April 8th 2018,
Driving amongst familiar roads of the Hudson Valley, she is as beautiful and magical as when I left her 3 and a quarter months ago. It feels a like a dream still, but I’ve made it back and started to settle into my little apartment, re-energizing the space with new crystals, totems, sage smoke and rose spray, and a new vision of how I will use this space is in motion.
I haven't quite started the full processing of the past few months yet, nor have I had any motivation to write in my journal. I’m sure there are lessons that have been imprinted on me that may take many months or even years to make themselves known to me consciously. And there are obvious descriptors like: expanding, challenging, fun, magical, warm, cold, comfortable/ uncomfortable and it was really, really difficult at some points, though, If someone asked me to describe my journey in one sentence, it would be that this trip allowed for a Deepening to occur. Deepening was the main motif. It brought me deeper into myself and my art, deeper into thoughts, into expression, a deeper movement into embodying this physical body. Deeper into TRUST, and deeper into the Unknown.
In this process of deepening, I learned that everything is just BE-ing, in every moment. And when you find yourself Present, you can sink into that BE-ing. Lean into it however far you want. That it’s a choice you can decide to make, is amazing. You can bite into it, passionately kiss it. Make love to it or drink it up fiercely. You can just stare at it, soaking it into your auric field if that’s all you have energy for. Do you have a vision or an intention to set? Can you witness where or not you are you holding on to an expectation or a certain outcome? The deeper you go, the more there is to witness. The deeper you go, the more Awareness you bring with you. Though this is not necessarily all that revelatory, the learning of this experientially has changed my perspective on how I experience a moment. How will I choose to utilize a moment and how does awareness change the sensations within one?
I think it is with this change in how we spend our moment, with awareness, is where we can find real positive change within our lives. Where we can start to witness how we are truly responsible for our own inner work (rather than giving our power away to someone else..) and that it starts with deepening your Presence in each moment. Not that that’s easy or anything… But can you stop to notice when you have a loop of negativity running through your mind, criticizing yourself, and instead replace it with a breath of self love and compassion? Can you stop and pay attention to how your body feels when you're feeling overwhelmed or angry? Or how about when your feeling really blissed out and filled with pleasure?
From the Vipassanā retreat, to Italy, to recording my album in northern California, there were so many different sensations and emotions that arose. I watched myself crash and burn and rise from the ashes of my old self on a daily basis, and it continues to happen. We are all works of art constantly being worked on. No destination. It’s so important for us to remind ourselves of this so we may have more flexibility with ourselves. Can we let the world shape us as much as we are trying to shape ourselves? This brings me to the feeling that has been present most of the trip.
Allow me to introduce: Spaciousness.
Last summer I took a class that kind of rocked the socks right off my feet. It taught me how to connect to myself, the world and the universe in a whole new way. I learned how to truly feel into myself for guidance. I learned to ask Yes and No questions and feel what the answers felt like in my body. During the past couple months, I have noticed that the feeling of YES feels exactly like the feeling of being completely unlimited. Limitlessness feels a lot like the spaciousness you feel on top of a mountain, and that spaciousness feels the same as Allowance. Very interesting… How much can you allow while still maintaining healthy boundaries? Asking this question has pushed my limits even higher. Can you make room to allow for the things you have no control over? When I said YES, Peace began to fill my inner space.
One of the resources that have helped tremendously with building the foundation of this awakening I am going through is the sound meditations channeled by Tom Kenyon. There is one in particular called Spatial Cognizance. It prompts you to close your eyes, listen to the sound as your primary audio input and feel on a physical level, space all around you. It doesn't matter if you are envisioning or imagining it, the important part is your body feels it. It is this practice over the last few months that have given me the aforementioned insight of this feeling of spaciousness being the foundation of many other feelings I have experienced in the last year. I can’t recommend enough that you take a listen and see if it resonates with you.
