Singing My Own Song


MandalaToday, March 10, 2015, is the anniversary of Matrignosis. For five years my musings have been read by an audience that originally numbered in the tens and is now in the thousands. What a thrilling and richly rewarding ride this has been!

The most satisfying thing of all has been connecting with so many kindred souls. You know who you are, and I adore you and thank you with all my heart. Over and over again you take the time to tell me how a post has touched you, provided a valuable insight, or been a synchronistic gift that arrived just when you needed it.

I wonder if you know how profoundly your comments and questions have enriched my life. Not only have you taught and affirmed me;  but just knowing you are here, thinking of me and wishing me well, permeates my days with feelings of warmth, lightness and gratitude.

This two-in-one post is my symbolic way of connecting a meaningful outer and inner event. I’ll begin by revisiting my inaugural post published on March 10, 2010. After that I’ll share something new from my heart.

Part I:  Following My Passion

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi (1207 – 1273 )

Matrignosis Post #1: Coming Home to Feminine Spirituality

I understand that an emerging name for blog is lifestream.  This seems very fitting.  It reminds me of one of the two most important dreams of my life.  This one came in January of 1989.  I had been teaching at a local university for ten years and was growing increasingly dissatisfied.  The previous year I had discovered Carl Jung, joined a Jungian study group, and embarked on a program of serious self-examination and dreamwork.  The insights I was gaining gave me the courage to consider giving up teaching to do something I really loved, but this was a very difficult step for me.  Then I had this BIG dream.

1Dream #155: “Going Against the Current.”

I’m walking downstream in a wide, rushing river beside a rocky bank.  People are shooting by on rafts and I wonder how they keep from bashing themselves against the rocks. I decide to go back upstream and walk in water up to my chin.  The rough bottom slows my progress.  I reach up and hold onto some thin, flimsy branches hanging out over the water. This helps a little until they disappear and I have to go on unaided. 

As I near the last turn, suddenly there are thousands of people in front of me, all heading downstream.  I’m in the midst of them, trying to make my way back upstream to the place I’m supposed to be – my base camp.  Friendly people press in on every side.  Sometimes I gently touch a head or shoulder to propel myself forward.

At the mouth of the river I put my hands together in front of me and gently part the people. This reminds them of Moses parting the Red Sea and they smile indulgently.  Then I’m far out in the ocean in deep water, tired and afraid.  Will I make it? 

Suddenly a younger, blond-haired woman is in front of me, only her head showing above the water.  “That was smart of you,” she says.  I know she’s strong and rested and will support me if I need to float for a while.  Together we head slowly to my base, a place I’ve never been but know to be my destination.

For me, walking through the rushing river represented the swift passage of time in my life’s journey.  For most of it I had been going downstream in the direction of least resistance, believing what I was told to believe, doing what was expected of me, and ignoring some deep, unfulfilled yearnings. But my dream confirmed that the time had come to discover and honor my individuality. Like the children of Israel when they crossed the Red Sea, I was leaving my slavish allegiance to the collective behind.  I was being initiated by the Absolute (the ocean) and led to my true Self by my inner soul guide (the blond woman).

I cannot overstate the importance of this dream.  I knew “I” didn’t create it;  it came from a profound source of wisdom deep within me. I think of this inner wisdom as Sophia, the Divine Mother. The part of her that speaks to me in dreams is Dream Mother. Because I had the courage to listen to her and change the direction of my life, I soon discovered my true passions, writing and the search for self-knowledge, and they have made all the difference.

With the guidance of Sophia’s Feminine wisdom I’ve decided to take my newest plunge: lifestreaming on the internet.  I hope you’ll find something in the outpourings from my base camp that will help you, too, move in the direction of home.

photoPart II:  Singing My Own Song

A major goal on my soul-making journey has been to become transparent enough to let my soul’s light shine through. Common advice to travelers like me include “follow your passion,” “find your own voice,” and “sing your own song.”

