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Tribute to Stef DelPrete

Tonight my heart is heavy, I am bereft. My client and former student just passed away from cancer. This was her fourth bout in her short, 33 years of life. This time she didn’t win, she surrendered.

Her third bout, she fought so hard, and was cancer free for a couple of years, and I watched her soar! She got back to marathon running, attended healing school, and raised her young children. And when the family relocated to New Zealand, although she didn’t really want to go, being who she was; she made the best of it. At first she felt lost, as is often the case when one relocates so far away. I encouraged her to keep using her arts to connect to herself. She took that tenacious NY-American-go-for-it- attitude, and she rocked it!  She wrote and published heartfelt articles about her journey in life. She studied to become a massage therapist and yoga teacher. She became a sought after voice-over artist, and actress. A year and a half ago, she was sending stills from a major movie that she had a featured role in.

But today her bright light, like a shooting star that shined for a time in our sky-- is gone.  My heart goes out to her children. Looking back on these last months, although she was in horrendous pain, her spirit was so strong that any bit of energy she had- even after the last series of chemo/radiation, and even the amputation of her leg, she would keep creating and being there for her kids. Her friend would help her make videos of her reading them their favorite stories, because she was so concerned with how they would feel losing her. She made a journal for her husband, and skyped with family regularly. Last month, when she became paralyzed, being the eternally positive person that she was, she said “Joy, who knew what a blessing paralysis is?  I’m not in that horrific pain anymore.”  Today one of my greatest teachers passed from this world to the next. As a tribute to her, I am going to do my best to see each situation that I experience as a positive one. I’ll keep striving to go beyond my own set limitations to really love and cherish those that are in my life, while continuing to live my own dreams. And I’ll remember that “health is wealth”, and not take it for granted!  But for tonight, the sky seems just a little bit darker, without her lighting it up...

Here is another tribute to Stef:
Read Stef's iconic blog: "Dear Cancer Patient"























*This stream of consciousness writing was the inspiration for my song "God in your Eyes". I took excerpts from it to recite above the chanting in the recording studio.  A funny memory was when we performed it live at the release of "Rebellious Dreamer."  Obvlously I couldn't chant and recite, so I would have fellow singer, Mary Page recite the words as I sang. I remember a couple of moments when I turned to connect with her as she did, and the deep blush in her cheeks!  I realized that it was bit of torture for her, but I had her recite it anyway...we still laugh to this day about that! 




Don't speak,

What good are words when we have this sensate experience

of being in one another's arms?

What words could match feeling the beat of your heart against my lips,

fresh from kissing you?

What manner of language could surpass the chill that passed through me

as the back of your hand slowly caressed the side of my face;

As we breathe together…


Any word could puncture the poignancy;

The perfect satiety I feel whilst in your arms.

Embrace me tomorrow, today sweet thirst is quenched as I sip our beingness

often and long… Are the days I yearned for such an experience of wholeness.

I have missed God, but not here now in your arms, a most perfect angel does hold me.


What words can describe spiritual ecstasy,

or the divine that I see in you? 

Not a sound, or anything other then the unintentional gasp

that escapes the throat of a lover

filled up with other, is most intolerable now.


The night is a savage country that I have traveled alone,

This solitary ended remembering your soul and mine.

I knew the day I had come home to my heart and eternal sunrise

as a thousand moons past are my fears, my scars kissed away by your kindness;

by the honey of your skin melting into mine.

Like a delicious banquet of flesh, held in God's embrace.


Quenched is the fire so long you captured the smoke,

stoked rebellion and tear, kept the promise of soul treaty. 

I do feel you beyond words, my precious dawn.

I seek to drink of your horizon and taste your faith-filled, silken sky.

Let me hold you now, and all eternity shall weep

as we burn in the ecstatic flames of oneness.

Tranquil and most holy is this love, when shall I remember language?

Never as long as new lovers rule the night, turning all darkness to day,

with each kiss a new spring is born.


I am awakened, for centuries have I slept in cold abandon

thirsty for the light to feed a tired soul,

Earth bound sinner.  This saint believed in truth as did I.

Keep now the source of all mentality, of all irrelevant intellect.

