Monday, 4 November 2019

Gayatri Mantra at The Remembrance Chapel


Whilst visiting the chapels of South & South West Wales to record footage for me new Radio Show & Podcast Series with Oystermouth Radio & Welsh Connections, I captured an intimate clip of chanting on my mobile phone to share with you, part of the Gayatri Mantra, one of the most ancient and powerful mantra for love and light, particularly when experiencing the darkness. 

Namaste, dear ones.

Friday, 1 November 2019

Woman Needs A Temple : The Human Spirit & Well Being



Most musicians will acknowledge that their work is a labour of love, but 'Woman Needs a Temple' is more than that to me. The making of this album over the last 2 years, has actually healed me and my deepest hope is, that it might help you to feel better, too ... 




After a 30 year career as a singer/songwriter, when I became suddenly hearing impaired 3 years ago, I seriously thought I would never make music again.

It was not so much the hearing loss that stopped me in my tracks, more the tinnitus and a lesser known condition, Hyperacusis, a crippling sound distortion which renders even my own voice as a distorted mini mouse on helium, scratching like nails down glass inside my head. Music and singing, the core of my being, became excruciatingly painful. So, I completely stopped  I used to describe it as being in a beautiful garden, but constantly being stung by wasps ... you'd soon stop wanting to be in that garden, no matter how beautiful. In many ways, by being silent, I stopped being me. Having said that, it left space for me to see who I really am, a sometimes painful process.

After about 9 months, I began to yearn for singing, to feel my voice in my body, to 'be' what the Universe had put me here to be.  So, very gently, I started chanting ancient healing mantra in Sanskrit. It had always been my passion. I first learnt mantra in an Indian orphanage where I volunteered as a musician and storyteller about 20 years ago, the children taught mantra to me on the roof top during bajans. As I chanted, so my cells started to hear me. I didn't need my ears to FEEL my soul sing again.

I couldn't play my trusty old guitar, because moving my fingers on the strings was far too painful for my ears, so I visited a handpan maker and brought home an instrument that matched my hearing tolerances ... 

SOUL INK is the first song that came to me through my meditative journey with the handpan. My Daily Practice of Meditation by Chanting had begun, and with it, came more and more healing songs ... 




I found my quiet voice. I had been a bit of a belter. I think we all were in the 80's. PA systems weren't what they are now and you had to sing your lungs out to be heard over the drummer. I found that if I sang really quietly, I could hear myself without distortion. You try singing really quietly, it's not as easy as it sounds. I learnt how to use every muscle in my body, linked with the chakra, to channel the energies to my quiet voice, becoming intimate with breath and placing.

And then, one day, I got my guitar out of the case, just to look at. OK, so I couldn't change chords because of the painful noise, so ... why not play without changing chords, using the guitar as a drone. I couldn't strum anymore, it was too loud, so I picked the strings; I couldn't play the higher notes as they distorted, so ... I didn't! Slowly, I began to celebrate what I could still do instead of mourning for what I couldn't and these small joys became my Daily Healing Practice, re-connecting me to a sense of joy.

Once I had accepted myself for who I was in the now, more songs came, giving my meditation shape and form and I could feel myself healing from the inside, out.

And now, I am sharing that healing with you ... 




If you would like a copy of my new album Woman Needs a Temple, it is available as a pre-order at my website www.cherylbeer.com

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. This is just the beginning. Come back soon and find out what happened next ... here's a clue!



Be sure to add me as a chum on facebook 
for daily updates & chit chat ... 


Saturday, 1 June 2019

Preparing for Lazzmataz Book Fair



My dear friend, fellow author and musician, Lazarus Carpenter is doing a remarkable thing this weekend. He is holding his AMAZING annual Music Festival in The Castle Hotel in Llandovery, but for tomorrow, he has organised a Book Fair, which I am very happy to be a part of.


 There's lots to do today, in getting ready to go. First of all, what on Earth am I going to wear! 


