercising a muscle – your ‘courage muscle.’ But writing this monthly e-letter is not to explain each different self-challenge, though sometimes I do. The very act of writing this e-letter is a ‘Mt Everest’ to me.

Dragging the Thoughts out of my Brain

The effort that it takes to drag the thoughts out of my brain in a vaguely coherent flow is sometimes excruciating. I must be hyperbolizing; it can’t be that bad. It does truly take enormous effort and energy.

Sometimes I feel like a moron because I keep just missing a coherent thought. Then I comfort myself knowing that Einstein thought he was slow because his thoughts percolated beneath the surface for longer than he would have liked before taking clear form. E=mc2

A Place for Language

Language is all about tagging things so that we can share thoughts and observations with others. Did you see that blue bird? Is the large coyote scary? How could we talk to each other without words, without language? So much of my time is spent talking to people, e-mailing people, buying from people, learning from people – all with language.

Yet some of the most precious, personal parts of my day don’t involve language. It’s more a state of being. Have you ever walked out of your house or office into the warm, comfortable sunlight – the trees are green, you hear birds, the sunlight bounces off the windows and the windshields. While the stimulus may be visual/auditory, for me, there is an experience of that moment that is beyond or before or beneath the visual and the auditory. It is like a sensation of the experience. It may be only a moment, a happy? comfortable? ??? moment. Then I’m back to my life – buying milk for breakfast, or whatever.

It’s such an important part of my life and yet I can’t express it – exactly.

This is a very challenging topic, but I persist because I know that I’m not the only one that has these experiences. They are actually beautiful experiences.

“the place before my voice is heard.”

There is a prayer that we sing in my synagogue, Beth Shir Sholom. Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels added lyrics (and music) to Psalm 51:15 . It doesn’t exactly allude to my experience, but it acknowledges the existence of “… the place before my voice is heard.”

May my lips come quietly apart
And stir the yearnings of my heart
And in just a whisper may I fold
All the moments that are mine to hold

There’s a gentle, flowing stream within
In its waters all my hopes begin
From the place before my voice is heard
Come my dreams expressed without a word.

So often these refrains bring tears to my eyes, or almost. Why would it make me cry?? I’m so grateful that this is an experience that others share with me.

Entrainment

There are other sensory/kinesthetic experiences. For instance, there is the energy between two people (positive/negative, strained/relaxed, open/closed). When the energy is good it can be like ‘unauditory’ music that happens between the two of you. This energy may surround the words spoken, but it is separate from the words. There’s a name for it: entrainment. “This entrainment also takes place when two people have a good conversation. Their brain waves oscillate synchronously.” Jonathan S. Goldman (Sonic Entrainment; Music, Physician for Times to Come) Having this conversation is immensely enjoyable.

Per my fabulous voice teacher, William Hanrahan, www.vocalintegration.com, It is a rhythmic phenomenon that even shows up as expressions in our language, such as, “Let’s get in sync about this.” or, “Let’s make sure we’re all headed the same direction.”

Entrainment explains the experience of listening to music, which can create a physical sensation. I don’t know if I would say that the music creates the reaction or the listener opens him/herself to this level of experience. I just love that it has a word. “Entrainment is an aspect of sound that is closely related to rhythms and the way these rhythms affect us. Jonathan S. Goldman (Sonic Entrainment; Music, Physician for Times to Come). When music enters us like in this way it commands your attention, almost spell-bound.

How to Create that State of Being

Nathan (hubby) talks about that connection when he does his artwork. It’s such a pure connection that nothing is in between him and his art.

Meditation, I think, is meant to bring us to that experience by intention, not just by happenstance.

I am in a constant state of wonder. You know how little kids extend their arms and spin around in circles – sometimes fast and sometimes slow depending on how fast they want to get dizzy. That’s how I feel metaphorically speaking when I stop long enough to notice.

Well, I got to the end of my e-letter – and only two weeks late. My friend suggested that I’m not late; I’m nonlinear. (That makes me laugh.) For all the struggle, it is always such a joy when I’m finished. And then I get scared before I send it – not enough to stop me.

The other joy is hearing from you and discussing with you. So e-mail me your comments and questions if you wish.

Merle