Just hold me, and teach me to feel again… my most beloved consort… I am home.


-c Joy Adler

Guest Singer Mary Page, flew into NY from California to gift us with her voice yet again at our CD Release on the

Spring Equinox 2015.


We have been

singing, recording and

touring together since


Autumnal Equinox, September 23rd


I work with a lot of artists as a counselor. Many experience profound conflict in terms of the impact 'following the muse' has on their families. I know this conflict so well, and have been on all sides of the internal and external struggle, until I surrendered to the longing completely, and to others' will completely. To those that are challenged I say this: Music and the Arts is a sacred calling, not unlike the Priesthood, being a nun, or monk...or person in the helping professions. It is a challenge for non-musicians/artists to understand the call of one's music and art...the primal desire to create. It is the primary supersedes all. It is the first love, the lasting love...the eternal beloved. We are married to our art first and foremost, and if all goes well, those that we meet accept and support that. For the people in a musician's/artist's life will always be second. That is the way of it. Therefore it takes a special person to understand this- which means they have a sacred call too! For it takes a strong person, content in themselves to accept and honor this, to support the call in their partner to follow their art, their music, the muse; even if it takes them away...It takes an extraordinary person to encourage it even.


This is why it is at times easier for artists to unite with fellow musicians and other artists...or partner with their biggest fan! For the place where the performer and the audience meet is on the bridge of the heart. Of course Duke Ellington said it better than I ever could:

"Lovers have come and gone, but only my mistress stays. She is beautiful and gentle. She has grace. To hear her speak, you can't believe your ears. She is ten thousand years old. She is as modern as tomorrow, a brand new woman every day. Music is my mistress, and she plays second fiddle to no one."




Below is an excerpt from my upcoming book. This story describes how I learned the importance and need of grounding through ancestry, which was taught in a very different way than most schools or seminar leaders teach. Enjoy!


East Meets West©
















by Joy Adler


He sat before us on that sticky day in NYC, like an ancient mountain. His rhythm slow and methodical, so rooted into the earth was he, this Native American legend, that he seemed as foreign to this coast, as we did beside him. Two rhythms out of sync. Two songs blaring, neither fully heard, and therefore lost on the wind over Manhattan.
I was part of a new pilot program in NYC for sound healers. They had arranged for us to learn from the greatest masters, pioneers, authors and educators of sound and music therapies. Each teacher would offer us a new skill set, that would assist us in deepening our effectiveness with our client's, who were trauma survivors. We would be spending one weekend a month for a year with cutting-edge leaders in the field.
Six months into the program, it was as if he brought the Arizona desert heat with him, on that uncharacteristically hot October weekend. We had the honor of sitting with Carlos Nakai, the world famous flute player, known the world over for his peaceful, new age melodies. His very presence offered respite from our habitual urges, an invitation to stop the go, to listen, and learn. Perhaps it was from having spent years with various tribes and medicine people for my trainings, that I knew well their way.  As a result, I had a clear advantage in this room as to understanding Carlos's teaching style. I knew that the knowledge we came to receive would be shared after we sat, conversed, laughed, and became one tribe. It could take a day, a week or a year, but it was considered rude to push for something from a culture of people that are more connected to a slower way of life, and to not trust that it unfolds in its own time.
But this was a group of New Yorkers!  A roomful of people who want it now, who bought it yesterday, for tomorrow. Their frustration mounted immediately at his insistence to go around the room and have every attendee name each country that both their maternal and paternal ancestors came from. This experiential seemed to put some of them right over the edge, past any social propriety.
Many of the thirty therapists, considered to be experts in their field, pressed this kind, indigenous giant of a man, until he was as stoic as his ancestors, and it was as if history was repeating itself right before my eyes. The White Man pushing for something they want, and then fighting to take it, and a modern day Indian, holding fast, solid, to wisdom held. The solution was patience for understanding to develop, not a New Yorker's strong suit, and so the battle waged that long, humid day in the city. I could feel that this was gearing up to be an interesting "East meets West" kind of situation.
At the three and half hour mark, as Carlos patiently listened and nodded to each person who shared, one woman interrupted, "This is a waste of time, when are you going to teach us some Native American Chants?"
 "Yeah, according to the syllabus, you're supposed to teach us songs. This is bullshit", barked a clearly agitated man.
"Let me see that syllabus", said Carlos. The director handed him the form somewhat reluctantly, Carlos reviewed it carefully, and then threw it to the ground.
"I didn't write this, it is someone else's words. Why would I teach you my people's songs? They have no power for you. I am a Cultural Anthropologist, and a musician, I am here to help you honor your ancestors, and their land, because that is where your songs and power for healing come from. You will not find them outside of yourselves or from me, you will find them in your bones. It would disempower you- to teach you my songs. Whoever rewrote my curriculum, dishonored you and me".
With that declaration, there was a mass exodus, as many people filed out of the seminar in disgust. The director tried to "save face" by shouting over the angry horde, "Okay, thanks, and remember, we have a long day tomorrow, we'll see you at nine am sharp!" 
The next morning, ten of us returned. Carlos said, "Good, the people that I am meant to teach, are back. Now let's say a prayer to your ancestors for your medicine song."

