Flute pipes sounds of therapy

Published on Thu, May 17, 2001 by Brendan Shriane

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Flute pipes sounds of therapy

By Brendan Shriane

As you approach the simple wooden cottage outside Birch Bay, you can hear the melodic emanations from within, the birdlike sounds muffled by the rustic timbers. When the door opens, a small woman with sparkling eyes, infectious enthusiasm and a very big flute stands there.

Lynda MacCaull, educator, healer and writer, has been living in Birch Bay since December 2000. Originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, she lives with her husband of four years, Ken Kirkwood. She’s been playing flute for 20 years and began her business, Essence Flute, in 1982 while she was living in Vancouver.

MacCaull hosts group sound healing circles Wednesday evenings at her home and offers flute lessons for $25 an hour. She also plays flute at weddings and funerals. These performances of musical prayer and meditation, when not donated, run $300 to $500.

Sound healing circles, that cost $10 for people who want to drop in, include therapeutic relaxation through breathing and sound. “‘Ha’ is the sound of release.” MacCaull says “The whole name of the game is to never fill this physical body with too much energy because it will get scrunched and you’ll be an unhappy camper.”

MacCaull took the name Essence Flute from her first experience meditating in a flotation tank when she was in Vancouver. She asked herself, “what is this experience I’m having and what is the name of this music coming through?” She could hear her essence, her heart beating and not much else, MacCaull said. “And that’s where the word ‘essence’ came through. That’s what I do, I play the essence of things”

In addition to Essence Flute, MacCaull plays to individuals once a week and hosts a group healing circle every second Tuesday of the month for the patients at St. Joseph Hospital’s Rehabilitation Medical Center in Bellingham.

Sarah Chapman, recreational therapist for St.Joseph’s, wanted some music for patients in her ward and posted requests for volunteers at the Whatcom Volunteer Center, where MacCaull saw it.

“We feel so delighted she is able to give the gift of time,” Chapman says. “One of the things she does is reach each person individually. It’s very important for someone who has gone through a life-changing experience. She doesn’t just come and perform, she makes an individual connection.”

“She has gotten some very wonderful responses.” Chapman said. “One of our rehab patients in the unit had a couple of sessions with Lynda and started doing some creative writing and now that’s in the Redefining Life Art Show.” The show features art by people with disabling conditions.

Who goes to sound healing? “You’re not coming here to sit with me to be ‘healed’ you’re coming to learn about how to empower yourself through the use of tools called breath, sound and relaxation,” MacCaull said.

For one-on-one clients, “it’s an opportunity to go deeper, it’s an opportuntiy for people to enjoy a sense of privacy they cannot enjoy in group.” These private sessions, may including Reiki, an ancient healing technique from Tibet “where you open channels in your body through pure energy.”

MacCaull is a Reiki master. Her first Reiki assignment was a dying woman in Ferndale, to whom she played flute and sang in order to relax her. She played at the woman’s death, “midwifing telepathically,” and watched her soul go out through her “Crown Chakra” and then played her memorial.

She has recorded a CD of her flute music, “First Breath” and has written a book called, “Begin at the beginning when you’re in the middle of your life,” subtitled “A lighthearted approach to living.”

MacCaull will be playing at the closing of the Redefining Life Art Show 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 19 at St. Joseph Hospital’s South Campus, 809 E. Chestnut St.

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