I’m inspired. I have been working on an article for a concert being given by a musician of space-music, Jonn Serrie. Serrie is famous. Although I was not familiar with his work, I have been a fan of another musician of space-music named Jeffery Thompson. Thompson’s, like Serrie’s, music has an ethereal sound and also contains “brain waves” (that’s what I call it, but it is really called Hemi-Sync) that can affect how a person feels when they listen to the music. For instance, the CD I have of Thompson is to enhance creativity. He also has CDs for inducing sleep, decreasing stress and the like. I am excited to find another artist of this caliber, who might just be even better.
When I listen to Serrie’s music I feel the stirring or opening of my chest. That’s me. If you listened to it, you might feel it somewhere else. While researching the article I found a perfect description from a critic of one of Serrie’s CD releases. He says Serrie’s music is, “decidedly ambient, but with subtle bits of melody and rhythm quietly drifting in and out. The music is floating, timeless, swirling, dreamy and cosmic.” I concur. Serrie has 20 CDs to date and a new one has just been released called, Sunday Morning.
Because of the ambient nature of his work, the music he produces is used in a variety of ways. One use is in planetariums. When asked how Serrie would describe his music, he says, “Space is the place.” So I think planetariums are appropriate. It is also where he got his start in this genre of music. His compositions are also found on movies and TV – CNN, the Weather Channel and Discovery Channel to name a couple. His work is used in mediums requiring a certain divinity, like yoga, meditation, prenatal care, music therapy for autistic children, and hospice care.
But, it’s not just Serrie’s music that has me excited. There is another reason I am enthused to find this person out there in our world. He’s inspirational. Like one of those people you see on CBS’s show Sunday Morning, profiled because of their greatness. And I don’t use this term loosely – when I give a shout-out of greatness to a fellow human, it’s like an award in my own mind. The gold standard of being human, if you will.
I meditate most every Saturday evening at Phoenix and Dragon. I also meditate some at home, but with the kids around (and they usually are around), I find myself feeling like someone is about to walk in any moment. I hear them everywhere, even if they are not there. So honestly, my meditations are pretty limited. But I can appreciate others that do it often and do it well. And Serrie is one of those people.
According to my research, Serrie began an advanced form of meditation in 1972. He learned from a teacher in India – the Mecca of mediators. Later, when he was looking for a way to use his meditation as a gift to others, his wife, Ann, suggested he could mediate with patients at her work place – Hospice Atlanta.
Ann had been a volunteer at Hospice Atlanta from 1994 to 2007, then she took a job there as the Volunteer Coordinator. Her job is to find volunteers to help around the place.
I asked her if meditating with patients was something ground breaking that only Jonn is doing and she said, “No, but there is only a small contingent of people who do this particular work.”
Jonn described his meditation with hospice patients in an interview, “A light begins to glow and you get pulled into the process. It is a joyous experience but you have to be totally transcendent to the fear of death.”
To me, this is such a personal experience to have with another human being. Jonn does not even speak to the patient, he gets there in the last few minutes of life when they are past speaking, but he is on the most intimate journey this person will ever take.
What really strikes me about Jonn is that he looks for ways to use his God-given gifts to help others. His music is a given – it’s his life’s work and one can easily see that he uses his soul to create it.
But, Serrie’s talents do not stop at his music. He is also a pilot. In fact, he had to choose between being a pilot for a living and being a musician. He chose music, but when 9/11 happened, Jonn wanted to use his talent as a pilot to help others. He joined a civilian unit of the Air Force called the Search and Rescue Auxiliary. These people go out at whatever time in the morning or night, usually once or twice a week, when called to rescue people from things such as disaster relief, lost airplanes or Homeland Security issues.
I look at Jonn and his wife, Ann, and I see two really giving people, living a life of service. These are the kind of people I want to model my own life after. Often, when I read in spiritual books about living a life of service, I think of church. I see in my mind my dad and his fellow Sunday school goers helping one another out regularly. He is always visiting someone in the hospital, or taking food to someone’s house from the church. But when I meet people like Ann and Jonn, I am reminded that service is all around. Opportunities abound.
Hospice work touches me. My grandmother had a hospice nurse at the end of her life. Even then I thought, this is the work of angels on earth. They deal so closely with death, having that relationship only to say good-bye every time, knowing that this is the job. It would be hard for me.
During my research I found out that not all people that work in hospice are nurses, as was my assumption. And not all people have to say good-bye every day. There are many volunteers that come in. They are companions, or people that work in the libraries at hospice facilities, people that play instruments, like piano and guitar, to bring joy to patients, greeters at the front desk to ease the fear a patient might have when coming in to hospice care – giving nothing more than a warm greeting, but giving a world of comfort to someone who knows why they are coming to hospice, because it’s the end.
I am encouraged to take a tour of Hospice Atlanta. I plan to go there on Friday, for an interview with Jonn and Ann, but also for more than that. I’m not kidding myself by thinking I am ready to meditate with patients at their departing time, but maybe I can smile, or hold a hand, or give a kind word to someone in need. Who knows what I will unearth, but I look forward to finding out.
Jonn Serrie’s upcoming concert is on April 10, 7 p.m. at the Universalist Unitarian Congregation of Atlanta (uuca.org). Tickets: $15.
Visit the International Sound Therapy Association’s website: www.powerofsounds.com
For more information about Jonn Serrie and his music visit: www.thousandstar.com
For more information on Hospice care go to: http://www.vnhs.org/
Thanks Jem. Another well written article with new information that I can't wait to explore…
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