Health and Wellness

Healing From Within

Sheryl Glick

Healing From Within – Music Expresses Messages of Love

In today’s episode of Healing from Within your host, Sheryl Glick interviews Alex Woodard, songwriter/author of For The Sender (Love Is Not A Feeling). Alex tells the story of his own journey from Southern California to the wide open skies of Southern Idaho, as he relates true stories of love, hardship and loss expressed in the letters he is given by people he meets and the songs he is inspired to write for each letter reflecting an understanding of what love really is and how we may continue to love even if we are not able to still be with the people we love.

Sheryl expresses, that listeners of Healing from Within are aware of, that the voices, words and music that talk to the highest part of our inner soul being is a way of remembering our true nature and the possibilities for courageous and mindful living from within, empowering us to realize our talents and inner wisdom for a fulfilling human conscious life experience.

In Alex’s book, For The Sender, Sheryl and Alex discuss several of the letters Alex received showing the indomitable spirit that may find its way to surviving and thriving in the most challenging of circumstance: such as a man carrying his dying friend home over the rocks, a boy taking a bullet for his classmates, a father with brain cancer who champions his son’s dream, and a misunderstood horse who helps an autistic child fly and feel free from the restrictions of his disease. Sheryl and Alex will also explore the nature of true love, healing and relating to our own developmental needs, to the world, and to others.

Alex himself was inspired to write a letter to his dog, a black Labrador Retriever after she died and was able to share the love and joy that he had experienced in their time together much like the letters he received from people who were able to see the beauty coming out of the wreckage of their own tragedies. The song written for these feelings was “Stand By Me”. Alex writes “This project unearths something in the rich dirt of my dreams that loves to write.” However, needing to earn a living made Alex think about the what-ifs and how would he be able to earn a living while continuing to write songs about letters of love. Several coincidences aid Alex in moving past his concern of earning a living and he is motivated and driven to continue writing these songs for the letter writers. Several musicians from his past miraculously appear and are able to assist him. Alex is aware of his slowly diminishing group of songwriter friends as they take on new responsibilities and lifestyles built on family and a new era ahead. So much change in Alex’s life makes him realize that like nature, our lives move through undeniable changes as our soul matures and our experiences offer us opportunities to experience love in its many facets.

After recording the song Bullet, written in response to the letter by Scarlett Lewis for her son Jesse who was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, Alex realizes how much this mother misses the physical side of Jesse but what she really loves about him is something that hasn’t gone anywhere and can’t be taken away. Alex is reminded of his high school physics teacher who talked about the law of energy and how it could never be destroyed only transferred. Alex refers to the whatever there is in an individual that never goes away and realizes it is the Soul.

In response to that thought, Alex has written, “A light rain drifts down from the darkening sky outside as I sink into the couch, all kinds of drained from recording Bullet. A semi-lucid haze somewhere between being awake and asleep settles around me and I look out the window at the trails of water trickling down the glass. My mind starts to wander and I land on the thought that there’s nothing I can do to stop the rain. I can’t hold it back or change it or fix it and if I could I’d be disrupting a cycle that has run for ages, a cycle of dark and light and storm and calm and all that is the very nature of life, the very reason we exist at all. Water changes form but it doesn’t try to change form. It just does. And no matter what form it takes water doesn’t resist its path or what carries it….and I know that I too am water, my blood and bone is water and so I’m also part of the cycle of dark and light and storm and calm.”

Alex shares a coincidence or timely happening which brings a special performer, Jordan Pundik, to his project. It is almost as if he asks for help from above and the means or inspiration are provided so he can go along with the project. Alex goes on to say more about coincidences and refers to our internal radar that is further heightened or activated by difficult like situations and loss. When asked about this inner sense, Alex wrote in regard to Scarlet’s spiritual faith after losing her son Jesse… “I say maybe her internal radar is stronger now for seeing these things, these signs that are all around us but sometimes we don’t recognize until some tragedy hits, the same way Dan sees Frank everywhere around him now and knows that Frank hasn’t really gone anywhere.”

Alex goes on to share the story of Dan and Frank and says after receiving a package with a home video and two letters from Dan who cared for his friend Frank Alex watched one of the videos, realized and wrote; “I stare at the screen I see myself. There I am on a surfboard, there I am smiling in the sun and there I am everywhere in this young man’s energy and being… And there I am moving from feats of strength on a huge ocean to feats of dependence in a wheelchair as my body succumbs to some sort of degenerative disease in the frames of the grainy home video.” The woman who sent the letters had just seen Alex perform For The Sender Project, which are songs written and performed by Alex’s group to honor random acts of love and loss. The song Alex wrote, Breathe The Sky, shows the theme of sunset, twin souls, the carrying by Dan of his dying friend Frank over rocks to a favorite place that he physically is unable to reach now that he is in the last stages of AFl or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Themes of the reliance on faith, longing and struggle are also present. Alex writes, “Dan’s realization that Frank is everywhere and there is no need to be longing for what’s already here. Dan is breathing in all that was his best friend, the mountains, the trees, the sky, all that Frank is and was and will become….” Is expressed in the second letter Dan writes about his friend six months after his passing and after the stages of grief and mourning slow down and a new gratitude for their love is appreciated.

Sheryl offers her thought that in her own spiritual journey she has found that only two things bring about a spiritual awakening or new view of life and who we are as spiritual beings having a physical life: Great Loss or Great Love.

