Laura Thompson Brady, who lives in Hallowell, Maine, has been singing since she could speak. From an early age, she felt called to work with music and with her voice in a sacred way. That pull probably began to take root when she was eight years old and her father Stephen was diagnosed with Stage IV Lymphoma.
He ended up turning to his guitar and writing a lot of songs on his healing journey. I would sing with him a lot and so from a very early age, I had this connection to music as healing.Laura Thompson Brady
In her teens and early twenties, Laura explored being a performer and even attended an opera conservatory for a year.
I quickly knew it was not the one and only thing I wanted to do with my life, and ended up getting my bachelor’s in literature.
She went on to get her Master’s and Ph.D. in Human Development & Family Studies. She also did some holistic health coach training and “Simplicity Parenting” training and began working with mothers through pregnancy, postpartum, and in the early years with their children.
In a nutshell, I was sitting with people and really listening to what it was they wanted, helping them reconnect to their core values, and what they wanted to nurture in themselves, their families, and in the world. I helped them come up with a simple and straightforward way of focusing on those things and letting go of the rest.
As she helped others reconnect to what mattered most to them, Laura became disconnected from what had always played a prominent role in her life. Her music.
And then in 2016, she discovered crystal bowls, which are instruments used for sound healing. To play a bowl, you gently strike it or rub the rim with a mallet. The friction of doing either creates vibrations, which create sound. Here’s what happened to Laura, the first time she played one.
I had this very powerful experience. It was this kind of radiant feeling that washed over me from head to toe, and tears came to my eyes. And when I played that bowl, I recognized almost immediately this little tune called I am Home that I had sung to myself for years to feel more at home within myself.
She went home and played the bowl and sang her song to her family. She had finally discovered what her voice was meant to do.
I had never really felt like I knew exactly where my voice fit, and there was this feeling immediately of I know how to sing with this and and a longing to do so. I think that was a part of what the tears were for me because the singer in me had been dormant for quite a while.
Laura started playing several bowls and singing along with them. She experimented on her clients and also dove deep into her own personal practice. After a few years, she had created a body of work that she calls Journey Home to You. She now offers “private virtual sound healing sessions, meditations, movement practices, event performances, and in-person retreats for self-discovery and collective care.”
A few weeks ago, Laura and her family, including her parents, were staying at a cottage next door to us on Cobbossee Lake in Manchester, Maine. I awoke one morning to a sound so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. It didn’t awaken a dormant singer but it certainly awakened something in me. I peeked out the window and saw Laura sitting cross-legged on the end of her dock, playing two crystal bowls and singing for her mother, who was reclining in a chaise lounge.
I didn’t just hear the sounds she was making with her bowls and her voice, I felt them. When I talked with her later she agreed that you can’t help but feel the sounds. Altogether it is a powerful experience that brings you right into the present moment.
Typically, when Laura does a sound healing, she will ask the person what their intentions are or what they would like to receive from the session. Sometimes, she will simply start with I am Home and see where she is led.
Most of the work is really just being present to the moment and connecting with the energy of the people and the energy that’s being brought into the moment. And if we’re out in nature, it’s quite literally working with the elements. Here at the lake, I could hear the water under the dock and I could hear the birds singing. So, there was this experience of listening and responding. It’s an immersive experience for me.
Over time, Laura says she feels as if she has built a relationship with her bowls. She has seven that she arranges in a semi-circle around her. She may also play a few other bowls, as well as a drum and some rattles.
When she did the sound healing for her mother, she played two bowls — the root chakra bowl, which is about being present, being rooted, and being grounded and the solar plexus bowl, which connects to your power center.
The year before she discovered crystal bowls, Laura said she had a vision of herself singing and playing white bowls, although she didn’t know what they were yet. What she did know in her bones though was that she was being “called to hold healing space through sound and song.”
She found the bowls she’d seen in her vision and she also found a part of her that had been missing. She began singing and playing the bowls for her “own healing” and reclaimed who she is as “a sacred singer and space holder.”
Here is a short audio clip of Laura playing her crystal bowls and singing I am Home. For more information, visit her website Journey Home to You.