After Italy, I came back to California with $50 in my wallet. It didn’t feel great but I was trusting that I would be resourceful enough and supported enough by my community and my spiritual guides. At that moment, I was still on the unknown side of the situation. I was able to borrow some money from my housemates and made my way to the artist in residence program I was going to attend at the Sanctuary in Arcata, California. Once I arrived, I had to figure out how to make some money. I was in a perfect place and situation to put my skills of voice coaching back in action. Looking at this situation now, with perspective… This experience set me up to re-ignite this passion for helping others explore their voices. And it gave me an environment where I could quickly build the confidence to teach again because I had to. I just simply had to do it. Out of necessity I had to “put myself out there” and I had to rock the stage or else I wasn't going to pass the test. So I taught a handful of students all at different stages of their self-exploration, I taught 3 workshops, and directed a small chorus to learn a song to perform in 3 days.
Now, In retrospect I see the whole situation of my car getting towed a great blessing and a gift. It reminds me that, even though you don't know why something is happening right away, you can trust that it will serve to teach you one lesson or another.
I could not control that my car had been towed so I had to accept that it happened. It took me a minute after hearing the news from my car-watchers to feel into the spaciousness and allowance of the event. Waves of annoyance and frustration tried to attack me, but I tried my darnedest to stay present with those feelings allowing them to be there as much as the event had actually happened. I had to move with them side by side, not over or under them, but with them, with as much acceptance and allowance as possible. One thing that gave so much support in this was Listening to the Spatial Cognizance. Other archetypes of divine feminine ascended masters have also supported my journey over the past few months. The goddess of Compassion (especially self-compassion) Quan Yin being the primary. Calling upon her has been a lesson in forgiving myself for being way to hard and judgmental toward the progress of where I am in life. Always feeling a little behind where “I should be” or feeling set back, she has helped to teach me that I am exactly perfectly on my path to fulfilling my purpose. And embodying that feeling, accepting it on a physical level, helped me to dramatically reduce the stress and anxiety about having such an empty bank account. She helped me see my strengths and how I could take this situation to strengthen my alignment with my highest path and purpose. Working to help others learn how to express and grow through sound and voice feels really good. In addition to Quan Kin, other energies of the universe have helped me see that life can be so much more fun and playful and I have started to make much more room for fun and playful energy to arise.
Now I continue to increase and deepen my gratitude for all aspects of myself. Where all the parts of me that are already strong are learning to be accepting of and have compassion for all the other parts of me that still need developing. I believe this might be the main lesson learned on this journey. That I am a force of energy and I am also a source of energy. I can come to know my path/purpose and live it fiercely with confidence. But I have to truly believe in myself in order for it to work. Learning how to harness life force energy to serve myself and the universe with ease and love is not something that’s going to happen over night, but I believe I’ve ignited the flame.
The souls I met along this journey are ones that embody generosity, love, and compassion. Some have seemed to be lost while others have found a path and purpose that serves them and this world deeply. And some others have been somewhere in between. I have seen everyone doing the work it takes to be human and expanding their ability to love and I’m so grateful for everyone I met and who helped me along the way. They have all helped me open my eyes and heart wider than before.
Thank you to everyone who fed me, bathed me, gave me a bed or couch to rest upon. Thank you for supporting me and the album by pre-ordering (which you can still do!) and coming to the shows I played. You are all amazing!!! Thank you from the depths of my heart and with my entire being for making this trip such an amazing success!
My heart sees the light in your heart, keep it shining brightly!
SO MUCH LOVE,
Hello sweet sweet babes!
I'm currently writing to you from Arcata, CA. The spaciousness created by the Ocean permeates the air and has sets into my skin. I imagine it will get deeper the longer I stay here, and soon I might not exist as I did before.
I want to share with you a story from last month while I was in Italy:
I was on a train from Naples to Riccione, Italy. I was with my friend Kevin who's an Italy native and speaks Italian as his first language. I now have a little Italian under my belt, but at the time, I spoke NO Italian at all other than "Grazie!"
As Kevin and I are sitting and talking, a very tall elder man with a wide shoulder span sits down in the row across from us. He has the largest hands I've ever seen. He begins talking to the woman next to him. After a few stops, she gets up and leaves. This whole time, I'm aware of this man. He is perspiring magic and seems so mystical and if only I spoke an ounce of Italian would I be able to start a conversation to find out more.....
