Choice 

There are choices I have made that even years later weigh heavily upon me.  I consider that weight to be a good indication of growth, reflection and a tenacious commitment to truth and integrity.  My reflections and writings are a way for me to unravel myself and the unconscious fault lines within me.  I think we all have them; only through the application of specific pressure in specific areas do these fault lines crack within us all.  It is a gift that I now know the landscape of my own vulnerability and I actively try to choose differently than in my past as I have come to accept the shape of my human frailty.  I have learned that every action, every inaction is a choice.  I have committed, in every new choice, to more deliberate action, to more considerate and courageous integrity.  I know I have difficulty saying no...to my family...to my friends...at work...and yet every day I commit to the deliberate practice of becoming more conscious, more exacting in my choice making.  

So when I chose you, know that it is with knowledge of vulnerability within a great fear of loss and pain.  Know that I am wise enough to know that choice is ongoing...a living commitment that needs to be made day after day.  Know that it means I understand there will be challenges and circumstances that settle between us and I will still consciously and deliberately choose you in every moment of every day for as long as you will also choose me.  It means choosing to turn my face towards rather than away when I feel lonely and disconnected.  It means choosing to reach out rather than close in when I am mired in sadness and sorrow.  It means choosing you to be the recipient and holder of my ecstasy as well as the guardian of my secret vulnerabilities.  It means silently saying yes over and over again to you, to your offered hand and welcoming eyes.   

Let you go 

When the silences
Of expectations
Leave the dusty echo
Of words unspoken

When the aching puzzle
You’ve left is broken
And the gaping sound of it
Cracks me open

Still I can’t let you go
Every paper thin note of me says

I can’t let you go
I can’t ever go home
When the soft folds of memory
Hold my tattered thoughts of you
Of you, of you

When you slip away 
Like mist in the morning
Shapes of shadows all
That’s left of the moment

When the siren’s call
Still holds me captive
A crumbling faith of 
Spellbound stories

Still I can’t let you go
The scattered words left all say

I can’t let you go
I can’t ever go home
When the soft folds of memory 
Hold my tattered thoughts of you
Of you, of you

Still the sun will rise
Still the sun will shine
Still the sap does flow
Through the torrid veins
Of lovers throes. 
 I will find the map
Without your north
In a world without
Me in you

I can’t let you go
I can’t ever go home
When the soft folds of memory
Hold my tattered thoughts of you
Of you, of you

When I hang in threads
I can’t untangle
In the empty hollows
You once inhabited

Oh, I try to find
Some sense of normal
As the world it spins 
So blindly callous

Of letting you go
Of letting you go

Lengthening of Shadows 

I walk in the lengthening of shadows.  The sun lays on a horizontal plane, illuminating singular grasses and berries amidst the snow as though to highlight the last dreaming vestiges of summer.  It is starkly beautiful, with virtues of resilience and dormancy.  Thoughts drift across the field of my mind, thoughts of you.  I haven't thought about you for months, I haven't missed or wanted you and yet this slight focus on the awareness of your existence feels sharp; the cutting edge of loss.   It was the landscape that brought you to me, one you have never seen, but have shared in through the lens of my words, my perspective.   I think to myself that you would understand the settling satisfaction of my prairie wanderings, like no-one else.  This thought is a greying mood that lingers long into the evening.

Endings and Beginnings 

As many of your know, the last 3 years for me have been largely consumed by the process of separation and divorce.  It has been a journey that has been painful and conflict-ridden and yet ripe with opportunities for growth and reflection.  The journey of divorce, for me, has been taxing and long, and has consumed so much energy, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.  As an introvert and a feeling person, conflict is wearying and difficult for me, often leaving me drained and listless.  I have tried to be good to myself over this time, not requiring more of myself than being present, being true, and approaching each challenge with kindness and strength.  Today, my divorce has gone through.  There is a quiet melancholy to the final ending of a relationship that shaped so many of my years and gifted me belonging, laughter, spiritual growth, and four beautiful children.   I turn soft eyes to the road ahead and feel a subtle, but persistent sense of purpose and resolve; a stirring.   