Alex goes on to relate a story of a father, Loren, dying from brain cancer, who in that time is able to see his son, Graham, in a new light…a way that is clearer and more representative of the beauty of his uniqueness. Loren now knows his son, Graham is a very strong free spirit, and writes,” like the hard wood giant trees in California, have extraordinarily deep roots and the strength to grow big and tall. Graham and his talent have the ability to sustain those around them and with each song his son writes, the father learns a little bit more about him and is able to love him more.”

Sheryl relates to Alex that Loren and Graham’s relationship in his book, For the Sender, is what Sheryl is trying to express in her new book “The Living Spirit”. As an energy worker and medium, Sheryl believes the reality or survival of consciousness after physical death, is more real than the fears and transient belief that death is the final state of life. Sheryl shows with messages of love from relatives in Spirit that they continue in life or afterlife and are still connected to us as energy never ends and neither does our highest expression of Spirit, which is love. Love, as many of us have discovered, comes from within and not from outside influences. Sheryl says to Alex, she believes the music and letters he share in his book show how in being, acting, and living, we share Love as a living force or living spirit rather than as merely a feeling in our head. Sheryl once asked an autistic teenager having a Reiki session with her to describe how the energy felt and he responded, “Like a force”.

Alex writes, as Jordon, one of the singers in the group, sings the song “Carry You All Night”… “I close my eyes and see a man carrying another man and there’s strength and power and intention in that act. A feeling can’t lift a person over rocks but two arms can. I hit the stop button and as Jordan takes off the headphones I remember watching my dad walk over to my mom and wrap his two arms around her and that too is love, love in the doing.” Of course love doesn’t only extend to marriage or friends, but to all living things and indeed loving life itself.

It is then that Alex describes the little horse who he brought back from California to Idaho. The horse who bite him the first time he met her at a 4,000 cattle ranch east of San Diego and somehow felt inclined to take the horse to the boarding facility near his home, saddled her up and mounted her and was immediately thrown off. Alex describes the small white horse “as a storm of muscle and bone, a stocky body the color of sand framed by a flowing blond tail and mane.” Annie, the horse, “is the connection to the ancient, my first steps into the world of deeper and more present being, and her quiet demeanor disguises a horse with more power than I know how to harness….” Alberto who works at the barn where Alex boards her says in broken sentence, “She more powerfullest horse anywhere I ever see, even if she not so big. That horse she different.” Alex realizes that this animal has lost trust in being near any human due to physical abuse that is evident in the scars he sees. Like anyone who has been wounded, it takes time, effort, and a great deal of love to repair the damage and Alex is willing to do it.

Alex shares his thoughts on technology and how it has altered the way we relate to each other and how it has affected the musical profession. In reference to that thought, a quote from Alex says, “ I’m staring at my computer screen and just before I start going through the endless “are you sure” steps to delete a social media account, I see a comment from a “friend” I don’t know under someone else’s pedestrian post, that never would be shared if it weren’t so easy to do. “ Technology allows someone to be there without really being there and sometimes that’s a beautiful thing but most of the time it’s a poor substitute for the real thing and I need more of the real thing.” Alex realizes later the truth of his thoughts on the beauty or importance of making music in a personal intimate way when he goes to Los Angeles to see the premiere of a music documentary about a recording studio. Alex gets to see Stevie Nicks a female singer who for him is the most magical mystical beautiful presence that runs through the record Rumours which he suggests might be one of the best albums ever. The movie confirms Alex’s earlier view about not relying on recording and collaborating across telephone wires and Internet connections. That former era or recording was so beautiful and human when people were in the same room together. That’s the way Alex wants to make music with his band.

Alex goes on to write that “Some people run away from the rain on life’s edges to the umbrella of self help books and pharmaceuticals but their real need or search is something much different.” He then tells the story…“I remember walking as a child through the German concentration camp at Dachau on Christmas Day and imaging myself freezing in the dark bunkhouses and being tortured and dying in a pile of other emaciated people and asking my Dad “How could people do this to each other?”” Sheryl believes many sensitive children respond this way and then there are others who become the bullies.

Sheryl and Alex talk for a moment about the building of trust, fairness, kindness, good will, sharing and rethinking competition and the excessive materialist values of the world but knowing this has to be on a much larger scale- teaching and living programs for life, soul, and eternal expansion, not an easy prospect, but necessary at this transformational and critical time in world history.

At Swiftsure Ranch, where Annie, Alex’s horse was boarded, he observed children with disabilities who were about to bond with the horses and discovered that “The people who work with the animals and children with physical ailments discover and are amazed” that the horse who has no voice can perhaps teach something without words..they can teach patience and responsibility kindness and bravery. They can teach goodness of heart and strength of character. We might teach the children to ride but you dear horse teach them how to soar..release, relax and find a higher connection to peace and freedom.”

Sheryl would like to share something Alex wrote which expresses for her the way she believes our world, the Universe, and the cycles of life in its most truthful and profound way, “And I believe in that Native American myth about the Horse and Dog same as I believe in the story of Jesus because the truths those stories represent are so deep, so proven, so true that to believe in the story is to believe in its reality. Our ancestors and those before them told these stories and many others, for a reason. They are true.”

Sheryl and Alex would ask you to search within your heart and being and to respond with love honor and courage to the whispers that make up your own reality allowing you to be at peace with yourself, others and life. Be still and know the beauty of your own being.