After that woman leaves, he starts the conversation for me. Kevin as my translator he tells us the story of who he is and what he does, almost like he read my brain and heart waves wanting to know more about him! His name is Gelsomino, which is Italian for Jasmine. He is a stone carver from Sardegna. He tells us that magic still exists there. That the veil between this world and the spirit world is very thin, and the natives there are still in communication with the angelic realms. He himself connects to Mother Earth and asks her if and how she would like to be sculpted in various types of beautiful stone and rock. He spoke of how his carvings are meant to show humanity the amazing quality of unconditional love that exists and is readily available for us to access...
I started to cry. And I started to relate. With my own journey with sound. Sound that will hopefully help bring more love, specifically unconditional love to all those who listen, deeply listen.
On these travels, I always inevitably meet someone who inspires the shit out of me, and reminds me that I'm doing what I need to be doing, no matter how arduous the journey or how seemingly uninspired the moment can be.
Thank you Gelsomino. You are a bright light that cannot be dimmed.
Gelsomino's train stop arrived and he kissed my cheeks, my hands, and headed off. As he got off the train, he turned and blew more air kisses to me and kevin. He had the most warming beautiful smile I've ever seen painted across his face. Filled with love.
Here is his website: www.gelsominocasula.it/sculture-monumentali
It gives you an idea of the amazing work this man has brought into this world.
My contribution this month is a sound scape. Very much inspired by the work of Gelsomino, I tuned in and asked to connect to the universal energies so they could pour fourth through my feminine vessel. I hope you enjoy it!
One more reminder... I am taking pre-orders for the album I'm recording this month! $15 or more sent to firstname.lastname@example.org via Paypal with Wild Woman Pre-Order in the memo.
Also, if you haven't already signed up for my music CSA (community Supported ART) via Bandcamp I have big plans for growing its roots! But I can only supply as long as it's support is there. If it's within your means, please consider joining! It's $5+/mo <3 There is a link on my home page that will take you there <3
Okie Dokie! Thats a wrap!
I love You all so much!
>>•Madeleine Grace •<<
The past 3 1/2 years I have been pursuing a singer/songwriter/musician career slowly but persistently. I have asked for a ton of help from my beloveds and strangers alike, and the level of generosity never ceases to amaze me. Each time my level of gratitude increases ten fold! This past month has kind of been a money drain... I always plan to have enough, and I always plan to have a chunk left over so when I get home I can pay rent (and parking tickets i've accumulated ;/ …) but life constantly shows me that my relationship with money is still in-progress… I guess.. I find myself in a space between not letting money limit my thoughts/creations/actions and a place of knowing that our economy system is literally designed to make it extremely hard for the bottom 99% of human beings to live a financially successful and fulfilled life. So I do my best to live alternatively, often trying to take the path of barter or trade instead of purchasing new or mainstream. As a result, I live pretty cheaply, but I know it's not feeding my fullest potential.
I’m interested in keeping my bank account alive and well, for when it is, my life can streamline and function a lot more smoothly. Though right now, (and I’m being totally honest and transparent), it’s pretty depleted. I need to figure something out.
Side Note: I just found out that playing music and being compensated in anyway (including room and board accommodations….) is ILLEGAL when not in your own country. WHOOPS! The Untied Kingdom almost didn’t let me through the boarder because they thought that I was going to try to stay to make money playing music on the street…. like really?!?! OK. ... OK.
So this is kind of important that I figure out a way to make some money. I’m not asking for donations like I have in the past. But rather I’m looking to Raise this money in exchange for my work.
The way I’d like to raise this money is with a combinations of a few methods. I’d absolutely LOVE if you’d sign up for my fan club subscription! It’s only $5 (or more if you want!) a month for a new piece of my original artwork which is usually multi media and always changing so you can never get bored! (Hint.. this year I’m thinking a lot about a collaboration between music and dance music videos…)
The other way I’d like to fundraise this money is by having interested parties pre-order my next album, which will be released this coming Spring/Summer season. I’m thinking to release this album solely as an MP3 version and not in physical CD form. There will most likely be limited edition Vinyl pressed for the hipsters with record players out there (myself included..) But I’m not interested in producing more plastic, while the way technology is advancing, music can be played in so many ways through MP3 and CD's are becoming kind of obsolete..
