Susan Picking’s name just LENDS itself to all sorts of puns. And you all know how I like me a good pun, right?
Anyway, a few weeks ago, her PR agent contacted me to ask if I’d like to have a listen to some of Susan’s work.
Manna from Heaven people, manna from Heaven. Because I have been looking for the right music for my DVD for MONTHS. With no success. And then, along came this folksy yoga-minded chick, and we have a match.
My partner calls this ‘poultry music’ referring to my apparently very white-chick taste in music. I think he means it as an insult but I take it as a compliment. Clearly, I have awesome taste! See?
And I got the chance to do a Q&A with her too – have a read of her inspiring thoughts!
You seem to have led quite a varied life. Has music always been part of it?
Music was a big part of my life growing up…..I started taking piano lessons at 7 yrs old……and I begged to do it. My aunt had already taught me a few classic duets such as Heart and Soul. I then started to learn the cello at school. I LOVED singing, but never pursued lessons or singing in a choir…..there weren’t enough electives for me to pursue it. My mom told me I always use to just sit down at the piano as soon as I walked in the door. She thought I was working out my day….like a therapy.
At University, I studied piano for non music majors my first couple of years. After I graduated I lost a little touch with music. I still loved going to hear live music, but I worked in the ski industry and didn’t have a piano. So for about 10 years I didn’t play much.
It was when I moved to California and became a flight attendant that I reconnected with music. I bought a keyboard and started to study voice. This rekindling of my musical interest took off like a wildfire! I knew instantly it was my passion, and never looked back. From there I continued to study voice privately, acquired a certificate in Vocal Performance and Songwriting, and continued to study piano. I also picked up the ukulele.
How did you start getting interested in the healing qualities of music?
I have always been interested in healing and working with people in this capacity. I had looked into graduate study in psychology, but put that on hold, when I became a flight attendant. It was during my career flying, I happened upon the study of hypnosis and accessing the subconscious mind. I was always reading about the mind/body/spirit connection and ways to assist in healing.
Because of my abilities as a musician I started to look into ways I could link the two together, I could see and feel a logical connection.
Music is vibration, we are all vibration. Music has the undeniable quality of shifting a mood, transporting one to another place and time. Music is an international language. We can communicate cross culturally through rhythm and melody.
I began to learn about toning and how your cells can be recalibrated from illness to wellness. Our cells vibrate, when we are sick we vibrate at a different frequency than when we are ill. If we recalibrate them to a frequency of wellness, it can return our bodies to a healthy state. There are also notes that are associated with the Chakras, energy centers in our bodies. This can also help us realign. I’ve studied Tibetan Singing Bowls. More recently I’ve begun the study of Kirtan, which is a call and response chanting experience that creates openings for individuals. I’m a novice, but have definitely felt the positive effects of chanting. It is enCHANTing.
As a yoga teacher, I am well aware that music can really help people move into a place of serenity. What else makes you feel serene?
Having balance in my mind/body/spirit. Serenity I achieve through a practice of meditation…..and I can always use more of that. It quiets the mind…..which if full of incessant chatter, yes it’s even sometimes negative.
Body alignment I get through a physical yoga practice as well as physical exercise…..walking, biking, roller blading.
Spirit Balance I often get from reading spiritual books as well as connecting within and meditation. I can also get spiritually fed by attending services no matter what the religion……there is always something to learn.
A couple of other things that I reach out to, to bring about serenity are Nature and Water. They have also always been very grounding to me.
Laughter is also something that realigns me. I know it brings a bout a chemical change, and life begins anew if I’ve created chaos in my brain.
Your world-view is very yogic: you talk about unity and wholeness a lot in your lyrics. Are you a yogi too?
Yes, I guess, I am. I use the term “I guess”, because I always feel like a beginner…..and feel like I have to be really good to claim the title Yogi. With the Buddhist attitude of having a “beginners mind”, it brings me back to “The Practice”…..and “my practice”. I’m very enmeshed in the yogic philosophy. My greatest practice is my music and there is yoga in my music. My song, Namaste*, I wrote before I practiced yoga regularly. Spiritually I had a practice before I had the physical yoga practice. Spiritually, I always felt that universal connection to people….even very young. On this beginners path I’m learning about Nada yoga (Sound), Bhakti Yoga (fostering love), and the various physical methodologies of yoga practice. It’s a WHOLE big wide UNIVERSE out there……and we are all one.
What advice would you give people for living a satisfying life?
Merely suggestions from a place of humility:
- Finding a balance that works for the you (the individual). Checking into the mind/body/spirit and the connection amongst them…..making sure you feel whole. I call it the MIND/BODY/SPIRIT triumvirate ,the 3 bodies within each individual that governs our health and wellness.
- Find your passion and your vocation to give yourself purpose and a sense of contribution to the world. Being of Service is satisfying.
- Surround yourself with people who make you happy, hopefully positive ones who support you.
- Happiness is a choice, you can reframe anything into a lesson that can have a positive outcome.
- Remember to Laugh!!!!! It makes life more enjoyable, it’s infectious.
- Most importantly Learn to LOVE….start within…..it spreads outward…..also infectious. If you live in a state of LOVE, the fear simply dissipates.
****I’m still learning on this path sometimes I stumble a little, but I am fulfilled and leading a satisfying life
*That song’s on the Dvd! Yeah!