Maybe I should call this the story page since I’m going to start with my story and how I came to be in this place in time.

Singing, and music have always played a major role in my life. I don’t remember a time without music. The sound of the words and the feeling of the chords and their changes have been the absolute constant that moves my heart. Like a friend who comforts you through every sort of emotion, the song has always been there for me to fill the gap when no one else could – any gap – happy, sad, empty, full – the song centers my feelings and like breathing in a deep breath of pure clean air, touches my heart and says, ” I’m good, it’s ok, feel what you do and just keep going…there’s a beacon of light just ahead so hang on!”

I started writing my own songs in High School and sang them in “hootenanny’s” at the nearby schools. Luckily, I don’t remember too much about those songs. Through college I was in the Philadelphia area and  started playing small clubs as well as the schools. That was an amazing time. My world spun to the music of Joni Mitchell, Buffalo Springfield, James Taylor, etc. My favorite place to listen or play (only on Open Mic days) was The Main Point in Bryn Mawr. What an incredible place! I also worked there so it was easy to hang out with “best of” – Joni, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt…the list went on and on. We would spend hours just listening, hanging out and sometimes jamming (not me cause I really was never that good on guitar and too shy to do harmonies!) but it was wonderful to be a part of all that creativity. I wrote so many songs then…pages and pages. Suffice it to say…lots of angst was released by me at that time. I was not a particularly happy camper.

Then in 1971 everything changed. Just when the dark of night was truly its deepest and emptiest, completely by chance, I started to meditate. I remember signing up for the course, having no pre-conceived ideas of what it would be like. Then, I had that first experience of meditating on my own. It was nothing short of transformational – really! In the first few moments I felt an overwhelming sense of relief and love. Before that day, I had gone through some very lonely, empty times. From that day on, I had an affinity with my place in the universe and I felt love from the inside out. It was a love inside a depth of peaceful silence where the light and love of God swept through me all at once. I remember learning in cathechism classes that we are made in the image and likeness of God and in that moment I absolutely understood that for the first time. I remember afterwards I didn’t want to speak because I felt so peaceful and right in my own space. I didn’t want it to stop! I can never really say how grateful I was for that moment and the dawn of this new day in my life. I knew I could never return to the dark of night as I was now standing in the light at the door.

Now, my writing really began to change. I realized the power of words and thoughts and how they effect everything and everyone around us. In my writing I began to take on a newfound responsibility for what I said. In Jan. of 1973 I went to La Antilla Spain to become a Transcendental Meditation teacher. This was my introduction to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, our teacher. During the course, there was music and it was wonderful. Another eye-opening moment for my writing.

Then in 1974 the most amazing thing of all happened. I was on a course for teachers in Switzerland where we met with Maharishi and listened to many lectures on Vedic knowledge and consciousness- based education.There were also lectures by many scientists speaking  about the effects of tm (Transcendental Meditation) on the physiology. At the end of the 6-week course Maharishi asked if there were any teachers who wanted to stay and work on staff. Uncharacteristically, I stood up and said “Maharishi, I’d like to stay and be a writer”. (I had a job at one point writing copy for a large agency in Chicago and thought I could help with the TM material). He asked my education and I said I had a BA in Literature. At this point I was standing to his side in a hall filled with a few hundred teachers. He looked straight ahead into the crowd in front and was quiet. Then he shook his head and sai , “Yes, a very good writer!” I sat down not quite sure what had just happened. At the end of the meeting someone came up and said Maharishi wants you to stay and work with a gentleman named Vesey, who was doing most of the writing at that time.

Ecstatic, I gave someone my plane ticket home and moved into another hotel where the staff lived. I did some writing in the first few weeks but then one day someone asked me to write a tm radio commercial. I wrote a few simple jingles and sang them into a tape recorder. One day I was in the main hall with a good amount of people and I heard Maharishi ask to hear these jingles. I was panicked and remember hiding my face in my hands with embarassment. First, Rick Stanley, who was the main musician at the time sang a few short songs on the tape and then came my jingles. I sounded like I was about 10 years old, skipping down the street.  ” Transcendental meditation, for yourself and for the nation…”  Maharishi started laughing and laughing. He shook his head and said “Yes, yes, this is what we want…laughing more…then said, ” Who is this?”

My friend Freddie who was in charge of the project said “It’s Renie” and pointed to me…red- faced and trying to slip under the table! Then one of the mega-scientists said “Maharishi, are you sure we want this kind of image?”

Now I was completely mortified but luckily only for a moment as Maharishi laughed again and shook his head and said,  “Yes, yes.”