I am plumping for something loose, cool and cotton. I have new shoes for the occasion, which could be disastrous if they blister. 


It can be a long day at a Book Fair, even though I'll probably be sat down for most of it, so I am going to throw in my good old flat sandals, just in case.


Talking of sitting, I have decided to take my canvas chair with me. It is very comfortable and the colours are very jolly, so when I am not sitting in it, it will look lovely.

Ah yes, and what books to take?


I was going to just take my Children's Books. I have 3 new stories to launch ...


But then I decided to take some of my other books, too. I have about 62 different ones to choose from ... These 2 are written in collaboration with older people living with dementia and raise funds for my work at Sound Memories Radio, so I'll defo take them along.





And then I thought I would take these 2 books. I literally have a handful left of the Special Edition run I did last Summer.





And I am going to take the only sheet music I have ever published, notated for me by my close friend, the late Susan Berry. It will be as if she is with me, in some small way. She would have loved the Book Fair, chatting to everyone, maybe playing her harp.



And I might put a few of these guided meditation booklets out, too.


These are 2 books from way back when I first started Parlour Press Publishing  ... 



I have had some little Special Offer price fliers made for my children's books so peeps know the prices. 


And all I need to do now is a last minute blog about it (which you are reading), share this on my facebook and insta, do my best to drum up some support for all of us that are preparing today to load our cars an pootle off to Llandovery early tomorrow morning to unpack and make our book stalls look lovely for you. There'll be lots of authors of all types there, live readings, storytelling and Spoken Word. 


If you love books , stories & poetry, if you'd like to chat with authors about their work, publishing and the joys of writing ... then come along, you'll have a great time.

Right, best iron my dress ... see you there, folks.






Friday, 31 May 2019

Storytelling & Mindfulness for Adults



In my last post, I spoke about the need for Storytelling & Mindfulness in helping children to better manage their emotions, but grown ups need support, too. With our busy lives and added responsibilities, we seldom find time for ourselves, overlooking our own emotional needs.

                    

Mind.org.uk  (2019) report that 1:4 people in the UK  experience a mental health per year. That is a quarter of the population, approximately 15 million people!!! It's frightening, isn't it?

That's why I am rolling out my Storytelling & Mindfulness Sessions to adults. I have been delivering and developing them for some time in hospices and mental health hospitals but what we really need is some preventative work, where adults have access to learning new coping strategies through storytelling and mindfulness before reaching crisis, so that they are better able to manage their own emotions, prescribed through the GP. I think this is coming as the medical profession are now acknowledging the benefits of meditation for mental well being.

So, what qualifies me to make such a statement. First and foremost, because I have used Storytelling & Mindfulness as part of my own healing practice and would not be sat here planning to help others without it, but it may be helpful for you to know that I trained as a nurse on leaving school and then went onto University to read a degree in Behavioural Sciences, where I won an Outstanding Achievement Award for my dissertation research in the Rhondda Valley. I went onto read a Masters in Social Science and Economics looking at equal access, alongside this, studying for postgraduate guidance and counselling certificates. 

I have spent my entire career working in Arts and Well Being, developing innovative and inspiring ways of applying my academic background with practical, hands on community work, channelling my passion for creativity into award winning projects that have helped 1000's of people feel better, such as Young Parents, Youth Clubs, Old People's Homes, Hospital Wards, Secure Units, Hospices etc.

In my forties I went back to Uni to do an MA degree in Drama specialising in 3 areas of ethnographic poetics and life story, studying the effects of menopause, empowering people living with dementia and the psychological impact of physical disability on emotional well being. I won an Outstanding Contribution to MA Drama Award from the University of Wales for this research. My work with older people leading from my research has won me a GOLD National Care Award from the Wales Care Forum and this year, an Excellence in Creative Media Award, Significant Contribution to The Arts.