If a mix of 100 or so of my beloveds and strangers wanted to either join my fan club/ pre order my next album, I’d be able to raise enough money to make the Month of March totally livable an doable to feel secure.
And here comes the sales pitch: I don’t want you to just take my word for it. I want you to Feel into it. Feel into the song art that I make and see if it resonates within your being. Does it make you feel something you’ve never felt? Does it make you feel ALIVE? Does it bring to light something you might have been keeping in the shadows?
To me, my music is a representation of my own emotional and physical expressive process of BE-ing HUMAN. We humans share so much in common, yet we’ve been discouraged from sharing our truths in order to avoid seeming week and vulnerable. But the Truth is, Vulnerability is Strength. It means growth/expansion/progress in the process of living life to our fullest potentials. The Truth is, we all share the Human experience in different ways, but it is all the same. When we show each other Love through support and unleveling, supporting someone being in and living their truth, we encourage others to do the same.
If you’d like to invest in Truth, Love and expanding to your fullest potential, please consider pre-ordering my next album. It’s titled Wild Woman.
Wild Woman because She lives in everyone. Every person no matter man or woman or if they prefer to identify as non-binary, EVERYONE has the Wild Woman inside of them. Want to get to know her? You can find her inside of your Truth. You can also get a taste for her inside my next album. I’ve been procuring her now for over 3 years and she's been growing a learning quite quickly how to inhabit my body. She loves the heart. In fact, She has built a nest, nestled sweetly inside of my ribcage right next to my heart so she can be close to its beating, close to its warm steady rhythm, close to the source of deep, ultimate knowing. Pre-order Wild Woman for $15 and You’ll be supporting a Wild Woman in the making. Turning the rainbow light of Truth into embodied flesh and blood of a woman named Madeleine Grace.
This is what the breakdown of the month of March’s money requirements look like:
-$80 phone bill
-$55 Credit card bill (almost paid off… Hallelujah! :) )
-$200 for my artist residency program at The Sanctuary in Arcata, CA
-$100 for Gas to drive from LA to Arcata
-$50-100 for food for the month
-$300 approximately for gas and food while traveling back to NY state
-$330 for April’s rent
Thats roughly $1,165 that I need to raise to feel SECURE.
This is my Goal. Also, while in my residency, I will actively be advertising teaching voice lessons as well a voice workshop and putting on pop-up performances, playing for tips and also hopefully some paid gigs. I know it will all work out. I’m fully engulfed in the flow of the lively river of life, and I know, no matter what, It’s all part of the walking the Path.
Speaking of the path… I do feel like this is a huge expansion point for me. Learning how to create a sustainable living while living my truth has been a tumultuous and rocky journey which I’ve supplemented with farming, gardening, landscaping, and catering, and I know I’m finally being asked to make my life easier and more sustainable by narrowing down the places I put my energy. I’m accepting the challenge out of both necessity and desire.
Thank you in advance for your consideration to support the cause! And know that I love you no matter what you choose.
For the Fan Club Subscription, follow this link: madeleinegrace.bandcamp.com/fan-club
For pre-ordering Wild Woman, Send $15 (or more if you's like! who am I to limit your generosity??) through PayPal.com to email@example.com and add "Wild Woman Pre-Order" as the caption <3
Also! For anyone interested in Madeleine’s List of Goals for this Year, I have written them down as I have been super inspired by my travels. Note: this list is largely based on what I haven't been able to do consistently while traveling but have a very strong urge for.
-write music on a more regular basis while feeling natural and in the flow.
-meditate and have a toning practice every morning
-during meditation, ask what my body wants for fuel, what food does it want to be nourished by?
-ask my body what kind of movement it wants
-Cardio vascular exercise daily
-More dance breaks and expression sessions <3
-Feel into the idea of creating songs on the loop pedal and then bringing in the dance expression into it. maybe starting to make music videos that way???
WOW this was a long Post...
Thank you for making it to the bottom!