I am a mother to four amazing human beings, so much of my focus over the last 3 years has been on creating a new home that is stable, loving, and emotionally safe for them.  The separation also has meant that I can no longer commit the time I was before to my musical career.  Music is my passion, but is not a financially feasible full time option for me at this time, which has necessitated a full time job elsewhere.  It has been a long journey.  At first I worked two jobs, spending the week days working at a local wildlife rehabilitation center and many weekends working at a residential treatment center; all this in addition to spending time with my kids.  Obviously there was very little room for music during that time.  After being diagnosed with shingles one very stressful (and rashy) Christmas, I realized I was taking on too much and was going to pay with my health.  Luckily, my finances had improved at this point and I chose to quit my weekend work, which also allowed me to take on gigs here and there.  Over the last few years I have felt fortunate to have performed at festivals and in collaboration with other artists.  

Scorpion Moon was released a month after I separated from my ex.  o_O  (FYI:  I do not recommend this as a career move ~smile~)  I did what I could to promote the album and was honoured and thrilled that this album was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award.  Still, I was emotionally and financially unable to leverage that nomination into touring, performing, or recording opportunities, something that has been a source of sadness and guilt for me.  In many ways I feel that I have let myself and all of you down.    Still, I have continued to write and perform, just in a more contained manner.  The music I have written over the last 3 years has been introspective, represents a manner of coping, and has created a safe space for my healing.  One of those songs is shared below.    I have more than enough strong material for another album, I am just not in a place, financially, where I can translate these new songs into a professional recording.  

Sometimes you have to take a less direct route to get to your destination.  Though the wildlife rehabilitation center I have worked at since 2013 has been a nourishing, flexible, and supportive environment, it cannot provide what I believe I will need in the future.  As such, I have applied and been accepted into a graduate program, Masters of Counseling, through the University of Calgary.  I start in September and will slowly chip away at this over the next 5 years, while still working and caring for my children.  Once again, this will result in less time and energy for the creation and performance of music, a sacrifice I am willing to make to ensure a secure future for myself and my children.    The decision to apply for grad school was a heavy one, especially because I knew it would mean a shift in focus away from my musical endeavors.  My hope is that these studies will continue to grow my spirit and mind bringing new and unexpected perspectives to my creative work.  I also hope that the financial security that will come from this change will then allow for a renewed recording vigour.  I will continue to post when I can, write music when I can, and perform when I can because I know that music is my home and have felt from the very beginning that it is what I was meant to do.   I am not giving up, just flowing a little differently for awhile.  ~smile~  I fully intend to release another album when the time is right.  

The support I have received for my music has been a sparkling light in many moments of darkness over the last 3 years.    Your emails, comments, and likes have reminded me over and over that music is connective tissue; that it speaks to what holds us all together.  I hope you will continue to follow my journey, hold space for me,  and that you will be patient.  There is music waiting, incubating in spaces between what is and what could be. I am taking those first tentative steps into an unknown, and very soon I will find my feet to run, my wings to fly, and will intersect with the me that is waiting just beyond the horizon of now.   

With love and determination,

 

Sora

xo

 



Sulis 

A video of a song I wrote a couple of years ago about Sulis, the goddess of the hot springs in Bath, England. I had always wanted to write an unaccompanied song and after visiting the hot springs at Bath I felt the still and sacred energy of Sulis was perfect for the beauty of just the human voice. The vocals are just a demo I did at home.

Sulis is the goddess of the hot springs located in Bath, England. Her worship predates the Romans in the British Isles. When the Romans arrived, they asked who the goddess of that place was, and were answered with "Sulis". They asked what she was like and the native people explained that she was wise. The Romans thus compared Sulis to their goddess of wisdom, Minerva and so Sulis became "Sulis-Minerva" forever watching over the thermal springs at Bath (called Aqua Sulis by the Romans).

The artwork is by an amazing artist, Liba Labik (www.libaartstudio.com), who also happens to be a good friend. Enjoy!

40 

March rides in on winter's roar.  Though the sun's light is mellow against the edges of the horizon, the wind has teeth, sharpened by the unseen snow in the air.  I however, am snuggled warm on my couch, with the yellow glow of vintage lamps creating my own sanctuary.  I mean to write, something...anything but all my words are churned conflicting in a tempest of thought, memory and emotion.   I turn 40 in a month and a half, a number that means pretty much nothing to me.  I don't feel 40, but then again, what does 40 feel like?  Maybe it feels like this, a soft comfort that sits behind my eyes, a heart still messy with feelings, a strength of conviction that is only somewhat more malleable with the voices of other that become more salient as I pass through the years.    This is my 40.  I don't know what 40 is for others.  I hear of women who lament each ticking year.  I don't understand this rage against the machinations of time.  We are all beholden, I would rather acquiesce to the passage of time, and fight rather for the quality of time.   I don't plan to celebrate my birthday, any more than I usually do. Wine to good health, and cake with those that are as family.  

