In 2008, two creative projects were being released into the world. I had just completed recording my third CD, Sophia Songs inspired by the Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom. And Anne Hillman had just published her second book Awakening The Energies of Love – Discovering Fire For the Second Time with wisdom from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
After listening to “Hymn to Sophia” from my album, my dear friend Rita Marsh, director of a local wellness organization Davi Nikent, had a similar feeling after reading the chapter in Anne’s book, “The Song of Love.” She wrote to Anne, about her inspiration.
“My friend, Lisa Dancing-Light, wanted to attend your retreat but was at the birth of her first grandchild. She is a musician, composer, and voice teacher. I suggested she read your book, with special attention on the poem, The Song Of Love. She has a strong connection to Teilhard de Chardin, as introduced by Jean Houston years ago and you both might have real synergy collaborating if she could put music to the poem.”
I immediately read Anne’s book and found a deep connection with her wisdom, and saw many similarities to my songs. Spending considerable time with the The Song of Love chapter, Anne’s words did inspire me, yet no melodies sang within me. Nothing happened. Embarrassing as it was, being a songwriter for three decades, I was completely blocked: for three years. I wrote fragments of words and melodic phrases, but that was it.
In the fall of 2011, Anne was coming to Carbondale to lead a Living A Surrendered Life retreat. I signed up, thinking, “This could be the motivation I need.“
However, the week before the retreat, I was in my garden and fell receiving a terrible puncture wound in my leg. I was in such pain; I could hardly walk. The doctors were worried about infection. I had to keep my leg elevated, and was heavily medicated. Not wanting to miss the retreat, I decided to attend anyway.
I drove over the hill to the ranch where we met for the weekend. In a private session with Anne I shared my creative inspiration. Her response was, “Yes, that’s it. Go for it.” The perfectionist in me wanted specifics, so I asked, “What do you want the song to say?”
She gestured with arms outstretched and said, “I want it to say: Welcome, you are loved. Everyone is welcome. This is a song of inclusion.”
Driving home that night, I was pleasantly exhausted and so ready to get some rest. As I pulled into my driveway, I saw my neighbor shooting off fireworks, which was perilous in that high fire danger summer in the mountains. Needless to say, I did not get any creative time to work on the song nor did I sleep well that night, worrying about a possible fire.
The next morning in the shower, I felt the hot water wash away my pain and fatigue. I remember looking up asking, “Whatever wants to sing through me, sing through me now.” What happened next was something I cannot completely explain. The song sang itself to me completely. It came through me as perfect as a newborn baby.
I rushed to the piano desperately writing chords and melody down. In an altered state of ecstasy, I could hardly wait to share this with Anne and everyone at the retreat. That morning was so beautiful and clear, driving over the divide. Arriving at the ranch, I told Anne what had happened. And her response was, “Wonderful! Will you please sing it for us first thing this morning?”
After our morning T’ai Chi, Anne announced that I had something special to share with the group. I walked over to the grand piano and sat down to share this beautiful new creation. After a deep breath, I started singing. I looked up after the first verse; everyone was in tears. I knew something significant was happening. When I was done, there was silence. Anne, herself a vocalist, declared, “Lisa, you did it!”
There was a request that everyone gather around the piano to sing it. Rita recalls the voices were so beautiful. She feels The Song Of Love is a tribute to Anne, to Teilhard de Chardin, and “An Anthem for Humanity.” May it bring hope to the world connecting compassionate hearts and loving souls.
Video interview of Anne Hillman and Lisa Dancing Light