About Kathleen Dunbar

Hello. This is Kathleen, and I’d like to tell you a little bit about my artistic interpretation of life as I express it in my music. You may notice that many of my songs are about angels and devils, birth, life, death, about creation and crumbling destruction. These are stories about us as we face the circumstances we humans get ourselves into and the choices that we ultimately make—some of them funky, some of them ending in the dark, others rising into the light of morning. Touching, humorous, spellbinding storytelling—my songwriting brings you into the irony, the tragedy, and the possibilities of life. It’s about people and the life that happens to us. My experiences have lead me to believe that universal truths apply to everyone because emotionally we share the same need to be loved. I feel we are simultaneously angels and devils, alive and dying, creating and destroying. We want to be loved, understood and accepted—and sometimes we go into crazy gyrations and odd pathways in that very human search. The stories in these songs speak to our hidden desires, our shadow side, our untarnishible gold, our poison and our medicine. When we deny our beauty, our joy, our creativity, our rage and sorrow—we become: Consumed. Addicted. Enthralled. Entranced. And then…by the hand of grace and the sweet mystery of our souls we may also Resurrect ourselves, Transform, Love and Blossom again. As far as the angels and the devils, there are different times in our lives when we are both. The wisdom is not to be one or the other. They are just energies we learn (or not!) to use. The wisdom is knowing when to be one or the other. Sometimes you have to stand fast and use the muscles in your arms that are made to hold the boundary. Sometimes you have to take yourself away from the situation as your absence will make the poison stop. And sometimes you have to remember that you are fundamentally and unequivocally loveable, that people do love you, and that you need to love them back. And take them and be taken into their arms. Quite a potent story cocktail, this being human. When we are confronted with authentic prosperity, the thing that we’d like to do but don’t, what we wish for but won’t let ourselves receive, we allow ourselves to be eaten up by the dark of our own shadow, bumbling and unconscious and afraid, lost in the Underworld. I try to hold on I turn around and I find it’s all gone There’s angels and devils won’t leave me alone Makin bets on which road I follow back home And the medicine—to love ourselves, including our shadow, as well as our light.

Take-Anywhere, Awesome Reset Practice

The Body says:
I am a fiesta.  

-Eduardo Galeano 

Here’s an easy practice to press your reset button. It quickly gets your brain and body producing harmony-hormones instead of stress-hormones. 

  • Take-Anywhere, Awesome Reset Practice:
  • Big stretch
  • Yawn
  • Sigh out loud with a sound, Ahhh
  • Follow the warmth, release, flow
  • Three breaths, in nose, out mouth with a sigh.
  • Enjoy the stillness.

Say you’ve been slumped over looking at your computer for several hours. Did you know that the brain reads posture like opening a software program! 

When you are slumped or hunched over, you literally can’t get a full breath: your lungs can’t fully expand because your ribs are contracted. The result is that blood flow—and thus the amount of oxygen delivered to your brain—is noticeably less. Here comes the software program part: 

Because there is less blood delivered to the brain, and thus less oxygen to the brain, the brain reads “less oxygen” as “threat.” The brain doesn’t know you are just sitting too long staring at a screen. Instead, it reads the less oxygen as threat and signals your organs to produce hormones that deal with threat, and you start to feel a vague background sense of unease. 

In order to wash the stress hormones out of your system and bring a brighter view of life back online try the following. You can do this seated at your desk: 

  • Stretch your arms up and arch your back 
  • Yawn—a big one—show your fillings!
  • Make an audible sigh while you sigh, a sound, ahhhhhh. Making this kind of actual sound signals to your nervous system the you are safe.
  • Follow the warmth, flow, release from the stretch and yawn. Savor these feelings, like you’d savor a bit of biscotti dipped in a latte. Sit with the pleasure a few moments.
  • Now slowly breathe in your nose and out your mouth three times with an audible sigh on the out breath.
  • Lengthen yourself by “finding your sits bones”— wiggle your sits bones a few times, then let your spine rise from your pelvis, and sense your head floating naturally on top of your spine. It’s fine to use the back of the chair for light support. Don’t “sit up straight” as that is effortful. Instead find your sits bones and your body will naturally find peace with gravity.  
  • Finally, visualize something beautiful or remember a kind act you witnessed.
  • Then “take the elevator down” into your chest and let the felt sense of this fill you for a moment.

If you’d like some relaxing music, please check out my award-nominated Blue Lilah trance-ambient-worldmusic album Medicine Songs

Send You Love In The Morning

One of the first songs I ever wrote arrived in my heart and mind when I was on a wilderness quest in Death Valley many years ago. It’s called Send You Love. You can find the words below. I send you love this morning! Please remember you are a unique and amazing being. Let’s keep supporting one another during this challenging time.

