New Music Release: Learn to Swim

LISTEN TO “Learn to Swim” by Maya Elena

Artist Statement: 

Inner-child work at play. Observe a scar's perfect imperfection, beauty that comes from pain, rebirth that comes from cellular death.

The first wound is the last wound to heal. I know myself through healing. I was just tryin' to make a cool piece of art but it added up to living the song I wrote. Or is the song I wrote just me living?

My dear friend Jody Tschida of Anna Maria Island Henna is the amazing artist that graced my flesh with her vision - we worked with the scar, framed it, and decorated it.

Nina Louisa (yes Courtney Yasmineh's daughter!!) captured these pictures at Minnehaha Falls. I loved working with a team of women to create this piece of storytelling + art + song!



Story Time:

I visited Jody in her home, she showed me her new singing bowls (she even put one on my head!! haha!! 🤣) and we talked about inherited perspectives, beliefs, and trauma, my favorite topic of conversation lately.

We marveled in delight of sychronicities, knowing we were about to set something free...

After Jody's session, I headed to Brave New Media for a scheduled session to record "Learn to Swim" with John Baillie - I looked down admiringly at the wrapped up henna & realized the medical  adhesive bandage we used to keep it dry was the same material that wrapped up my scar 20 years ago...

I cried so deeply that I had to pull over to the shoulder.

Of course 20 years had healed a surgical wound into a scar, but synchronicity was communicating that emotional healing was needed. This feeling of sadness, of remembering who I am, of grief for the pain that caused more pain, was ready to be moved through.

I chose to channel it into recording the song. No matter what, I've always been able to write a song. AT LEAST, I have that. At least it will never hurt me, at least it can lead to harmony & unison with others singing along, and if I embrace this I can learn how to navigate the rest. 

John was so very compassionate to listen to me put the pieces together hehe - Thank you for all the space you hold, dear friend! Your work & professionalism are phenomenal!

I humbly removed the bandage over my scar when I got home like a rebirthing ceremony. This time, instead of a bloody wound, I revealed a beautiful  piece of art surrounding a healed scar.


A vision of being 6 flooded in - my dad carried me down the stairs (I was still a wheelchair) and asked me if I wanted to take off the bandage myself. I said yes, and removed it (I can still see the dried blood thru the gauze held by the clear adhesive).

Over time I relearned how to walk again, went through physical therapy, but mobility was still tough & painful. I gained weight, was bullied for it, which made me depressed, which led to me acting out & getting in a lot of trouble. I used to need to sit down and take breaks on walks. 

A few years ago I consciously started the quest of healing holistically - physical, emotional, mental, creative, and spiritual - this is the last wound. The first wound is the last wound to heal. I had to work backwards from the most recent, to the original one. Somewhat linear healing.

"To express thyself is to know thyself"
I know myself through healing. My expression is about healing, and I hope you find something about it healing as well - this is the intention I've unintentionally set in my process. Awareness...

I see now that this is when I lost my motivation to PLAY, what kept me from playing with others, what leads me to feel very isolated and lonely in my musical path sometimes (It's getting way way way better though!!)

Songwriting began as process to work thru my unresolved emotions, pain, sadness, etc through music, my first healing tool. Transmutation. Alchemy. Creation. New Life. Rebirth.

I am so grateful for the goddesses of music who have visited me throughout my life during the darkest moments. Who've held me in song as I held my guitar, steady with my pen, rewriting the hurt into healing, darkness into light, sadness into joy, hopelessness into meaning.

"Do you remember? Do you remember the first time the lyrics and music came together? Do you remember the first time someone understood what you meant thru song? Do you remember the first time thousands of voices sang together in unity? Do you remember why we do this?" - recent journal entry of mine. 

I remember now. I remember why. I'll always remember why.