In this episode, I recommend the book Caste by Isabel Wilkerson, and speak into the process of letting it mirror me.
I point out that often those at the center, or in the contrived dominant caste, are led through healing journeys that can be hyper-individualized, and the resiliency needed for collective healing, and decentering, can be hard to find, or to build.
The books I reference are Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah's book Unsettling Truths - The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery, as well as Resmaa Manekem's book My Grandmother's Hands, and The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk.
The album I mention is Sanctuary - Exploring the Healing Path (with James Finley) , and you can listen to it below, or get it at my gift economy store.
Much of this week was taken up with writing an essay for an upcoming publication in April. The essay is called The Language of Praise: how we sing is how we see.
My patrons will be hearing the recitation in full, but I shared an excerpt on Sunday Song Radio.
Listen to it here:
This week I describe a method of praise that I've been developing in the last couple of years. Despite all evidence to the contrary, we are in a post-individual era, and that is another reason why people are leaving worship spaces that don't encounter the Whole inside of their expressions and rituals.
This is in early development so be patient with me!!!
The secrets of the atom are not unlike Pandora's box, and what we must look for is not the destructive power but the vision of interrelatedness that is desperately needed on this fragmented planet. We are indeed part of a universe. We belong to each other; the fall of every sparrow is noted, every tear we shed is collected in the Creator's bottle.
— Madeleine L'Engle, The Rock That is Higher: Story as Truth
Further to last week's talk on the temptations and visions that Jesus had in the desert, I imagine how he got to the path he walked in his ministry. A radical abundance in the face of Roman occupation and scarcity. Like he lived from the ground of his being, all the way down.
How does this design, this abundance that is at the heart of healthy ecosystems (that can and do include humans), apply to other systems? Like... economics... companies... communities.
In this episode, I did a little talk about how creative process can be a metaphor for the spiritual process and how a parallel part of Jesus' temptation in the desert, was being tempted to not trust his inner voice.
I played a song live inside of the show too.
In this talk I get vulnerable about some thoughts I'm having about balance, love, polarization, and the work that is before us. I also dig into the medieval history of the colour red, which is more fun, but both are important :)
To watch and share on facebook, click here!
In this episode, I talk quite a bit about how I developed the Mary Magdalene character for the When Love Meets Dust video which premieres on February 10th, at 7pm CST.
You will also hear a scratch recording of a song I wrote last fall that I will be recording for next year's album. I think it lends a lot of support to the points I try to make!
The painting of Mary Magdalene (above) is by Leonardo da Vinci, and I sat with this painting while listening to Joni Mitchell's "Magdalene Laundries" over and over, to develop how I would portray Mary in my video. I speak about this more deeply in the talk below.
Leading up to the release of the new music video When Love Meets Dust, I am recording a series of talks, to build up context for the art... for the expression. It will be "out there" for some, and I understand that, but what if the "out there" itself is a teaching?
This modality of embodying a teaching, of developing and playing characters, is deep in my capacity and desire as an artist. In fact, theatre has always been a great love, and more than that, finding mediums to convey truth beyond our cerebral and rigid bodily defences, is perhaps most important to me as an artist.
For those who have eyes to see, the video itself is a sermon, or a "visio divina".
In the next video, and in an essay, I will be talking a lot about the development of Mary Magdalene's character. A lot. A couple of hints for now... she is adorned for a reason. She is still embodied... for a reason. She is not blending into the scenery... for a reason. She is not looking through dualistic eyes like the rebel and the conformist... as though body shame and old man sweaters (jumpers) are the antithesis to the allurement of empire or the rebellion against it. She is not an antithesis. That is all I will say for now! More on this in the coming days!
To listen to the radio version of this, click below.
Every year, my dear partner/husband Ian and I sit down to draw up a creativity plan to map out how to wisely spend our time. We run a homestead. We have young children. And... it has been important to us to try and live inside of a sacred schedule that includes adapted, simple, daily chants, and ritual, so our children can be included.
Often it has come up for me, that the rule of thumb for releasing an album is to do so every 16 to 18 months. And what I've come to realize is, that model was designed by a billboard-style industry that kept the artists and listeners in need of a remarkable number of middle men. Every day, is a fuller realization of the sovereignty I have worked for as an artist, and it has itself, become a co-author in the work that is to come.
So, I will be embarking on a new, more relational model this year, by releasing an album, one song at a time, inside of the rhythm of this year's liturgical calendar. No need to reinvent the wheel... the sacred lineage of a rhythm of life is laid out for us. This model affords far more interaction and connection and community-building, and feels synonymous with my desire to be in direct interaction with those who listen to this music.
The photo above is a sneak peek at an upcoming song and video release, to mark the season of Lent. The song, When Love Meets Dust was written in 2018, when Ash Wednesday landed on Valentine's Day, and I sat in the apparent dissonance of that.
To learn more about this year, and especially the book/album announcement for next year, listen to my Sunday Song Radio show and you can also check it out in the PDF below.
In this episode, I explore how many of us formed by the evangelical movement, have experienced the trauma of being entrained to be enablers, particularly of people in positions of religious power. I address the internal wrestling I have gone through, of struggling to seeing the difference between holding a perception of one sacred universe, and being expected to offer "cheap grace" to people who abuse their positions of power.
In this week's radio show, I also explore the roots and rise of Evangelicalism and how many of us who see ourselves as "post evangelical" need to be examining our own reactions... because the evangelical movement itself rose out of reactivity.
Near the end of the episode I confess to the role I have played in the very present danger of political sectarianism that is on the doorstep of the entire Western world, and currently playing out in the United States.
Click the play button below to listen, and if you would like to leave me a voice message, go directly to:
Otherwise, feel free to type a comment here, as I always read them, and appreciate your insightful words.
Alana Levandoski is a song and chant writer, recording artist and music producer, in the Christian tradition, who lives with her family on a regenerative farm on the Canadian prairies.