  • Watch a short snippet of me singing Send You Love in a recent live performance here: WATCH HERE
  • Listen to the complete song on my first album Finally Home on Bandcamp
  • Explore my music website at kathleendunbar.com

 

Send You Love
By Kathleen Dunbar
Copyrighted by Kathleen Dunbar

Send you love in the morning
Send you love when you open your eyes
Send you love in the morning
Send you love when you open your eyes

Send you peace in the evening, my dear
Send you peace when you’re closing your eyes
Send you peace in the evening
Send you peace when you’re closing your eyes

Send you hope in the darkness
Send you hope when you are alone
Send you hope in the darkness
Send you hope to welcome you home

Send you joy in the spirit of love
Send you joy with arms spread out wide
Send you joy for you just as you are
Send you joy from all that’s alive

Send you love in the morning
Send you love when you open your eyes
Send you love in the morning
Send you love when you open your eyes

 

“At the Beach”–A Short, Easy and Refreshing Grounding Exercise You Can Do Anywhere!

At The Beach* 

*A variation is to go into the forest where a river is flowing nearby. 

  • Sit or lie comfortably in a quiet room. 
  • Let yourself softly breathe in and out several times. On the outbreath make a sighing sound. 
  • Now imagine yourself at your favorite beach. It could be a real beach you’ve visited, or an imaginary one. 
  • For this exercise, this is a beach where only you may go, so you have a lot of privacy. 
  • Begin to fill in the details of your experience: Feel the warm sand under your feet, or the cool pebbles if it is a shingle beach. See the immense sweep of the beach. What trees are there? What birds? What color is the water? Smell the salt air. Fill in all the details. 
  • Now especially listen for the pounding as the waves fall upon the beach and feel the reverberation in your bones. Hear the ssssst as the waves withdraw. Be with that rhythm, ever constant and ever varying. 
  • Now, give one layer of anything that you’d like to let go of to the outgoing tide. It could be a tension, an ache, a worry, a tightness. Just one little layer at a time. Don’t worry about trying to give it all away. Just give a little bit to the outgoing tide, knowing that the tide will take care of it. If a thought or worry returns, just give that next layer away also to the tide. Notice your experience as the layer leaves out, out, out to sea. 
  • As you let go of little layers, allow yourself to begin to notice yourself feeling more space for yourself or perhaps it is yummy softening. You might notice you are taking a bigger breath—savor the bigger breath and the spaciousness in your chest. You might notice the pleasant weight of your bones, the warmth of your breath, your feet on the ground. As you feel yourself slowing down and your mind empties, savor the quiet and the slowing pace. Let yourself take time with any relief, peace, spaciousness, weight of your bones, calmness, slowness. 
  • Notice in a playful way who is noticing—this is your True Self, your Home Base You. 
  • Thank the world for it’s beauty, and notice what that thanking brings. 
  • Thank yourself for allowing yourself to be with the beauty, and noticing what that thanking brings.

Take a Free Virtual Tour of 12 Famous Museums from your Couch!

While you are at home during COVID-19, take a tour of a famous museum! Here are 12 famous museums that offer you free virtual tours of fascinating exhibits that you can enjoy from your couch! Follow the link: Take A Virtual Museum Tour

For Dyslexics—You Are Amazing!

By Kathleen Dunbar, CA Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Certified Hakomi Therapist 

You’re dyslexic? Wow! That means you have some amazing gifts! The planet needs your unique brilliance! 

If you’d rather listen to the article than read, there are audio links on every page! Listen or download for free. Find the audio at: Audio on Dyslexia

What you’ll find on these pages: 

These pages and articles are dedicated to understanding: 

  • What dyslexia is and how the dyslexic brain works.
  • Dyslexic strengths explained. 
  • The unique challenges of growing up dyslexic on emotional wellbeing: Key areas of difficulty and suggestions for support. 
  • Resources: Videos of dyslexics speaking about their experiences; books and articles; inspiration and information.
  • The kinds of psychotherapy that are best suited for dyslexics.