Still, I pause and evaluate who I am in this moment, what passages I have made to get to now.  As I sift through memory and feeling, nothing feels out of place, even the sorrows that are etched on the chambers of my heart.  All feels as though it is supposed to be.  This is sometimes a hard feeling to resolve myself to, a strange thought for sure.  This is because I want for more out of this music that haunts my dreams.  I want for more, but right now I  feel as though I am exactly where I am supposed to be.  Not necessarily where I want to be.   When I allow myself to follow the rigid downward spirals of self deprecating talk, I compare myself to others  and always feel as though I come up short.  This is a deceptive manner of thinking, for it only encompasses narrow definitions of success, negating multitudes of other positive ways that my life has been crafted.    

This all comes to me as I integrate my experiences at Folk Alliance International (a music conference I attended in February) into my repertoire.  I must admit, the first two days there were the loneliest days I have had in a long time.  I felt keenly out of place, especially as an artist that was not selected to showcase,  my experiences not at all compatible with the people I met.  More than once I went to the bathroom and cried.  I phoned my sister friend on the second day, sobbing, and she asked me to come home, where I was loved and cherished.  I couldn't afford to change my tickets, though I desperately wanted to follow her advice, and so resolved myself to making the best of it all.  And in that resolution the pain of differentness eased a bit and I went on to experience two much more enriching days, meeting other interesting and unusual souls and coming to the conclusion that it was not my time to showcase and that in actuality, the universe was taking good care of me, as it always has.  Had I been chosen to showcase, I would have felt obligated to sing through a very serious throat infection that has plagued me for 2 months.  Most certainly I would not have been my best, through no fault of my own.

As I complete another decade of my life, I can see that I lead an unusual life.  My experiences do not compare to others, they are unique.  I have a life that is rich with beauty and love, and both have been my highest goals for as long as I can remember.  Beauty.  Love.   I could never have foreseen as a child that I would be where I am today so, though I have not achieved all that i want with my music, I can still see that power of what I have already done; in emails that come from people around the world, asking to use my music for dance productions, asking for the use of my music in a school music performance.  This is the wonder and intoxication of music; the ability for it to affect people long after its creation.  

Surely as I navigate through the next 40 years of my life, I will have untold possibilities, at least as amazing and unforeseeable as those realized through the last 40 years. 

2015 

A New Year tiptoes in upon cascading snow drifts leaving nothing to mark the passage but a whitewash of the year before.  I have never been one to create resolutions, it always felt a bit contrived to me, but somehow this year, I feel the urge to write down goals and desires, to pull to me the life I want to be immersed in.   I can sum up all my wants into a simple phrase:  I want to grow beauty; in music, in writing, in space, in photography, in every interaction I have.  Growth.  It feels like I have nurtured the seeds long enough within.  

My mind is a bit rusty, my fingers tentative as I write this.  I haven't had much of a presence these last two years.  At the risk of talking too much of pain and loss, I must confess that my separation and divorce has held me in stasis.  I feel as though I have been in survival mode, unable to look ahead, living each day as it comes and finding myself in a creative void.  Many people have been where I am, struggling with the loss of love, of dreams, of support, of time with their children.  So this is not a poor me post rather an explanation of absence and perhaps a reminder to myself to not feel so guilty about not writing and connecting with the core of my being.

In my other life, I would spend a great deal of time reading, walking and thinking, which was the oxygen to my creative fires.  I am required to find a new way, as I now must work to make ends meet, to pay my mortgage and feed my children.  Last year I worked two jobs, which meant my days off were few and far between.   After a sickness illuminated how destructive that was to my wellbeing, I cut back and indeed flowed yet into another way.  

I am fortunate.   I have a job at a unique and interesting place (I work at a wildlife rehabilitation centre).  My job is flexible and allows me time off when I need it and to create the work hours that work for me.  I can ride my bike to work in the summer and in the winter I am never stuck in traffic as it is a short 10 minute drive against traffic flow.  I have a house that was filled with all the basic amenities by the generosity of friends, family and even strangers.  Through every financial crisis in the last 2 years, the universe always opened a way for me, provided for me and left me intact.  I overflow with gratitude for all these gifts of the basic infrastructure of life.  It is time now to move beyond infrastructure.  It build upon the basics of life.  It is time for me to give back.  