And that was it! The next day I was scheduled to sit in front of Maharishi and sing the jingles. Wanting to be so much better than I was, I enlisted the aid of a new acquaintance, Donna Lieberman, to sing harmony. It worked great. We sang the next day and continued working together for the next couple of years.

This is when I learned to write the way I do now. We were introduced to Vedic expressions in the Sanskrit language which would come up often in Maharishi’s lectures on total knowledge. These were some of the most beautiful and simple expressions I had ever heard. Donna and I would take notes and then write songs based on what we heard that day. Sometimes we would write with Maharishi on special projects and video tape in front of him and many staff doing their own assignments. Talk about learning to work under the microscope and “not being attached”. For one project we wrote and videoetaped 17 songs in about 2 weeks! I have posted some pictures from that time here, on the photo page, and also have put some in the videos. Maharishi would often pass me in the hallways and laughingly say, “Sing and write, write and sing” At one point when I was standing outside in front of our hotel He looked at me and said, ” make  beautiful albums, but be sure to make people happy…it’s very important to make the people happy!” He also said to sing to these songs to the whole world . All I can say is thank God for Facebook, MySpace and the web!!

So that is my story. I kept singing and writing. I started working with Daniel Sperry, a wonderful cellist, at one of our academies in upstate NY. He played with Donna and me and recorded with us. Later on, Daniel and I married and in 1979 after playing at a large course in Amherst, a great friend, Raja Rogers Badgett, became our champion and sent us to Nashville to finally record the album Maharishi had encouraged me to make! It was called “Home of Being ” and we played it often for all the meditators in Fairfield, Iowa where we had re-located. Then in 1980 we went to a mega-course in India and Daniel brought his cello, along with my guitar. This was the first time Maharishi heard his cello and saw us play together. Another great moment!

We continued playing through the years and the last time I played for Maharishi in person was in India in 1988. I had gone on a course by myself for two months, called the Pioneers Course. This is when I wrote the song, “Light at the Door”. I’ll put the story of the song with all the others on the lyric page but I’ll just say it was one of those moments where all the stars align. I ended up singing with just me and Maharishi sitting on the stage. My friend, Doug Henning, jumped onto the stage to help me as he sat on the floor holding my words. It is still such a wonderful memory of a magnificent day!

I sang quite a bit on the course and it felt like old times, but then I had to get home to Daniel and our daughter, Alison.

When I first recorded in Nashville in 1979, our producer was Daniel’s old bandmate, Mac Gayden. Mac had actually introduced Daniel to TM when he was 19 and played in Mac’s band Skyboat. Mac had played with us over the years and there was no one else whom we would have play guitar but Mac. He is truly gifted and amazing.

After that time I sang mostly in Fairfield as Ali went to the Maharishi School of teh Age of Enlightenment and I worked there doing fund-raising. I always had it in the back of my mind to record again but motherhood came first and that was my joy! I remarried and eventually moved to Florida to be near my Mom, who was now alone. I actually kept writing and singing but it wasn’t a priority. Then in 2005 I started writing again and went to Holland for the Guru Purnima celebration in July with the first two songs Donna, Daniel and I had put together in many years. It was wonderful as they were played and people enjoyed them!

I live very near the ocean now, where many of the songs on this new cd were written. I just kept writing and really wasn’t sure why anymore, other than just for myself! Then when Maharishi left us in February 2008, I knew I had to sing what I was feeling but couldn’t seem to start the song. I wrote bits and pieces in my books but never attempted to put anything together. Finally, it all happened one day and that was it, and the song is called Pita ji which means Father. By chance I shared it with a few friends, including Mac and Diane. Sometime later he asked if I had enough songs for a whole cd because he would like to produce a spiritual album. This was a dream come true for me but how to do it? I don’t play guitar anymore so everything I write is pretty much just a vocal. So, I sent Mac ten songs with just my vocal!!! I arrived in Nashville three days before we were starting in the studio. Mac had been listening to the songs and in those three days, we mapped them out. His brilliance and sensitivity amazes me. He knows the music that moves my heart and the base was created. Next Daniel flew in because there was no way I would do this without him. His cello parts are beyond beautiful. He and Mac are so in sync that they would just create as they were taping. The end of Guru Purnima Moon was just that. I told them to just keep playing and that’s what did – for two full minutes!

Then I flew in Ali for the back-up vocals and with Diane doing all the background work we were a family again in the studio! It was truly a love fest!! Haha!

So, that’s the story and I’m thinking, this is way long and I may change it in a few days. Is it interesting, I’m not really sure, but it is true.

If you got this far…good job…even I have so run out of steam! Last words…I am very grateful for this life and for all that there is to be discovered and I am very grateful to be sharing this time with you!

Good night and Jai Guru Dev