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Confessions Of A Song Portrait Organizer
REVEREND BETH ANDREA MANDELBAUM,
SCOTT KALECHSTEIN GRACE AND THE ETHICS OF CARING
THE NEW SEMINARY, N.Y.C. FEBRUARY 13, 1999

Since 1997 I have been blessed with organizing Song Portrait Circles, "midwived" by Scott Kalechstein Grace, a pioneer in the field of intuitive song. Scott begins by creating an atmosphere of love, total safety and trust: He shares about himself and how he came to do this work, tells us what we will be experiencing in the workshop, mentions the need for confidentiality, talks about his belief in and hope for an experience of transformation and healing for the recipients of these songs, which are composed, intuitively, on the spot. He encourages people to share, as openly as they feel comfortable, the fears, sadness, joys, aspirations, longings, confusions, and the gamut of emotions of their hearts and souls, as the catharsis and healing will be all the more powerful. He gently encourages tears: a box of tissues in always near at hand. Scott is such a genuine, loving, compassionate and humorous presence that participants feel at home and safe.

Scott relaxes the group by opening with a meditation, a song that we can all share together, providing uplift and a feeling of oneness. Participants then get a chance, one by one, to share the aspects of their lives for which they would like healing, guidance, the "taming of the inner critic," empowerment, reassurance and/or celebration. The issues that people bring are very wide in scope, and have included family and relationship issues, physical challenges, grief and loss, career or more general guidance, recovery, abuse, coming to terms with aging, shame about the past, a desire for greater self-acceptance and self-esteem, support in finding or maintaining joy and peace, or simply a desire to celebrate one's life. Participants all come with different needs and with different levels of emotional intensity.

Watching Scott at work has been an extraordinary experience for me. He has a great gift for listening, responding with heartfelt wisdom, compassion, empathy and insight, and has remarkable presence. I feel that he is a spiritual counselor, channeling words and music. He has a special gift for helping participants discover what their needs truly are in a relatively short amount of time.

Before beginning the song, he always asks participants if they feel ready. We are always asked if we would like to lie down to receive our song, and most do. He believes very strongly in the healing power of touch and encourages all the other participants to extend healing through touch, as long as the person receiving the song is completely comfortable with this. Just about everyone really welcomes it.

I have watched Scott as he composes and he appears to have entered into a different state of consciousness, with deep concentration and connection to Spirit; an extraordinary amount of intensity works through him. His feet are tapping strongly, like a soft drumming, and it seems as if someone or something else is causing this to happen. His face has an extraordinary intensity about it, with eyes closed, brows deeply furrowed, revealing his total absorption in the process he is experiencing, guided by Spirit, while composing each song. His songs are extremely powerful and bring forth very compelling imagery. He has an uncanny way of intuiting what will heal, support, cheer on, validate, help transform, and celebrate and honor the person receiving.

I have organized about six of these Song Portrait Circles and attended two others. My experience in receiving the songs is one of transcendence, love, deep emotional catharsis and healing. I recall one experience, when I had been in a deep depression for several months after my surgery. I cried so hard that my body seemed to convulse. But I also truly felt that I was in a place where I was experiencing the deep transformative power of comfort, hope, insight, inspiration, light, oneness with the Divine, and the power of love and understanding. In addition, the hands of healing touch of my fellow participants created a profound experience of oneness, and love from people, some of whom I had never met before. This is part of the miracle. The entire experience truly feels like a transport to "Heaven." It takes a few minutes to "re-enter" the room, but the transition is enhanced by the many hugs received from our companions in healing.

 
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