Finding Your Voice with Judith Lerner

What's your heart's desire? That question is one Judith pondered all through her life. But when she encountered the handpan, the answer was clear. Listen to Judith share about the "instrument and the community and the places you'll go and the people you'll meet and the thing you'll do" in this episode.

Picture from Judith's dream:

Hang Meets Steelpan Video:

Podcast Transcription

Sylvain: Hey, it's Sylvain and this is the handpan podcast. This episode of the handpan podcast is a heartfelt conversation with my friend Judith Lerner. Judith walks us through her before and after story, which helps understand the profound impact the handpan has had in her life. She also talks about how it feels to be a woman playing the handpan in this community and she shares refreshing ideas and creative projects around the Hampton. So let's jump right in to my conversation with Judith Lerner.

Sylvain: Well Judith, thank you for being on the podcast. How are you?

Judith: I'm doing all right. How about yourself?

Sylvain: I'm great. Thanks for asking and first off, I want to congratulate you on the birth of your new grandchild. It's very exciting.

Judith: Thank you.

Sylvain: Yeah. What's his or her name?

Judith: His name is Ryan.

Sylvain: Wow.

Judith: He's cute and sweet. And adjusting very well his first week.

Sylvain: Well, welcome to the world. Ryan, can you imagine being born in a world where handpan already exist?

Judith: Oh, and he's been played to already.

Sylvain: Oh Wow. Okay.

Judith: In utero.

Sylvain: That's awesome. Well congrats. So Judith, I knew from previous conversations with you that the handpan has had a profound impact in your life. Could you please describe that before and after story? What was that like for you?

Judith: Well, let's see. So before it's very definitely a delineating event. Discovering the handpan. Definitely a delineating event. Um, so when I first discovered it was, that was a year and a half post a cancer adventure and I was on a mission to follow my yes. And I was looking for one thing online and tripped over a youtube video of a handpan instead. And in a manner of speaking it was like, well that's all they wrote, it was like, okay.

Judith: My mother had always asked me what was my heart's desire and you know, all through my life, you know, she'd just be, so what's your heart's desire? What's your heart's desire? And I would have to think about it and you know, at different times it was. I mean, when, when my kids were little, it was a, I don't know, you know, being able to go to the bathroom and close the door might be nice. And when I discovered the handpan, it was, oh, that's what, that's what heart's desire feels like this. Just pull to... Like it's a Pied Piper, like the instrument and the community and the places you'll go and the people you'll meet and the things you'll do, just opened up a whole new horizon.

Sylvain: And that question that your mom asked you, that's a profound question. That's a beautiful question.

Judith: Yeah. Yeah. Got It. It was a, you know, when she would ask it as I was growing up, you know, it never really resonated for. Yeah as profound a question as it was just like, what do you, what do you mean?

Sylvain: Right. And I think that, I mean we can go through the motions, we can just go through life without necessarily taking a pause and asking ourselves what do I want my life to be about? Or what gives me joy or how can I bless others or all these big questions. And so the answer comes sort of spontaneously. It seems, right? Kind of out of the blue.

Judith: It does. And then also there's, like I said, I was on a mission to follow my yes.

Sylvain: And what do you mean by that?

Judith: Well, for one thing it means recognizing the yes, when it hits, when it calls you, like you sit before something and it's like, do I want to do this? Don't I want to do this? Is this. I mean I think the Japanese woman who is all over everything now with the. Does it bring you joy? The tidying, that whole tidying thing is like does it. I guess her question is does it bring you joy? And for me it was, is this a yes? And in part you actually, I found I actually had to tune myself to well how do I know? How do I know if it's a yes because my head goes off in a million directions with reasons and trying to find justifications and things like that. And so, I know, one thing that I often do is I use a pendulum. It goes in one direction for a yes goes another direction for a no. And sometimes if I just want to know yes or no, I hold, I hold the pendulum and it tells me. And then it's like, so that's one way. But the internal like, is this a, does this delight me? Do I get goosebumps at the thought of it? That kind of. Yes.

Sylvain: And so with the handpan, it sounds like you didn't need that pendulum. You just knew right away.

Judith: It was so striking. It was so immediate. I mean, even now as you say it, the goosebumps, chills or up and down my body. It's like, yes,

Judith: It, it lights you up, the very thought of it lights you up.

Sylvain: So it's being more in tune with our reactions to maybe our environment and things we come across. Being more self aware maybe. Yes. Wow, that's beautiful.

Judith: Yeah. On, uh, and, and recognizing it on a, somehow on a physical level rather than just an intellectual or I mean that the emotion actually has a feeling to it and being able to recognize that feeling.

Sylvain: So what is the feeling? I mean, I guess you described it, it's goosebumps.