My writing has been of considerable help in this regard. But other beloved ways of expressing my soul’s truths remain in the shadows. One is a literal example of “sing your own song:” I’ve neglected my deep love for music-making since college. So last year, with a surprising amount of trepidation, I approached my grandsons’ guitar teacher about giving me ukulele lessons. He was happy to oblige and I haven’t had this much fun in years!

This leads to my second way of celebrating this blog’s 5th anniversary, which is to step out of my musical comfort zone and risk “going public.” What follows is not my “own” song as the title above suggests, but considering my passion for dreams, I think it’s quite appropriate for this occasion.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about “Dream a Little Dream of Me.” This song has “music by Fabian Andre and Wilbur Schwandt and lyrics by Gus Kahn. It was first recorded in February 1931 by Ozzie Nelson and also by Wayne King and His Orchestra, with vocal by Ernie Birchill. A popular standard, more than 60 other versions have been recorded, but some of the highest chart ratings were in 1968 by Mama Cass Elliot with The Mamas & the Papas.”

FullSizeRender 4Hmmm. “…first recorded in February 1931….?” That’s almost exactly 84 years ago today. Only a few days’ difference! Why am I not surprised?

Anyway, with the help of Ron Duncan—a gifted musician, teacher, and all-around great guy—I’ve been learning to play it. Initially, he recorded himself playing the guitar and sent it to me so I could listen to it as I practiced. But then a few weeks ago we began the fun teaching/learning experience of adding my ukulele and voice on his iPad Garage Band app.

It was never meant for anyone but me, but with my recent dream-related posts, and again, with a surprising amount of trepidation, I thought it might be fun to share it with you. If you’re a real musician, please remember…..I’m still learning to sing my own song.

I hope you enjoy it.


Mandala Image credit:  Google Images. Divine Feminine by Charlotte Backman

Poem and river image from ram0ram’s blog.

Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc.

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0 Responses

  1. First of all – the song rocks and I am in awe. Many happy returns on your anniversary. I am honored to be a fellow blogger of such an accomplished dreamer that you are. The dream is also quite moving as a testimony to genuine individuation.
    Thank you deeply.

    1. Thank you, Monika. I must return your compliment about being honored to be a fellow blogger. The depth and breadth of knowledge and wisdom you share on your Symbol Reader blog never fail to awe, inspire and impress me! You are a perfect example of one who uses her gifts to make a real difference. Jeanie

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed your post and your song! I have been recently inspired to pick up the guitar and am attempting to learn it and find my song! You ventured out once again and shared a precious part of yourself. Thank you for being such an inspiration of vulnerability to me. Love you! Shannon

    1. You’re very welcome, Shannon. I’ve loved having you as a companion on this inner journey and am thrilled to hear of another advance in your courage and growth. Scary, sometimes, but fun too, isn’t it? Who knew that accepting your vulnerability could be an inspiration to others? That’s another fun thing to learn about oneself! Blessings.

  3. Mom – I have tears in my eyes listening to your beautiful voice! I know the courage it took to share something so personal and I’m so proud! I will never be able to fully express the gratitude I have to the universe and it’s higher power for granting me you for my mother. I know it has not been easy to follow your path and I’m so glad you did! Your example of seeking and sharing your personal truth has been an inspiration to me and will be to your granddaughters as well.
    I love you so very much! Thank you!

    1. Oh, my darling. What can I say? To quote one of my favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein songs (from the Sound of Music), “Somewhere in my youth and childhood I must have done something good,” to deserve having you as my daughter. Your wise, loving and understanding spirit is a constant source of delight to me. And my granddaughters!! Well, there’s no better gift you could give me than them! Thank you! All my love, Mom

  4. Jean, I have followed your Blog for the past five years and look forward to each one. Your awareness, wisdom and knowledge have been so fulfilling for me. Looking at the picture of you and Shadow on the wall behind you while listening to your wonderful music brought tears to my eyes. You are an inspiration to us all.