Mother's Day


"Travel as much as you can, as far as you can, as long as you can. Life's not meant to be lived in one place."















This week I felt grateful to travel and live in different places! I get to experience Three Springs and Three Autumns. Two weeks ago it was a beautiful spring in NYC that I viewed from hospital rooms. But my daughter and I would look out at sunset, across the Hudson, and we were thankful. Last week the trees were all abloom in Albany, and when I'd visit, or leave the second hospital she was in, I'd make it a point to drive through Washington Park, (which is a mini replica of Central Park, and made by the same architect.) I'd gaze in wonder at the new blossoms enchanting those in their midst, happy that upstate NY is a full two weeks behind NYC!

During the week, and after her release, I drove to my camp on the lake up north to clear my head and walk amongst the trees. I was enraptured by the silence, save for the birdsong. It felt so good to feel my feet on the earth, and catch my breath before returning to NYC, where the blossoms have transformed into leaves. In the Adirondacks, the trees were still bare, but there was a whisper on the wind that promised more to come.


So I love this saying above, and the opportunities travel creates.  I am grateful for any opportunity or window on the world to witness the trees awakened from their silent, winter slumber. Through this recent experience, both my daughter and I felt so much compassion for those that can't get out, or whose worlds are viewed from their hospital rooms or nursing homes. It is good to learn to see life through a different lens.

Today I celebrate all Mothers who walk this walk with their kids, our greatest teachers. And I celebrate my daughter who continues to help me become a better person by showing me the views from her world. I honor my own Mother, who was more of a homebody. From her I felt the safety of the nest, and free to imagine flying beyond it. I see now how she would challenge herself, to join me as I moved all around. Yet I smile, remembering her enjoying many springs in so doing too...




Syncronicity in the City 


I always tell my daughter that when you are in the arts, put yourself in NYC if it feels right. The rock beneath Manhattan is rich with quartz crystal which is a great magnifier...this means that you will draw to ...yourself, (if you keep your vibe high,) the right people, at the right time, because you'll be in the right place where folks in your field gather. So my daughter was torn upon graduating from College in theater and performance, because her soul called her to want to make a difference in other ways too, as she is very spiritual.

She decided to take a job fundraising to help starving children in Third world countries get water, food, schools and supplies. She is out on the streets of NY canvassing for them sometimes 10 hours a day on her feet, because she felt so strongly about being part of the solution on earth, instead of obsessing about her career or auditions. So picture a French Director frantic in his search to find just the right actress for his plays about Sainte Therese. He stops on the city streets to pray to this Saint to find her -as time is running out. As he looks up from his prayer, my daughter is smiling at him, and tells him her name, and asks if would have time to hear about how he can make a difference in the lives of needy children. He said later that behind her was a beautiful church...and he knew then, his prayer had been answered at once.

When she met with the crew and director to discuss this part, more coincidences unfolded. The director had studied circus and aerial arts like Alena, they discovered they both felt that they had been on the titanic, and had a shared a lifelong obsession with it. They realized how important bringing spiritual themes into what they create is. And so it goes my friends. When we are aligned with doing what feels right to us, everything flows to us that is meant to be, the people, the path. "Doors will be opened".

