When I was asked to write about a truly transformational experience I’ve had, I didn’t expect it would be such a challenge to pick out just one. Ever since I’ve had my first transformational experience at the Ozora Festival in 2011 (without having any idea what i’d find there – I just went along for the ride with a guy I had a crush on, haha) I can pretty much say that the last 7 years of my life have been a constant transformation!
I’ve been to amazing festivals that taught me how to open up my heart and mind, to beautiful workshops or events where we danced and sang and where I learned how to use my voice, my body and just be myself, I’ve traveled and learned from different cultures and from being outside my comfort zone. Truth be told, many of my transformational experiences happened when I’d least expect them, in life situations and with people who touched my soul in many different ways.
So after one week in which I kept going from one idea to another, I just decided to sit down and write the first thing that comes into my mind out of all my experiences. And it surprised me when my mind chose this one that I’m about to relate to you.
In September 2017, I was in a point in my life where I was beginning a new chapter. I had been studying the Tzolkin (Sacred Galactic Calendar of the Mayans) and I decided to go to Ibiza to meet a woman I knew who worked with the Calendar. Little did I know how much more this trip had in store for me!
The day I arrived, while unpacking in my room, I met a very kind, young woman staying in the room across from mine. A few minutes later, I see her taking her guitar and sitting outside on the beautiful terrace right outside my window.
The moment she started singing my heart melted. Time stopped. She was singing Peia – Blessed We Are, a song I was hearing then for the first time.
“May you walk in beauty
And remember your song
Remember why you came here
Rememer your life is sacred”
I immediately went outside to sit there beside her, listening. I was looking at this amazingly beautiful, graceful woman, feeling as if she was singing for me, as if the lyrics of the song were speaking directly to me, like some sort of a wake-up call, like a far-away remembrance of something sacred and pure inside of my being coming to the surface. It was as if, in that moment, she represented the ideal of everything I wanted to become.
I don’t remember exactly what I told her after she stopped singing, but I know I said something about never hearing such beautiful lyrics in my life and I remember she smiled and laughed and told me that if I liked this song, I should definitely come with her tomorrow night to a singing circle. “You’ll love it” she said. “These singing circles are happening in the house of this guy, Thomas, who’s been doing them every Thursday night for years! They’re quite special.”.
According to my new friend, these singing circles involved singing “Medicine songs”, as she called them. Apparently, over the years, Thomas had gathered hundreds of such medicine songs and he made books with lyrics and chords for all of them, so people could learn and share them. My friend had received one of those books from Thomas and she gave it to me to look at it before going to the circle. Many songs were in Spanish, and I couldn’t understand them, but some were in english and my god…the lyrics were so beautiful!
The next day, we went up to the magic house. As we got out of the car, you could hear music coming from the house. Guitars, drums, voices, being carried away in the fresh air of the night.
When we entered the house, it was as if I entered another world. It looked like something out of a movie about magic and wizards, with old furniture and crystals everywhere, beautiful sculptures and paintings. What amazing energy! We went up the stairs and opened the door to a room with over 30 people singing.
It was quite a big room with an open terrace and people sitting wherever they could find a place, mostly on pillows on the floor. We got in and sneaked into a corner. The room was just as beautiful as the rest of the house, with incredibe objects everywhere you looked.
The energy in the room was something even harder for me to describe. I couldn’t remember the last time I felt so much love, joy and gratitude floating in the air. I was looking in the room at all these beautiful people each with a little, unique sparkle in their eye. Half of them were playing an instrument and singing, and the other half were just singing, clapping or dancing. Thomas was sitting in the right corner of the room, thin and with long hair, in his 60s, singing and playing an acoustic guitar.
As I watched him, my heart filled with gratitude.
There I was, in a room full of so much love and magic, with music that seemed to touch my heart in ways that I’ve never been touched by a song. And there was this deep feeling of unity, of people getting together and singing and putting out all their positive energy into the world. Singing and becoming one voice.
I felt I had found something, something I didn’t know I was looking for. I felt this feeling of belonging, even though I was filled in a room with mostly strangers whom I knew nothing about and who knew nothing about me. But identity didn’t seem to matter. There anyone could sing, no matter who they where.
I used to be a very shy, insecure person growing up, afraid to sing or speak in public. But there, where everyone was singing together from the heart, it didn’t matter. So I sang, I sang from the bottom of my heart, even if the song was in spanish and I could barely read the lyrics. It didn’t matter.
And then, just as the night was coming close to an end, I hear some guitar chords that sounded quite familiar… “Follow the Sun” by Xavier Rudd (a song I actually knew!)It was as if the Universe was sending me the final confirmation that I was in the right place. So I made sure I sang as loud as I could, with confidence and so much happiness in my heart.
“So which way is the wind blowin',
And what does your heart say?”
I can say without a doubt that it was one of the most transformational nights of my life, because I saw so much beauty around me and because it opened a new door for me into the world of music, sound, healing and trusting myself and my own voice.
From that moment on, I was at Thomas’ house every Thursday night of my Ibiza trip. On the second night I went to the house, I told Thomas how much I LOVE what he’s doing here and how I would love to one day do the same thing in Romania. And what do you think he told me?! He told me to bring my laptop one day so he could give me a copy of all his music.
Since that day, I continue listening to all the songs he gave me, have learned about half of them now and am learning Spanish to be able to sing the rest and I’ve even added some new songs to his collection!
At first, I didn’t understand in the beginning why they were called medicine songs, I thought it was because many of them were being used in sacred ceremonies with sacred medicinal plants. But actually, while listening to them more and more and in different situations in my life, I discovered that in many times, the words of the songs were a direct message for me, reminding me of something I had forgotten, or helping me see things from a different perspective. In spiritual terms, the songs are so beautiful and the lyrics so full of life that they help my soul heal. And whenever I am down on energy, sad, angry, scared, lonely or just feeling out of balance, all I need to do is put on one of his songs, get my frame drum and start singing.
Thomas, wherever you are, thank you for listening to me, for being so kind and open, and for everything you shared with us! Aho <3
Note from Truself Explorers:
Thomas very sadly passed away in 2018. His dream was to unite people through the power of music and even after his passing, people are still carrying his dream.
For more information about the singing circles, the books made by Thomas and for the songs themselves, check out his website.