NEWS & ADVENTURES of a thoughtful heart songstress mama | Fall 2016
~ The Amanda West Music Newsletter ~
Dear Ones,
Autumn is always such a magical time of year. I love the golden light, and the inspiring wisdom of the trees, dropping their leaves, letting go of all they do not need.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about stress, and observing how not only do all the adults around me seem stressed out all the time, but so do the children who I teach, of all ages. It is true, it is hard to be human, no matter where you are in life. But must it be like this?
Thanks to the Big Sur fires I missed my annual off-grid retreat for the work period at Tassajara this fall, so I decided to do a technology cleanse on my own, in the hopes of decreasing some of my own un-named anxiety. I understand know great technology can be, but sometimes all the texts and emails and posts and likes and updates and messages, etc. etc. are just all too much. So I turned off my phone and closed my computer for a weekend.
What I noticed was my knee-jerk reaction to open my phone at any in-between moment. And I was surprised how many in-between moments I in fact have! And instead of trying to respond to a text or message or post before getting behind in everything, I just stood there. And I breathed, and stared off into space for a minute. And I could practically feel my cortisol levels decreasing, instead of increasing, in each of those precious little moments.
{"Look Up" from @amandawestmusic on instagram}
Do you know how beautiful the “nothingness” can be? It can also be terrifying. Because it might be full of sadness or anger or loneliness. But it’s so good for us, those moments of nothingsness; To sit for 10 minutes, with no screen, no phone, no newspaper or book. Just sit and let the thoughts and the feelings roll through.
I happened upon an interview on NPR the other day with this fellow, Andrew Sullivan, an early adopter of the internet and an obsessive blogger for many years. He wrote an article in New York Magazine called “I Used To Be a Human.” He calls distraction our anesthetic. It’s a powerful article, along the lines of my recent reflections.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Like the nothingness of the in between, music is a portal into being present with our hearts and spirits and bodies. I have been loving putting music into practice as a healing art form, singing for ceremonies & celebrations, spiritual services, meetings bringing awareness to environmental issues, and gatherings that build, strengthen and uplift community. I feel the medicinal power of music too when working with my private students. We are not just learning to play guitar, write a song, or sing with a full voice, we are learning how to learn, how to feel, how to live, how to be human!
{Womb Song Circle at Full Moon Birth Center's Opening Gala last month,
photo courtesy of Santa Cruz Birth Photography}
I am grateful that the song inspirations keep coming through me, and I’ve been writing a lot lately. We are still celebrating the birth of the Womb Song album, which is available for now at our monthly singing circles (every 3rd Monday of the month...THAT'S TOMORROW!) here in Santa Cruz, and will eventually be online as well.
I continue the work to balance all that is important in life, simmering my many pots of creativity. The autumn time reminds me to do the work of determining which things are the leaves to let go of, and which are the branches to grow.
Thank you for staying with me on this journey.
Wishing you a beautiful fall, and settling into wintertime.
With love & gratitude & song,
~ Amanda
U P C O M I N G   E V E N T S :

Monday October 17th @ 7pm 
 (Ongoing 3rd Mondays of the month)
October WOMB SONG Circle
 Pacific Cultural Center | 1307 Seabright Ave. Santa Cruz
A community based singing circle for mothers & mothers-to-be, led by
Amanda West & Megan Jacobsmeyer. Learn more:
and follow us on facebook
Sunday October 30th, @ 9am  
Musical Inspiration for Morning Services 
  Center for Spiritual Enlightenment |  1146 University Ave., San Jose, CA
Mid November 2016  
Possible Santa Cruz House Concert 
  Details TBA
May 18th - 21st 2017 
Song Village
A gathering of people who love to sing. Amanda will be leading community singing circles in this beautiful weekend retreat. Other song leaders include MaMuse, Lisa G. Littlebird, Debbie Nargi Brown, Lawrence Cole, Heather Houston and many others. 
Private Lessons ~ Voice, Guitar & Songwriting
Grandview Studios in Felton, and at Sylvan Music in Santa Cruz
Specializing in work with girls and women. More details:

Amanda West Music
~ Songs for Thoughtful Hearts ~
PO Box 7345 | Santa Cruz CA 95061