Father's Day

Honour Thy Father and Thy Mother

By Joy Adler







 I love this photo! On the left is my Grandmother from the

Madeira Islands, Portugal. My Mother looking adoringly at my Father, as  always. She was his best audience with her hearty laugh. It looks like they're both amused, probably from one of his witty quips... I never met my Grandmother, as she died when my mother was pregnant with me. But I am named after her, and I often feel her presence guiding me...Here is a memory celebrating my parents connection.   



I’d hear his cheery whistle down the block, heart racing, I’d crash through that door running up to my Father, hugging him. He’d playfully pat my head and then hand me his lunch box, which I treated- like it was the Holy Grail. Then I’d joyfully skip along beside him, into the kitchen where Mom was preparing dinner and I’d dutifully remove its tattered remnants, as he kissed my Mother, three times. That was their distinctive smooch, “I-Love-You.” Its sound became an anthem of affection they created to note their eternal bond.


Although my Mother was the singer, my Father was the entertainer. He was the charismatic with the gift of gab and trademark Irish wit, and they were both mesmerizing dancers, which is how they met.  As we labored in the kitchen, my Dad would put his favorite

Nat King Cole record on the stereo.  He'd then reach his hand out to my mother, beckoning her from the parlor, as he would

refer to it, to join him for a dance.  Calling out from the kitchen, at first she would mildly resist, "Don, I'm stirring the gravy"...But his charm would overcome her momentary reluctance, and the instant he'd notice her drop the wooden spoon and relent by walking toward him in protest, he'd take her hand, and give her a twirl.  She would laugh heartily, and give over.                                                

In the midst of busy family life, responsibilities and chores, they would dance. Mom in her apron, Dad covered in dust from the construction job du jour, they’d cavort. As the song progressed and neared the end, with impeccable timing, he'd

expertly "dip her", and pulling her up thereafter, in the last moments, he'd hold her close and look into her eyes and sing the final lyric; " That's why Darling it's incredible, that someone so unforgettable thinks that I am unforgettable

too..." In the middle of his sung phrase, her voice would lift to join his in harmony and then he'd dip her dramatically one last time. They'd laugh together, and then quickly return to their respective posts, Mom in the kitchen, and Dad to wash up and then tinker in the garage.


The irony of the many times I sang his favorite songs with orchestras and show bands beginning in Atlantic City, and then all over the world, yet he did not live long enough to know this; stings. In fact, he barely heard me sing at all.  As a world traveler, and former Navy man, I know he would have appreciated where the music brought me.  Instead, I'd sing for others, and look out across the elegant ballrooms as people drew their beloved's close, inspired by the sentiment of the tune. Closing my eyes, I'd feel the song flow through me and I'd send it to my father's spirit, and for my parent’s love. Then I'd take solace in the memory of them dancing and celebrating their enduring connection during the most routine moments of life.


I’d remember the one time he did hear me sing his favorite song. I was a young girl called to his bedside to say goodbye. He was in a coma between life and death, weary from his battle with bone cancer. I felt quite powerless and didn’t know what to do, so I began singing to him. Suddenly, tears were streaming down his face, and I was astounded. How could that happen?  Somehow the

music touched him, even as far away as he seemed to be. It was bittersweet to note that suddenly he was a captive audience. The bridge from the mists betwixt worlds was my voice. Those tears were the solace my heart needed and hopefully the melody created a passage for him to peacefully pass from this world to the next, on the wings of a song that he loved so much.


My mother was a widow at 46 and never dated again. She said my father was her one true love and husband, and until her death she'd remain true to her vows and he. In truth, remembering how they were together, how could here be an encore to that kind of love?                                                     



Last year I celebrated 30 years as a professional singer/songwriter and artist. I brought one aspect of my long journey to a close, and as I did- another one opened immediately. I would like to share with you some of what I learned on this path.


1.You are an artist. We are all artists. Our life is the empty canvas on which we create/paint. Every day is a new stroke, a new chance to create beauty.


