In Harmony with Nature / Nature is Music
By Kyle Hollingsworth
If we look for harmony in nature, it’s easy to find. Every plant, animal, and particle of soil has its own wisdom, synchronicity, and rhythm. Whether it’s the deeply connected root systems of an aspen grove, or schools of fish in the ocean, nature is constantly conducting an orchestra all around us. Similarly, inside of us, every cell in our bodies is doing its own dance: flowing, growing, changing, and healing with its own tempo and wisdom.
I am a person who thrives on connection to nature and to music. Since very early childhood, I sang, danced, and found peace in listening to and feeling music. I also felt connected and attuned to animals, plants, the wind, and sun. Once of my favorite ways to pass time when I was a kid was to go on a nature walk in the woods behind our home in Georgia. I would spend hours humming to myself as I studied the intricacies of leaves, watched birds and listened to their sweet songs, and felt the ground beneath my (often) bare feet. This was my meditation, although I didn’t yet know it as such. I just knew I felt at ease and comfortable and happy. It would be many years before I would make the connection for myself to how music and nature pair together as a necessary and vital part of my life.
I have always loved to sing. I am a member of a community choir, I write and perform original songs, I lead groups in song, and I teach singing lessons now and then. In fact, singing is what brought my husband Toby and I together five years ago. Music is a wonderful part of what makes our sweet relationship so rich. We love playing and performing together, watching live shows, and we strive to participate in as much as we can that allows us to see, hear, and feel music.
About four years ago, we attended a sound bath in Joshua Tree, CA. It consisted of one facilitator and an audience of about 15 people. We laid down on blankets and yoga mats in a large room with incredible acoustics and for 45 minutes, we received a bath of sound from seven different crystal singing bowls, each with its own tone, together making beautiful harmony. The experience was hypnotic and deeply relaxing. Afterwards, we looked at each other and said almost at the same time, “Let’s do this.”
We came home and immediately contacted a sound healer in LA who gave us some instruction and then allowed us to facilitate a bath with her. Over the next several months, we slowly acquired our own set of quartz crystal singing bowls, Tibetan singing bowls, a large gong, didgeridoo, chimes, steel tongue drums, crystal pyramid, various shakers and flutes – all of which currently comprise our sound bath orchestra.
We create our sound baths in our own space, at events, private homes, and even in art galleries and theaters. Our sound journey offers our guests the space to experience a wide variety of vibrations, creating a deeply moving and restful hour that leaves them feeling restful and refreshed. In some cases, they report to us that they had big internal shifts and awakenings during their experience. No two sound baths are identical, and each person’s experience is unique.
Another component of our sessions is guided meditation and breathwork. The majority of the meditations I guide people through relate to nature. I integrate water, wildlife, plants, flowers and trees into the visuals. We also often fill one of the crystal bowls with water that then receives the vibration of the bowl and afterwards, we offer that water for our guests to drink. I love this honoring of nature and integration with music. We are both always looking for new ways to expand the experience.
We’ve had a number of experiences where we were keenly aware of the music and nature connection. One was a private event in the backyard of a gorgeous home in Pacific Palisades, CA. There were about 20 participants and the bath was given in celebration of one of the guest’s 50th birthday. It was a gorgeous spring afternoon with gentle breezes and a blue sky full of puffy clouds. We settled in to begin and at once noticed that a very large lizard had crawled out onto the patio between our instruments and was laying in the sun directly next to them. He stayed in that same spot for the duration, clearly feeling the vibrations as he was laying on the surface where they originated. He seemed content.
Also, as we played the bowls, a giant hawk flew down into the area, and swooped over everyone, TWICE! As we played on, there were “ooh’s” and “ah’s” from guests as they watched the regal bird dance along with us, and throughout the bath, the trees seemed to dance as well, their leaves swaying along. The breeze gently helped carry the sound through the backyard and it was sublimely peaceful. We felt so connected to nature and the music we were making all at once.
I feel honored to be able to both create and enjoy these moments of integrating music with nature in all its forms. Performing live music and creating sound baths outdoors is our favorite way to share this, and we look forward to many more opportunities to continue this dance with nature and sound. As musicians, if we are willing and open to create along with nature, the possibilities expand and there are endless discoveries to be made in finding unique ways to integrate what comes from within, with what we feel and see and hear around us. Nature has so much to teach us, if we pay attention. Music is a gift, as is every plant, animal, stone, and drop of water on our planet. Aligning the harmonies of each is our gift we can give back. In making this connection, we honor nature and ourselves, to guide us, dance with us, and make our music and lives richer.
Kyle Hollingsworth is a vocalist, songwriter, sound healer, artist, writer and teacher. She’s had a rich career in the arts and design and has been performing for more than a decade. Her focus is on combining her fine art, music, intuitive gifts and in honoring her own truth. Kyle sings with the Golden Bridge Choir in Hollywood and volunteers with Toby to offer their music and sound healing to hospice patients.