    1. Thank you, Fern, for always being here. You, perhaps more than anyone else I know, understand the challenges and joys of fulfilling a powerful childhood passion as an adult by consciously taking on the daunting responsibility for, and developing a loving relationship with, a horse. How fortunate we have been to be able to do this. In many ways, Shadow was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. Now MY eyes are filled with tears.

  5. BRAVA, BRAVA, BRAVA!! You are amazing! I know you…and I know what courage it took to step out and share your voice! (I could NEVER do this) I love the song and I love hearing your musical voice and your inner voice. Congrats to the spiritual warrior. You’ve come a long way, baby 🙂

    1. Yes, I have, sweet Beth. With miles to go before I sleep! And I know what courage it took for you to step out and found and run an entire school for at-risk boys!!! Cherokee Creek is an extraordinary gift to the world. Believe me, I could NEVER do THAT! Congrats to your spiritual warrior too. Your gift of sisterhood has been a special blessing to me. Jeanie

  6. Oh! My!… You continue to amaze me with your talent and ability to share what is really meaningful… Memories of another time and place flooded back when I saw that instrument and heard your lovely performance, but the connection to the moment and the essence of your body of work make it a unique moment in time. .Keep doing what you do so well and know you are making a difference with every breath!

    1. How dear you are, Helen Hay! It has been so nice to reconnect with you again after that other time and place. I wish I’d known you better in high school!! It would have been nice to have had a soul sister like you during those awkward and lonely years. Thank you for the beautiful words of encouragement to be myself. It’s still tough sometimes. Blessings. Jeanie

  7. I loved your beautiful rendition of this song and feel inspired by your courage and energy.
    I found your Dream Theaters of the Soul book quite a few years ago and it has been a ‘bible’ for me. You might love seeing my well-thumbed, dog-eared copy. Thank you too for your blog; I feel somehow connected to you and appreciate your presence in my life.

    1. Hello, Carla. How lovely to hear from you! I would, indeed, love seeing your dog-eared copy of Dream Theatres! If there is such a thing as music for the eyes, that would be it. It’s wonderful to know you feel connected to me. My Writer Animus can’t think of a more meaningful compliment. Thank you. Jeanie

  8. Jeannie, I am so happy for you that you’ve set out on a new journey of self expression and that you are generous enough to share with the world! I’ve listened to your delightful song three times already! I love your style…so smooth and gentle, soft and sweet…like you. Music has been such a huge influence on my life, my moods and especially my memories. In fact, I often write to music as it seems to cleanse the air to allow my thoughts the freedom to gather into something meaningful. Thank you for putting a happy mood into my head tonight, I expect my dreams to be nothing short of delightful! I’ve missed you! Love, Vangie

    1. Oh, Lady Vangie! I love your style too. In fact, I would describe yours exactly the same way you described mine. (Maybe that’s why we like each other?) Plus, you’re a fantastic actress. I also love the way you describe the effect music has on your life, especially your writing. Thank you, and may your dreams be enlightening and empowering! I miss you too, and look forward to many happy times together this summer. Love, Jeanie

  9. Jeanie, Your blog helped start me on a deep and profound healing journey. The road has not been easy, but your compassionate, steady wisdom has been an ever present light along the way. I am honored we have met, shared stories, dreams. You are a big part of my continuing willingness and ability to face my shadow, work with it, write and sing from it. So thank you, and happy anniversary. Your song rocks. YOU rock. You are a blessing. With love, admiration, respect, and gratitude, Joseph

    1. At this moment I feel…..not exactly speechless, but almost wordless. I am overwhelmed by your kind words. Thank you my dear friend. YOU rock too, you good and courageous man! Jeanie

  10. After months of Brian Carlin being unable to post anything here, we sought and received help from WordPress. Thinking the problem was resolved, he wrote the following:
    Hi Jeanie ,
    Was looking forward to my first spam-free contribution but yet again it seems to have disappeared into the ether. What I wanted to say to you was…
    You know that feeling you get when you bring a cup to your lips expecting coffee and you get tea instead? I got that, listening to you singing and strumming. The posting of this feels like a gift to yourself and to us. Not wanting to sound too gushy, it feels like you placing your heart in our hands. Oh, and by the way, I LOVE tea! ☕️

    1. What a tea-licious response!! Doing my happy dance with a happy face! Thank you from the depths of my safely nested heart!
      Here we go again with the spam thing. I’m so sorry. I’ll revisit it right now and hope the correction sticks this time.