2. Do not stop! Do not ever stop striving toward your goals, your dreams.


3. You can create at any age, DO NOT buy into ageism. Look at Paul McCartney, listen to his still beautiful voice. Remember people like Katharine Hepburn, Robert DeNiro, Kathleen Turner, better with age and experience. They never stopped/stop.


4. Do not internalize rejection, the arts are full of it, life is full of it. Remember all art is subjective. If they say you don't have the right sound, don't use the right colors, blah blah. They simply are saying it's not part of the vision they have for THEIR project. What this means to you, is it is NOT for you. Turn in the direction of the next opportunity on your path. Revisit step 2 above.


5. There is absolutely NO competition. It is an illusion that there is. There is no one like you. There never has been, and there never will be. So all that you are, all that you have ever been from across time. GET BIG NOW!


6. From this place you will attract the right job or project that is meant for you, the right people will be able to see you because you stopped being invisible, and making excuses, and wasting precious years worrying about not being good enough.


7. Remember that all addiction is a distraction from your art, from giving yourself what you truly long for. The pain of your longing will not go away, you will only depress it, until you give yourself what you long for. One can waste many valuable earth years on this one! When you do surrender to giving yourself what you long for, you'll learn .....


8. All fulfillment is self-fulfillment. Family can fill a need for support, friends, a spouse or partner can fulfill needs for companionship occasionally..but true self-fulfillment comes from doing what you love to do...


9. You'll know what that is because while you are engaged in what you love to do, hours will fall away without your notice, and you will be happy as a child playing freely yet again.


10. Be a Spiritual Warrior. Bravely face the fears within to give yourself what you long for. Challenge them, whatever they may be. Risk feeling these fears, these self-created obstacles to create. In so doing you will have found your internal Holy Grail...and you will nourish your soul and quench this ancient thirst, and make this world a better place with the gifts from your creations.


11. That is what you were born to do. It is your destiny, your legacy. Live it now! Much love, Joy


On Friday I was leaving my office at about 5:15pm. I was heading to one of our LMT's graduation ceremonies which was at 6. I received a touching voice message that had been from earlier in the day from one of them, requesting that I sing at their graduation. As if telepathic, the student, Molly, went on in the message to state "Now we realize this is last minute, and you may need to sing acapella, because you probably don't have an instrument with you or someone to accompany you since we're asking at the last minute". I laughed to myself, because as I listened, that's exactly what I was thinking...When I arrived, I sat in my car for a moment, because my mind had gone blank after I heard the message. I took some deep breaths, and I prayed, "If it is meant to be that I sing for them, please tell me what to sing".

Instantly I heard the melody of a song that I had written many years before, the lyrics seemed very appropriate for this incredible group of people. I reflected that it's in those moments of "not knowing", that I remember how guided we are. We are never alone. We just have to stop, and connect. Not an easy task in a busy world, or life. And so I sang for them acapella, even though I was clearly "flying by the seat of my pants." As I sang, I opened my heart. As I did, I felt the love and appreciation of them, and my heart soared. As an artist, I don't care about "performing" fact, if that is what I'm asked to do, I am simply uninterested. The most crucial thing is to have what we do, what we create- have meaning. That is all, that is enough. To know that what we create can move someone, to me that is the purpose of sharing what I live, and create from the experience of that living. In those moments I get to feel that my life's experience is a shared one. To have it help or have meaning for someone else, that is everything. Here is the song I sang, 'The Crysalis'. My friend Eileen O'Brien plays the piano so exquisitely, and my homie Mary Page sings with me.


July 23
Last night I walked down to the Hudson River in NY to watch the sunset, and give gratitude for the day. I was moved that in a city of 8 million -about 200 other people stopped to do the same thing. Quietly taking in the beauty as the sun surrendered to the horizon at days end. I love sharing the simple pleasures of life with humanity all around..and feeling the oneness in that...It's the same sensation that I attempt to create with sound and music in my concerts. I try and sing from my heart, to surrender to the love that I feel for the people in attendance -singing along. I offer up my songs at the altar of their hearts, and in those moments there is no separation... "We're all in this together, we're all here as one..."


July 16
"Sound or vibration is the most powerful force in the universe. Music is a divine art, to be used not only for pleasure but as a path to God-realization. Vibrations resulting from devotional singing lead to attunement with the Cosmic Vibration or the Word."