Lots of Love always from your's truly,
Wow! Italy... What can I start with... I arrived on February 1st at 9pm to Naples. The air was thick with moisture. A dear friend that I haven't seen since college and her husband came to pick me up and they let me stay with them for a few days in their apartment. She has an amazing view of Mount Vesuvius and the city of Naples. What I learned from my stay there is that Napoli is not a place for the faint of heart. As a pedestrian, if you make eye contact with a driver, you give up your "right-of-way"... roads are narrow with cobblestone lots of potholes, filled with people walking, driving cars, motorcycles, scooters and bicycles alike. Fruit and vegetable markets in every neighborhood, fast paced and expedient. Disorienting and chaotic but has literally the best pizza in all of Italy., which a classico pizza should not cost your more than 4 or 5€, or you're paying too much. Fried Pizza is totally a thing too.... and its delicious, you have to try it only once though...hahhah!
That was Napoli.
Then there was Cuma.. a whole other story.
Cuma is where the seat of Cumaean Sibyl rests. Sibyl was an orator of the future who predicted the coming of the savior Jesus to the Romans. I visited Cuma and me and my friend were the only people there! As i walked into the entrance of the Cave of Sibyl, I immediately felt inspired to sing. I started to HUM as I walked down the hallway and made it to the end where a small empty space resided. I sat on the stone seat, closed my eyes and tuned into the space. I felt overtaken by the vibrations of the echoes my voice was creating. It felt as if I had tapped into some ancient sound, perhaps Sibyl herself, was singing through me. I instantly fell in love with the space and the land. When I finished toning, we went back out into the light. we collected some acorns and went up to see the temple of Apollo and the temple of Diana. The temple of Diana was designed specifically so that on a very specific August full moon (of which i cent remember exactly...) The Full moon's light will shine on the Alter of Diana, the goddess of the Moon.
Pompei: The ancient city that was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. I really felt into the marble and stone that built the city. It was a man made city. Where Man meant to get far away from the forest. It was a city that removed you from Nature. It was a city that was designed for the long run. very intentionally built and had very clever systems in place to function efficiently. Water was collected when in rained in Basins carved into the stone ground that was then distributed to several different places. When I walked among the streets of this ancient city, I felt that the eruption came at the perfect timing. Though as humans, this kind of natural disaster where so many lives were lost can seem sad... What I felt was the need for change. And that change was brought on by Mt. Vesuvius. It was a powerful feeling... not sure how else to talk about it.
Now for the last week I've been in Gemmano. A small historical town outside of Rimini. I've been staying with a friend I haven't seen in a few years and it's been amazing to catch up! He is living with a few friends who started a Hand made (Sal'Meni in Italian) farmers market where they sell herbs they have dried, wines and jams they have made and the also make Cassoni, which is a Piada stuffed with either delicious herbs they wild harvest, roasted squash, or cabbage and chard. I've been having the pleasure of learning their traditional lifestyle and way of working with food. The Piada is a staple food for my friends. its like a wrap, or a large Tortilla but it's made with grains they have grown, harvested and milled. They have taught me how to make the Piada the traditional way as they do, and I'm hooked..... I'm already day dreaming of how I'll get my hands on a large bread making board, a rolling pin and a flat cast iron pan....!
While I've been in Italy. Internet has been rare to come across. on a logistical front, my phone has pretty much been turned off and I haven't sent or received messages for days at a time. One evening this past weekend when I accessed internet I received a message that said my car was missing from where i had left it in Orange County, California. I had to figure out how to recover it from overseas! Fortunately the fine folks I left it with were a tremendous help in locating it and bringing it back to where it was and hopefully keeping it safe for the remainder of my time in Italy.... Its a costly lesson to learn, as I had to fork over $650 to get it out of Jail... It had been towed.... but I'm so grateful it wasn't stolen!
I'm realizing how much has happened and how much there is to report on! I simply just don't have the time to be writing daily on these events but I'm glad I was able to steal a bit of time today to write :)
Next I'll be going to Florence for a few days on the 23-25th. On the 26th I have a SoFar concert in Pisa I'll be performing at! I'm really excited for this.. I was supposed to fly out of Naples on the morning of the 26th, but i got this offer and decided to change my flight. it's going to be more expensive... and i'm already feeling broke from the towing of my car... But i can't let that stop me from following my heart! So i'll be doing it anyway!