For an in-depth look at dyslexia and lots of information on your dyslexic brilliance and challenges, there are FOUR ways to check out this article:
Blog of Article
Explore Webpage Be sure to look at the pull-down menu!
Listen to Article or Download Audio for Free
Downloadable PDF–Go to this LINK and look for the article Dyslexics–You Are Amazing

 

 

Countering the Effects of Social Distancing through Live Video Connections with Friends and Family

Here’s a short video from Stephen Porges, one of the leading specialists on healing trauma through social engagement. It’s so important right now to reach out and both see and hear our friends and family on video and phone because that regulates our nervous systems, restoring resilience, aliveness, compassion and generosity. Texts and emails are helpful, but not enough: We are biologically wired to need to hear, see and feel others as we co-regulate. Though we can’t use touch during this time as we normally would, hearing a loved one’s voice and seeing a friend’s smile go a long way to help us ground and relax. Here’s the link:  Stephen Porges on Co-Regulating and Countering the Effects of Social Distancing 

Coming Home To Your Untarnishable Golden Self

All your choices have brought you to this moment. You did the best you could. Thank the voices that criticize you by telling them “I know you’re only trying to help.” I mean it–really do this–thank them! That’s an audacious and sophisticated act that results in a healing shift in the following way: When you thank your critics, you are actually adding some needed separation between yourself and them and you’re doing something very healing. The self that has the ability to thank your critics is your True Self, so capable and amazing, and untarnishable as gold. Because after all, the critics are the valiant security team you hired as a kid to make sense of a disrupted and hurtful world. They just go into overdrive and that’s the problem. But here’s one way to begin to change the channel. Give it a try, tell them thanks. Feel for the little bit of space and calm that comes. Breathe. Congratulations, you’ve just come back home!

Share Fav Recipes With Friends!

Change up your dinner plans by emailing your favorite recipes with friends! I’m gluten free, but hands down these are the best brownies I’ve ever had, gluten or no gluten. 

Paleo Brownies a la Yum! 

1 cup blanched almond flour  (notalmond meal, must be almond flour)
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp baking soda
4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate (100% cacao) (hard, notmelted)
7 large Medjool dates, pits removed, cut in thirds
3 large eggs
½ cup coconut oil, melted—buy it in a glass jar not plastic, so you can melt it in microwave or set it in a pot and boil the water to melt it
¼ tsp vanilla
1/4 to 1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 to 1/2 cup walnuts (optional) 

  • Heat oven to 350. 
  • Grease a 8”x8” square pan greased lightly with coconut oil You need a food processor to make this recipe. 
  • In a food processor, pulse together almond flour, sea salt and baking soda. 
  • Pulse in squares of dark chocolate until texture is like coarse sand. 
  • Pulse in dates until the texture of coarse sand. 
  • Beats eggs slightly in a bowl first then pulse in. 
  • You can melt the coconut oil directly in the jar in the microwave, melting enough until you can pour ½ cup into the measuring cup—then pulse that in until the mixture is smooth. 
  • Pulse in vanilla and maple syrup. 
  • Transfer mixture to pan. 
  • Mixture will be thick, so spread with a spatula or tip pan so mixture goes into corners. 
  • Regarding walnuts—be careful in the food processor. You only want to mix them in the batter and be careful not to make them small but keep them large. If you buy whole walnuts, do 3-6 one-second pulses to cut them up a bit. If you buy already small pieces, just pulse for 1-3 seconds to mix them in the batter. 
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean andthe brownies shrink a bit from the sides of the pan andthey smell “done.” Your oven may be different than mine. 
  • Cool for a bit, if you have fortitude. When cool enough, turn out of the pan, cut into squares, put them in a container, and refrigerate. If you refrigerate them in the pan they won’t turn out of the pan. I think they taste best chilled. 
  • Yummmmmmmm!

Stop and Smell the Roses


When you literally stop and smell the roses, your heart lifts, and your brain and body give you feel-good signals that help shift the rest of your day. Where are the roses for you? Here’s a photo of my neighbors’ roses taken last spring! Right now as we are inside our homes, it’s so important to take time to stop and hear a bird singing outside, to smell a favorite meal cooking, to savor the first mouthful, to hold a loved one’s hand and look in their eyes, to feel moved by listening to a favorite song. Using the senses of the body–touch, taste, vision, scent, sound–help us ground in the moment. Better yet–go a step further and “take the elevator down” into your chest because when you stay for a moment or two with the appreciation of what you are sensing, your system swaps out stress hormones for feel-good hormones, your nervous system calms, and you ground.

My Song in Top Ten for Last Three Months!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Ten Three Months Running!

My original song “In The Hole” from my most recent album Liars, Cutthroats and Dames is in Ourstage’s Top Ten for the past three months! Check it out here: https://kathleendunbar.bandcamp.com/track/in-the-hole-2

Please check out al of my tunes at:
My Website: https://www.kathleendunbarmusic.com/store
Bandcamp: https://kathleendunbar.bandcamp.com