~ Paramahansa Yogananda



This is what I attempted to convey on Friday evening with Music for evening's end we were Stoned righteous! Imagine how we could heal addictions to drugs, alcohol, etc.. if we remembered how to open to the higher frequencies through meditation and sound, chanting, kirtan, and our open hearts. Just sayin..


June 2
With my mascot Fuzzy in his "tricked out Toto basket!" Whether I'm in NYC or upstate, I am always riding my bike along the Hudson River, this is where I clear my head, recharge, and songs find me. This is when the music comes to me. Artists need a lot of time and space in nature for the muse to visit. Yesterday I finished my "magnum opus" tune. Nearly 2 years in the making. I was in resistance to finishing it, because the instrumentation I was hearing in my head made me realize this one is going to be expensive and complicated to compose and produce! But much like my epic song "Prayer", which I took 8 years to finish, I trust in my tenacious nature; that this one too will be birthed in a way that will honor the inspiration and guidance I received to write it...


May 29
Thinking of my Father on Memorial Day, one so wounded by war. He lied about his age to fight in World War II, and it was as if everyday thereafter was a war for him. I am so grateful for his influence in my life. When he was in a coma, and near death, tired from fighting his battle with bone cancer; I felt quite powerless and didn't know what to do. So I began singing to him. Suddenly, tears were... streaming down his face. Somehow the music touched him...even as far away as he seemed to be. As he left this life, he gave me a great gift, a deep desire to understand the healing power of music and it's impact on the soul. For me, it's all about "music for healing", music is sound, frequency, energy and color. It is the integration of my soul's work. 
When I am onstage, I use all the healing skills I've learned to open myself as a channel for the divine, to risk opening my heart fully. Similar to working in a private session with a client. The only difference is, there is a room full of many people, and I set my intention for the energy that passes through me and my voice to touch them in the way that they need, are open to, have longed for, and ultimately, for their greatest healing potential.


April 29
I'm looking forward to having dinner in the West Village tonight with a friend that I met at a yoga retreat last year. She is a star on Broadway, currently in "Wicked." What I want to share about her is how inspiring she is. Her enthusiam for life & for her art is contagious! She always knew what she wanted to do, to be, and she never stopped pursuing her artistic dreams! As a result she has been a lead in "Cats", "Mama Mia", and now "Wicked" -for the past 3 years. She owns an apartment in Manhattan. The moral of this story my friends, is never, ever give up on your dreams. If you have the talent, and you have the vision...keep at it, be a Spiritual Warrior for your own creative cause, so that you may share your light, your gifts for the upliftment of others. It is your destiny....the world needs your shine now more than ever. Be fearless and relentless. As my teacher Barbara Brennan always says: "if you follow your longing, it will lead you to your greatest fulfillment". And as luck would have it, in so doing- you make this world a better place! And artists CAN make a living with their talent...


April 28
The sun is shining on my walk to my office in NYC. I always leave early so I can linger in front of The Chelsea Hotel and read the plaques of all the great musicians that lived there. When I cross the street and gaze at the miraculous Flatiron building, I feel happy, blessed and ready for the day! Grateful to have work that I love with people I respect and admire....



April 24
The year began by being asked to sing "Dreamers of our Future" in the Temple of the Earth in Damanhur, Italy at the new year, and my birthday. What an immense honor. What an experience singing with such amazing musicians! What a blessing. I met a wonderful woman who also sang and chanted like me, from Russia..we sang individually and then together. To harmonize, without knowing each others language, in such special places, was beyond a dream come true...I feel so much better about the direction our world is heading in knowing people like that exist to help the planet. A great way to end the year, and begin the next!  Thanks for your support. This past Saturday to be in the company of so many other artists at the 2012 Spring Kirtan Sacred Music Festival, and now being asked to sing for Sai Maa, makes me feel like we can make a difference in the world, one healing song at a time...

“The Difference between a flash-in-the-pan musician and one who transcends time is an artist’s willingness to bare the soul. Joy Adler’s own voice is no less passionate.”
-Martha Petteys -Reporter, The Troy Record

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