Lots of Love!
How vast the sky can be out here in the West... I recently ended my 10 day Vipassana retreat in Kaufman, TX. And I'd like to share my experience with you. and how the Sun saved me.
Every morning I woke up at 4am. I meditated for 2 hours and I would emerge from this place of stillness, walk outside to the deeply dark sky with glimmering stars and constellations and the waning moon crescent to go eat breakfast (which was oatmeal and strewed prunes) in the dinning hall. As I would exit, I'd watch the golden sun rise up slowly and fill the dark sky with shades of tangerine. I kept thinking... "What and magical way to start the day?" and once the sun had fully brightened the world, I basked in this light to fill my soul with love and support. Vipassana was an amazing experience to have. It brought me to a place of stillness and spaciousness I haven't experienced before (at least in this lifetime). It asked me to deprive myself for 10 days of intimate human contact and self expression. There was Nobel Silence, meaning I couldn’t communicate with anyone verbally, physically, (not even hand gestures) and no looking people in the eye. No journaling or singing/humming/whistling... this experience asked me to give up a large amount of my day-to-day life. But I agreed to in order to see their perspective.
The amazing thing about silence and stillness is that you can find yourself in a place of openness. A place of observation, and in that place you understand you have the option, to choice how you are going to respond to any given sensation the body is presenting/experiencing. The goal of Vipassana is to become a neutral observer of your bodies sensations. To not identify yourself with pain of pleasure allows you to not become attached to these sensations. Not to be in a place of craving or aversion to certain sensations. You simply experience them and have no judgement. Oh how nice this sensation has arisen and now it has passed away. and no need to attach yourself to it because all sensations arise to pass away. For me it was harder with the painful experiences to be a neutral observer than not craving the pleasant sensations. For some reason, pain seems more personal and potent. Maybe because it feels like an attack.
Now I can sit for an hour of meditation without scratching an itch! I have started to re-pattern the habit-pattern of the mind, which is to REACT to stimuli, and now, instead of REACTING, I can sit in observation and choose how to respond. Which makes a huge difference when applied to relations with human beings, and your relationship with food, drugs, and alcohol to name a few things I see being abused and mis-used in todays society. When you change your unconscious habits of swatting mosquitos and scratching itches that are irritating, you actually can change the way you interact with people who seem irritating or triggering of emotional responses within you.
I have to say, though this taught me TONS about myself, and I'm grateful for the experience, I was so glad to get out and TALK and SING and interact with other human BEINGS! WOW it felt like a 10 thousand pound weight was lifted!
I spent a week in Dallas TX playing open mics, practicing getting my voice back to par awaiting a gig at the Opening Bell Coffee house. I had a friend that I made last year when i played, who let me stay at their house for the whole 5 days! It was amazing to have a home base for that time, where I could cook instead of eat out for every meal. Such a blessing!
Now I find myself in Taos, NM hanging with a friend and mentor. Exploring the landscape here... I am falling IN LOVE with this snow covered paradise <3
I'm about to go play and open mic and will update with more info later!
Lots of Love!
Today I hold my heart tenderly with compassion while taking this plunge into feeling fully alive. I feel courageous, steady and I feel a stillness grounding me. I feel contemplative and reflective. I feel supported. By friends, family and strangers alike as I am relying on their kindness to shelter me from this winter weather. I am Officially "On Tour" again... and it hasnt quite sunk in yet. I'm writing to you from Knoxville, TN where is is 13 degress. Tomorrow we'll be in Arkansas and then TX where on the 3rd, all start a 10 day Vipassanna retreat. I'm looking for more of that stillness of Presence within my body, to become a more refined channel of life and love to do the work I am here to do on Mother Gaia.
Living on the edge is where we discover ourselves...
I'll be back in mid January for another update <3
so much love to my Hudson Valley Family!!! and all of my supporters!!! Thank you for all your support!
Happy New Year! SO MUCH LOVE!