by Susan Fitzgerald
A visit to Sedona, Arizona, in 2010 sparked Daisy Harpe’s interest in a therapeutic modality used for relaxation and stress relief. After attending a session that touched on sound therapy, Harpe was inspired to explore the topic further. Sound therapy is based on the theory that everything vibrates, including our bodies, and that all energy possesses a vibrational frequency. Depending on the sound, the vibration and frequency received by our bodies and ears can have a strong positive or negative effect on the body and mind. Harpe, owner of Ground with Sound, describes sound therapy as “a technique which uses music, sounds, tones, vibration and breath to create a grounding meditative space. Vibrations used in sound therapy can aid in reducing anxiety and emotional stress and in lowering blood pressure and heart rate.”
Harpe had a vision of building a unique dome-shaped studio for sound therapy, and the secluded and peaceful acreage on which she lives provided the perfect location. Her vision took shape after a process of internal searching and inquiring, reflecting on the questions “What is my purpose?” and “Why am I here and how can I can I help others?” Harpe experienced the effects of sound vibration in a dome building in California, which confirmed to her that this truly was her path to follow. With the support of her husband of 17 years, Daisy started creating her vision and building her dream.
Harpe has spent the majority of her life in the County of Grande Prairie in Alberta’s Peace Country. She grew up in the small farming community of Demmitt, where she was the youngest in a family of seven. Helping on the small family farm was a part of everyday life; everyone had chores to do. Leisure time was spent playing by the creek or walking or skiing in the woods. Heading to the community hall on Saturday evenings for square dancing was a highlight of the week for Harpe, as she enjoyed dancing, singing and having fun with her neighbours.
“As I look back on my life, it certainly wasn’t a smooth, easy journey,” explains Harpe, “but then again that is what life is all about. We all have the lessons and the hardships. It just shows up in different ways for each person. You get dealt the cards and you play them the best you can with what you know.”
Harpe says, “I am thankful for a childhood that was rooted in strength of family, a belief in God, strong work ethics and cultural traditions. My family background gave me my foundation to build my life on, and when I stumbled along my path, I remembered to lean into my past to help support me in picking myself up and moving forward.”
Harpe recalls a pivotal time when she was 17 years old. “My foundation was shaken to the core. Everything that was solid in my life changed within three months. My mother passed away, my father moved away because of health reasons and I left my childhood home to live with my older brother and his family.”
This certainly was a huge game changer. Harpe says, “At the time I continued through each day and then years, not realizing the immensity of what I had lost. For quite a few years I went kind of numb and my life was not heading in a very healthy direction for my body, mind or soul. In my mid-20s I started questioning my lifestyle and began making better choices to connect me with a healthier way of living—both physically and spiritually.
When she was 27, Harpe’s life path took another turn with the opportunity to work in the oil and gas industry as a field and plant operator. Under its equal-opportunity program, Petro-Canada hired two females to work in the male-dominated field. “This was huge for me. I landed a good job; I was making good money with company benefits and was able to get my feet on the ground. I was finally able to buy my own place and have some feeling of security.”
But even with this job security Harpe still felt empty and unsatisfied. The pay and lifestyle were good, but she kept thinking that there had to be more. Then another life-changing event took place. Harpe was out on her morning rounds, doing the regular procedure of checking oil wells, when a well head compressor exploded, leaving her with second- and third-degree burns on her hands and face.
“The crazy part is I knew this was going to happen. I never liked those well head compressors and even that morning, as I started the compressors after doing the routine checks, I remember thinking to myself ‘Just watch this thing blow.’ I pushed the start button and watched the gauges level out, thinking all was well. As I turned to walk out of the building, the compressor exploded.”
It was after this accident that Harpe really started paying attention to what she refers to as “that little voice inside that talks to us, our intuition.” She reflects, “There had been other major events. One was a car accident where I ‘knew’ but didn’t listen and sure enough, the ‘voice’ was giving me direction. I remember my father telling me in his last years of life ‘You know the answer; you just have to get quiet and listen. The answer is always inside of you.’”
Looking back, Harpe has become more aware of how everything has led her to what she is doing today. Finding and buying the acreage was another example of letting go and letting the river of life bring her to where she needed to be. Harpe recalls, “When my husband and I decided to start a life together, we searched for a place to buy and everything we looked at just wasn’t right. I then suggested to leave it be and not try to push this to happen, and by chance we found this place three months later.”
When they bought their land, Harpe knew that it was special. She feels this place came to them to share with others and to help people find some respite from their busy and stressful lives. For six years she operated a successful bed-and-breakfast out of her home. Everyone who stayed there has shared that they really love the peacefulness and tranquility. Harpe suggests that this comes from the natural world. “Anyone who drives in along our winding, tree-lined driveway has commented that they can feel themselves relax and let go. People always remark on how beautiful and restful it is here.”
How does Harpe feel about her life now? “I feel great! I love what I do and I really do feel like I am making a positive difference. I look back at my life and see that every step, every fall, every heartache and disappointment has brought me to this point. Had I not experienced the tough and sad parts, the times when I wanted to throw in the towel and skip out of life, I would not be able to relate to others or empathize to the degree I feel I do.”
Harpe feels that her life experiences, together with facilitating sound therapy, enable her to help people relax and feel good. She says, “I offer a safe, quiet space in a beautiful dome nestled within the healing energy of nature, a place where people can connect to their own stillness and allow a release of stress. Even if they just say to me ‘I feel so rested but alive’ and leave the Sound Dome feeling in a better state than when they came in, then I feel I have helped.”
She goes on to say, “If people experience a release of stress or emotional or physical pain and they go back to their everyday life without having the urge to yell at the kids or kick the dog—even if it is just for the next few hours that they feel calm and relaxed—then that’s the start of a ripple of peace flowing outward from them and affecting the one next to them in a more positive way. I love what Mother Teresa said: ‘Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.’”
Susan Fitzgerald is a freelance editor, writer and researcher based in Vancouver. She works on everything from picture books to dissertations, and her work has appeared in publications ranging from community newsletters to academic journals. She is especially interested in environmental and social justice issues, language and literacy.