"Blue" Premiers at We Create: Celebrating women in the arts festival on 4/6 - 4/7/2018 in Boston, MA for more information click here
"Blue" is a hybrid work of spoken word poetry and sound art that speaks to the grief and complex relationships of connection and loss that emerge from the events of the transatlantic slave trade. "Blue" invites participants to not only listen but feel the voices of water, spirit, and oneself.
Credits: Text written, read, and recorded by Grace Osborne. Audio recorded by Grace Osborne in Pasadena, California and Cleo Barnett in various locations in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Audio edited by Grace Osborne.
Note (s) of Thanks: Thank you ancestors for gifting me with these ideas. Thank you mom, grandma, and great grandmother for the path you've walked and the life you live(d). Thank you Cleo for trusting the process and helping me record these beautiful sounds. Thank you Marsha for believing in this piece and accepting it into your festival. Thank you Jenny for mentoring me throughout this process. Thank you Ed for helping me get this piece to sound right in the hall. Thank you Harrison for understanding my intent and creating the perfect lighting for a piece that is not meant to be seen.
My three weeks in Aotearoa/New Zealand was absolutely amazing. There is not day that passes where I don't miss being there. The experience I had was life changing. (No I didn't go for research) I went for myself and yet I couldn't turn off my academic brain completely. My time there made me see the necessary changes and adjustments I need to make to my life in general but especially about my dissertation and area of focus. I realized that I need to focus my writing on listening... as listening is what I am most passionate about.. How does one listen without the ears? How do places and spaces emerge through acts of listening? What are non-western ways of understanding that which we call "listening"?
One night, instead of sleeping, the group I was with went on a 6 hour barefoot night-walk in the bush and there was a moment where we went into this cave and the pain was almost unbearable. I thought I wouldn't make it but with help I did. Sometimes I can't help but think I'm still in that dark tunnel sprinkled with incandescent green glowworms. Only for a season.
An offering of methods and ideas to avoid burnout and navigate its symptoms while being in the thick of it
During my first 3 years of grad school I pushed myself to my limits and beyond. I slept very little and worked constantly and the result was that I gained a lot of weight, developed acute adrenal fatigue, eczema, weakened immune system, and depression. During my 4th year I felt like I was falling apart. I was exhausted, in pain, and barely functioning. I then realized that being stressed out just isn't sustainable and it's really damaging to my body.
Now in my 5th year I've been working diligently to learn new ways of minimizing stress, coping with the stress I have, and healing myself. Things aren't perfect but I am heaps better than I was this time last year.
I've said this so many times, "I need rest and I need a break but I can't stop!" So what does one do in the meantime? I am not perfect and don't do all of these all the time but when I get into rut I've had success when I do at least one or two of these consistently.
1. Change of mindset:
Committing to not letting myself get maxed out first above all things.
"Done is more valuable than perfect." Instead of stressing out about doing things perfectly remember that perfection in reality is unattainable but you can strive for doing your best.
"Your best is contextual." My high school English teacher told me this 10 years ago and it still helps me. Tomorrow your capacity for best may be even more expansive than it is today.
"I have enough time, resources, ability, etc etc to complete what needs to be done." Maybe you wont get to do everything you want or think should get done but when you prioritize what must be finished each day things will get done.
2. Do a round of 10 - 20 deep breaths:
Depending on the season and your sensory preferences, covering your face hot towel or cold cloth saturated with 10 drops of lavender essential oil while you breath deeply for 5 minutes does wonders.
3. Prioritize rest
budget how many all nighters you're allowed per semester or month and stick to it.
I can no longer do all nighters so what I do now, sparingly, is going to sleep at 8 or 9pm and then waking up at 3:30 or 4am to finish grading papers or meet a deadline.
Give yourself a break. Set your timer for a ten minute break and go for a walk, have a snack, or zone out.
4. Support your physical, spiritual, and psychological body
Reducing the amount of refined white sugar consumed by using chrysanthemum flowers in teas and using maple syrup or honey when cooking.
Eat a balanced meal with protein, starch, and vegetables/fruits.
Drink lots of water.
Take a hot bath with sea salt, apple cider vinegar, and essential oils.
If you have a spiritual practice make time for it on daily or weekly basis.
(Audio begins at :47 seconds) (To stream online click here)
Verdant Vibrations: Vibrational Healing and Listening in Alternative Culture Communities
Grace Elaine Osborne, New York University
Sound Healing and Sound Bath events are sonorous practices found across the US that have begun to attract mainstream media attention. In 2016 Vogue Magazine, The New York Times, and The Atlantic all featured articles on sound baths and sound healing practitioners in communities of alternative culture. These events are intended to use sound and vibration for healing and meditative purposes. The alternative culture communities engaging in these practices trace their intellectual lineage to the New Age movement and the American counterculture of the 1970s, yet claim a space distinctly separate from both movements. The event of a sound bath is intended to be an event of destabilization, destabilizing the relationships between performer and audience, logical and intuitive thinking, secular spirituality and artistic practice. This paper further destabilizes the notion of a coherent sound event through the exploration of the practitioner/curator’s reliance on intuition as a performance practice and the participants’ perceptions of the event as non-aural, listening through their material and immaterial bodies. This paper discusses how the terms healing, holding space, listening, and vibration are defined within this community and investigates how the disciplines of Ethnomusicology and Sound Studies are uniquely situated to facilitate an academic discussion of these terms. Engaging with Nina Sun Eidsheim’s theories of “figure of sound” and “listening as intermaterial vibrational practice” this paper investigates the creation of both the possibilities and limitations of utilizing a “vibrational theory of music.”
New dissertation title:"Vibrating Negative Space: listening and healing in the practice of sound baths."