As the shock of all the severing words, of cruel actions and the crumbling of half of my support system has faded, I finally feel as though I can look past today into the rolling waves of 2015 and find the pathway to the me I want to be in my new life.  

I almost wrote "the pathway back to me".  Almost. There is no going back.  That me is no longer.  I am required to create from the ashes of all that was burnt down in the destruction of my old life.   And create I will for that is who I am, that is what I do.   I am finally ready to create after two years of grieving.  

One of my largest goals is simply to write more, which I am starting today.   I need to write, to awaken those succulent words within me again.  To do this, I am going to take more photos, walk more, find my connection to nature again and let it all flow through the tumbling creekways of my mind and flow out again carrying the taste of my perceptions, my take on the world.  

It's time to move forward.  

Welcome 2015, I have been keenly anticipating your arrival and now that you are here, you are more sparkling and beautiful than I could have ever imagined.  Welcome.  

 

 

Frozen 

Time stood still in our breaking
Shards of shattered will
In our breaking all was still
So still

In the silence of complacent years
Lays the carnage of winter tears
In the silence of these cares
Turned to fears

I sleep with your heart still singing
The blood of my dreams
I can't breath

Because I'm frozen without you
I whisper to the wind my longing
Find me
Free me
Melt me
Need me
Hold me
Thrill me
Breath, fill me
Touch me
Heal me
Sing, move me
Love me
Call me
Come back to me

I'm unfilled in my waiting
Empty of you still
I am waiting heart unfilled
Oh until

In the wasteland of withered words
Parched and lonely, still unheard
In this wasteland I'm inert
With empty hurt

I wish to ignite rebirthing
The world keeps on turning
Not me

Because I'm frozen without you
I whisper to the wind my longing
Find me
Free me
Melt me
Need me
Hold me
Thrill me
Breath, fill me
Touch me
Heal me
Sing, move me
Love me
Call me
Come back to me

Restart my heart
Promise me summer again
Breath our story
Into these frozen words of mine

Bend me
Break me
Map me
Make me
I just wanted to be warmed by you
Oh I was yours from the start

Touch me
Heal me
Sing, move me
Love me
Call me
Come back to me
Come back to me
Frozen without

CFMA Interview 

An interview I did in November of 2013 regarding my nomination for a Canadian Folk Music Award for my 2013 album "Scorpion Moon".  

 

Selkie 

Overflowing with the abundance of my life today, so I put together a simple raw demo of a new song "Selkie".  Just gifting abundance back into the universe ~smile~  

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Upcoming

Previous events

Mar12

Shades of the Living Light The music of Hidegard von Bingen

Yoga MCC, 2028b 33rd Ave. SW., Calgary, Alberta

THE MUSIC & VISIONS  OF
HILDEGARD VON BINGEN
 

Shades of the Living Light

The music of Hidegard von Bingen

March 12, 2016 7:00-9:30pm

$30+ gst

Vanessa Cardui - voice, guitar

Sora - voice, piano

Dorothy Bishop - cello

Trudy Hipwell - percussion

Prashant - bansuri, guitars

"The beauty and depth of theme found in Hildegard’s theology, philosophy, cosmology and medicine can all be found condensed in her music as in a jewel."

$30

Jan17

Sands of Time Exhibit

Essentia, 1113 Kensington Rd. N.W., Calgary, AB

We would love to invite you to the Sands of Time Opening Reception where you will be able to view Liba's incredible peices of art, while contemplating time. Sora will also be singing Celtic melodies that are sure to put you in awe! Liba Labik is a local visual artist who explores in her latest work time and its impact on life. She is using mainly oil, encaustic and mixed media in her work. During Liba's Opening Reception for "The Sands of Time," Sora will be singing.  Sora is a World/Celtic singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose soaring voice and poetic lyrics have garnered her international acclaim.  *30% of each art piece sold in January at Essentia will go to the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society. For more information, please visit: http://www.myessentia.com/locations/calgary/

Free

Dec20

Annual Candlelight Shindig

The Lantern Community Church, 1401 10th Ave SE, Calgary, AB

A Christmas story interspersed with holiday music.

Free