      1. I’m back. Sure enough. Your post was in the Spam folder again. This time after marking it “Not Spam” it occurred to me that it might help to click the “Apply” button. Feeling abashed. It should work now.

  11. dear and divine Jeanraffa ……. cosmos is a dream of divine……. that is what Hinduism says with dream of lord Vishnu …… listening to this song by Mama cass …….“Dream a Little Dream of Me ….. so with greeting and gratitude wish your wisdom blog a long life …… many happy returns of the day …… life is a journey and destination at the same time … river and the ocean ……time is river and timeless is ocean ……. knowledge is streams of river and wisdom is ocean where are steams of knowledge get same level …….. that is the purpose of sharing knowledge ….. but your blog is a river and ocean at the same time …….. you and your blog has inspired many including me to write in the initial stage of my blog writing in mid 2010 for which thank you with my heart …… ear is the center word and soul of heart ….. so listen to our heart and sing our own song ….. like you did …… a truly milestone on wordpress ……. once again thank you Jeanraffa …… God bless you …… love all.,,,,,,, ram

    1. Dear Ram,
      Thank you for these many wise and beautiful insights. You have an amazing way of distilling language into underlying spiritual meanings that most of us miss: “time is a river and timeless is ocean,” “hear is the center word and soul of heart.” So, if I hear you correctly, you’re saying that lord Vishnu is dreaming us and speaking through us all the time whether we know it or not. And spirituality and wisdom are about being aware, listening, and reflecting until we understand his message well enough to share it. You are one of the rare individuals who knows how to do that. I’m honored that you were inspired by my blog in 2010, and thank you sincerely for returning to share your wisdom here. Jeanie

  12. How lovely to come across this Jean thank you so much! Bravo! Thank you for your always gracious sharing and the meaning that this brings into my life. I loved the comments that express all that I want to say.

  13. Congratulations on the 5-year anniversary of your blog! Wonderfully appropriate song and wonderfully performed! 🙂

  14. Gorgeous song, just delightful. You have such a lovely voice. And it’s such a full, enriched way to celebrate your 5-year anniversary here – the first post, the dreams, the taking of action on that wisdom, the living thing, a song, now out in the world. Beautiful. Many congratulations!

  15. Sing you do, and play that ukulele, too. I’m so glad I heard you sing and play a little when I visited. Love the dreams and love that you sing your song on so many levels and in so many ways. Congratulations on five years of consistently excellent, mind-tickling, and heart-opening blogs.

    1. Talk about mind-tickling and heart-opening. That’s what your visit did to me! So now, we’re even for a bit….. Thank you, sweet friend.

  16. Somehow I missed this a few weeks back. I’m going to see if it’s possible to carry the audio over to AinA. I’ll give it a go! Your song touched me very deeply, and when that happens, I’m trying to pay attention more these days. One of the big issues we’re addressing is the balance of Logos & Eros. We have a society that has tilted much too far toward Logos, and how to reorient the balance is an important thing for the future. But first, we must understand what’s missing!

  17. Thank you Skip. I’m very touched that this song was deeply touching to you. That’s very nice to know. Glad to hear you’re paying more attention to these kinds of feelings!! Sounds like you’re listening to your anima, a very good development indeed! Yes, Eros is sadly and tragically buried very deep in our culture, to the detriment of all. The more of us who can see that, the more hope for all of us! With much appreciation for your support and all the wonderful work you do on AinA to bring more healing to the world, Jeanie

  18. Unfortunately, I do not have an appropriate audio player, but I was able to link to the audio on your site. My next piece will be on Logos v. Eros, and why we need both. I hop you like it!

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