What is a sound bath?: "A Sound Bath is a collective and individualsomatic listening event where a facilitator uses a variety of instruments usually including crystal or Tibetan sound bowls to lead participants through a sonic and vibrational experience that is often therapeutic, spiritual, meditative, musical, and contemplative. The performative practice technique and choice of instrumentation often places emphasis on playing instruments to create a drone affect and allowing space for a focused presence of harmonic overtones. The sounds awash the space where the Sound Bath is held and submerge the listener's body in a bath of vibrations"
Hmm what to say... I suppose I've learned a lot. To be brief here's a delicate trace of where I'm at post-what-happened-last-year in regard to my research:
I feel really frustrated with the word "research"
I am committed to drawing upon my ancestor's philosophy and cosmology
I will not do an ethnography except for fragments of auto-ethnography
I am committed to finishing this project
I am committed to the practice of "being a passionate turtle" or in other words to KEEP GOING regardless of the pace
I am committed to engaging with indigenous scholars and indigenous scholarship
I am committed to grounding this project in a black feminist/womanist foundation
Goals / Achievements / Accomplishments:
I finished one language exam and have just one more to go
I completed my degree requirements to receive my masters and should receive my diploma by November
I had an artist residency with Skeleton Architecture in July at ICA in Boston
I facilitated several Sound Baths including one at Naturopathica Spa in Chelsea
I provided sound for several movement based pieces with several movement artists and choreographers such as Tess Dworman and Meghan Byrne
UPDATE ON THE DISS: As for what this project is called... I'm still struggling with a title but it will come.
As for what this project is about here's what I've got as of right now:
"My dissertation project is about listening and healing in the practice of Sound Baths." "This projects defines what a Sound Bath is and how it relates to the practice of Sound Meditation. The three major sections of this dissertation put New Age thought on music and sound, academic writing on listening, and a question of ethics in regard to the act of healing into conversation with each other.
The first section traces the development of New Age thought as it relates to sound, vibration, and modernist history of science. The second section offers a literature review on academic discourse on listening, deep listening, and the theorization of the concepts of corporeal listening and incorporeal listening. The third section investigates the ethics of healing and investigates a series of questions. These questions are: What does it mean to heal? What does it mean to hold space for healing? How should one engage with indigenous spiritualities? Does healing matter?
Binding these three sections together is a narrative of the history and current practice of the sound bath based in archival documents and auto-ethnography."
My goal is to be ABD by December 2017. Looking forward to the next leg of this journey. In my next post I'll talk about some of my plans for the next couple of months... I'm still here. <3
Workshop @ ICA Boston, MA: 7/22/17 1 PM–3 PM | EMBODIED LISTENING Embodied Listening is a guided workshop facilitated by Grace Osborne and Shea Rose that emphasizes vocal toning, listening, and medicine melodies. Space is created for all participants to sing improvised phrases, be immersed in healing drones, and listen in new ways.
For more info: https://www.icaboston.org/events/we-been-here-workshops
Already I'm starting to get down on myself. I said I'd post every week and month has gone by!
In my last post I ended with a question that was to the affect of "what is sound healing?" And for the past couple of weeks I keep being asked this (understandably of course) but I always feel like thoughts and words abandon me at that very moment. Like smoke, they rise and curl just beyond my grasp.
It has to be more than I just don't know what I'm talking about. Right?
I've said this many times but the word "know" in English is tricky. In Czech language there are three verbs that mean "to know". One is to know how to do something, the second is to know of a person or some thing, and the third is to know a fact. But the knowing that I'm struggling with is a feeling. I know what sound/vibrational healing can do because I feel it, it resonates, I feel connection. But I cannot say Here are the strict parameters of what sound healing/vibrational is...
When things are stuck I become water-like, flowing around blockage, returning to center...
This is the conclusion I've come to, I know want to write about these three things:
I know I want to write about the concept of:
Geographically I know I'll be speaking to people in Aotearoa/New Zealand and Hawai'i
and for right now thats what I "know" Baby Steps... :: sigh ::
INTRO It has been such an amazing journey just to arrive at the beginning.
I definitely didn't enter graduate school with the intention of writing about vibrational healing. I entered graduate school because I love music. I love to listen to music, play music, talk about music, and write about music. I entered into a graduate program in a music department so that I could devote myself to that cause.
And then life happened... or I happened in or with life... and everything changed. I became disenchanted with the world of academia and physically sick with pneumonia. I spent about two months during the summer mostly at home in bed sick. During my sickness I began to have "other worldly experiences" and it was brought to my attention that I needed to become a healer and study a variety of ways of healing. The consequences of not heeding this call was that I would not get better.
It feels so strange to write out what happened so matter-of-fact because the actual process was deeply unsettling and frightening. Everything I thought about what I was doing and who I am completely disintegrated. The very texture of my reality frayed and unraveled.
Is this a dream or is this real? What does real mean again?
This instability led me to spend the last year in meditation with the following questions:
1.) How could this destabilization and reformation exist within academic scholarship?
2.) What is healing?
3.) What is listening?
4.) How should I respond to the question(s) "why does your research matter?" "why does healing matter?"
During the past year I began studying Reiki and Tibetan Sound Bowl Healing. What I found through going to workshops, classes, and talking with practioners is that people kept talking about "vibrational healing" and "vibration."
Slowly, everything began to click. I realized that my offering can be in depth exploration into Healing and Listening.
Really, my ideas have a life of their own and I see myself only as their caretaker and guardian. I do not own them and neither can anyone else. How could I? How could anyone own these processes?
After a year of walking and talking in circles I came up with these words, which you see plastered all over my website: My dissertation is about vibrational healing modalities, spaces, and practitioners. ? What does that mean