In addition, I have spent part of my life working in other cultures studying how mindfulness and mantra make social change and impact culture.To that end, I have trained as a qualified Sound Therapist, as well as Reiki Practitioner Level 1 & 2.

However, although is is important for you to know that my practice is grounded in a lifetime commitment to making the world a better place, what is more important than any of this is that I really care about you. I think humans are amazing and have the most wonderful potential, given the right support and guidance. Mental and emotional well being is a continuum. We all need support sometimes, to stay connected to the light within us.

If you would like to find out how to make a booking for my Storytelling and Mindfulness Sessions, feel free to get in touch via facebook.







Storytelling & Mindfulness for Children



Recent research shows us that anxiety & stress amongst children is on the increase (youngminds.org.uk) In my heart, I feel strongly that it is our responsibility as grown ups, to teach children nurturing coping strategies, so that they are better equipped in life to deal with their emotions. After all, it is us who have built them this stressful world in which to grow up. Exams, family break down, fear for the planet, political unrest, these are all areas that national research has found concern children, making them feel anxious. Being worried about something shows how deeply they care, they just don't know what to do with that emotion to make it work for them.

My Storytelling & Mindfulness Sessions are based on 30 years in Arts & Health and more specifically, 3 years research in Primary Schools, teaching children how to harness anxious feelings and make positive social change for themselves and others, through presence & self care. Showing them how to create space beyond fear & nurture a more loving way of living, for themselves, each other, the wider community and the global community.

I am now taking bookings for September 2019 onwards to tour my Storytelling & Mindfulness for Children Sessions. If you would like to make a booking for the tour, feel free to get in touch.  Thankyou.


Wednesday, 29 May 2019

The Quest for a Deaf Friendly Friendly Shruti Box


 ... And so my journey back to Self continues. Increasingly, I have become more confident in living with my hearing impairments. This is without doubt, due to my own daily healing practice of chanting mantra and listening to gentle devotion music from around the world. 


For instance, right now I am listening to a beautiful Sufi mantra by Dilpreet Bhatia,  based on a profound poem by Baba Bulleh Shah, Kaalam, to remove ego from the heart.



It is in this stillness of Self that the desire to chant and make healing music has returned to my heart ,soul, body and spirit, awakening the very cells of my being.One of the things I miss the most since my hearing deteriorated, is my shruti box. It was too loud for my hearing aids. The sound distorted and was too painful for me, so I re-homed it ... but then today, after 3 years without it, I wondered, would it possible to find a shruti box that could be played quietly? Was there a way to find a sound sensitve shruti box, in a low enough key that my ears and hearing aids could tolerate?

I did a google search, thinking I would spend weeks searching the world for such an instrument but straight away, as if it had been waiting for me, up pops www.shrutibox.co.uk who make customised shruti boxes, sensitive to volume and special foot pedals, which means I could sit away from the box itself.




And where do you think this company is? India, maybe? No, they are in Ceredigion, literally the next County to me. I rang up and spoke with Natasha. Her partner, Stephan, the musician, actually makes the shruti boxes and pedals, right here, in Wales!


Stephan is so busy, I have to wait until July for my visit, but it feels promising that, when the time is right, I will have a shruti box tuned to the tolerance of my hyperacusis and tinnitus, as well as volume sensitive to my hearing aids. It feels like a miracle. Somewhere deep inside me, I can hear my lovely Nan saying to me,' Where there's a will, there's a way.' and indeed, as ever, she is right.

All love dear ones
Cheryl




Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Are you Ready to OM?




I am very happy to feature this song from my new album 'Woman Needs a Temple' now available at Bandcamp and today's Meditation Incantation is 'Are You Ready to OM?' 

Recorded during my sacred and personal healing practice, shared now to help and inspire others to heal from within. Here's the track, have a listen and if you like it, why not pop over to Bandcamp to hear the other tracks, too. When you buy a download, it enables me to continue my work, sharing my healing practice to help others. Thank you for your love.



Full details available from my website ...