You’ve probably noticed we live in a culture of busyness — we judge and are judged by our productivity, our “hustle”, our packed schedules. The busier we are, the more successful we must be, right?

Not that this is necessarily a problem. Having purpose and working towards a goal is one of the things that bring meaning to our lives. However, all too often it seems that all of this hustlin’ goes hand in hand with a feeling of disconnection. We have 100 Facebook friends but we don’t have time to meet our real life friends for dinner. We constantly shout into the void of social media but we forget to listen. Our communities are online, not on our doorstep.

So we find hobbies to help us relax and forget about our chronic busyness for a couple of hours a week. But it doesn’t help. Because what we need isn’t just relaxation, what we need is connection.

We need to connect with other people.

We need to connect with our communities.

We need to connect with ourselves.

Music is the perfect way to do all three.

Music and singing are so much more than just a hobby or a way to fill a couple of spare hours. Whatever your musical ability, whatever your voice sounds like, you have music within you; it’s an innate part of what makes you human. Just think, one of our strongest instincts when presented with a newborn baby is to sing a lullaby. We celebrate the lives of those we’ve lost by singing hymns or playing their favorite songs. Weddings are characterized by music, from the hymns played during the ceremony to the special song chosen for the happy couple’s first dance.

It’s no coincidence that our major life events are defined by music.

From weddings to parties, the biggest moments in our lives have a musical element. Music has an almost spiritual power. Its very essence is to bring people together, to join communities, and to help us uncover our greatest selves. Its purpose is to connect.

When we sing together in a group, we can leave behind our constructed selves and our packed schedules and focus on the words and the music in the moment. We lose ourselves in the song, finding our true selves and our true purpose along the way. And when we get to that point, we can’t help but tune in to the people around us, our wider community and even the universe as a whole. Such is the power of music.

So if singing for just a couple of hours a week can help us reconnect with ourselves and with the world, imagine what a whole weekend would be like!

That’s why I’m dedicating two weekends in October to the connecting power of music.

The first weekend in October I’ll be co-hosting a retreat at the Esalen Institute in California and on the last weekend of October you’ll find me hosting a singing retreat in beautiful Manzanita, Oregon. Of course we’ll have gorgeous accommodations and stunning coastal views but the real beauty will emerge from the connections we make as our voices join together and we give ourselves over to the power of the music. (Seriously, last year’s retreat absolutely renewed my faith in humanity.) Who’s in?

The Singing on the Edge at Esalen is sold out, but get on my email list to get advance notice for next year’s retreat!

To join in on the Manzanita weekend, email me at marion@singportland.com. I can’t wait to connect with you! (Only 5 spots left!)