Soul Awakening with Claire Mortifee
By Tawny Lara
Claire Mortifee wears many spiritual hats. She’s a 24 year old musician, a Reiki practitioner, and life coach. The spirituality gained from her other professions brings an element of soul to her powerful music. Lyrically, her latest album, “Medicines,” touches on issues that are relevant to our current social and political climate. Claire seemed like the perfect person to chat with in regards to today’s heightened social awakening. Musically, her Amy Winehouse and Erykah Badu influences shine through with a strong presence of R&B and jazz. She prioritizes self care and stays connected with what she calls a Unified Field of Intelligence. Mortifee is LA based, she loves any chance to come play in New York City.
What is your Unified Field of Intelligence? That’s such a beautiful phrase.
Sometimes I say unified web of intelligence. It’s like an interconnected web of love. It’s an intelligence that is so vast in size, depth, and integrity that my human brain cannot even begin to fathom what that looks like. I can touch it and I can tap into listening to how it functions in me and through me. It exists in everyone and it is everyone. We are all a part of this unified field of intelligence, this unified web, that is so zoomed out that it can see the long term. It can see the big picture behind everything that happens. This web offers us suffering and awakened states so that we can go deeper into ourselves, connecting deeper with our truths and why we feel discomfort. Connecting with that essence within myself is the greatest medicine that I have found to remedy emotional pain. It all ties into my main life goal, which is to evolve.
When you’re saying “intelligence,” is that an all-encompassing phrase of God and the universe?
Yeah. It totally is. I was talking with my husband about this yesterday and it’s important for me to note here that the words we use can never define what we’re talking about, because what we’re talking about is something that can’t be described; it can only be known. But these are words that I use when I’m talking with myself and my partner about it because it helps me to connect with my knowing.
How did you get into Reiki?
I have been trained and passed on the Reiki master symbol from the Usui tradition. There are multiple different Japanese lineages of Reiki but I was trained in Usui. It’s a form of energy giving.
How do you balance it all - Reiki, life coaching, and your music career? Out of all of these, is music your baby?
Yeah. There was a time when I had recently gone off antidepressants that I was put on when I was 15. It was a difficult time for me to be adjusting with my brain chemistry. I thought, how can I cultivate a career that I don’t need a vacation from, and one that I’m able to do even when I am experiencing difficult emotional patterns? My Reiki master certification and life coach certification ended up being a good complimentary force in my life. It’s rewarding when I do have the opportunity to offer Reiki or a coaching to somebody. They’re both on the side at this point as I’ve been working a lot on the album.
Your spiritual side definitely comes through in your music.
That’s the greatest gift for me, that other people can connect with themselves and their spirit through what I’m offering. That is all of my dreams coming true.
You have this great lyric in your song “True Power:”“I will not let you disrespect my fire.” Where did that line come from?
That song was written after a man who I had been working with on some songs, out of the blue got emotionally abusive with me. I made a post on social media about self-love and struggling with low self-esteem – that’s a theme that has been regular in my life since I can remember. Explaining my journey with self-love, exemplifying my own practice and journey was a very empowering thing for me. And this dude thought that the post was arrogant and thought that I was trying to seem famous. I think that there’s something going on inside him that is hurting and that’s why he lashed out at me that day. But this song was inspired by that incident. Instead of seeking revenge or wanting to bring him down, I gave way to this feeling of wanting to bless his soul and his spirit and remind him that he does have a true power that exists underneath what he was offering me that day. I was not going to let myself be brought down by this boy.
Good for you. You turned it into art. That reminds me of that Carrie Fisher quote, “Take your broken heart, turn it into art”.
Yeah. That’s always a good thing to do.
Do you have any daily self-care practices, such as learning how to say no? Or something even simpler? I know I feel great when I have my nails painted and I’m rocking some new lipstick. Is there anything along those lines that help you feel empowered?
Yeah. That’s a beautiful question. I think for me it’s listening to my body. In my experience, the way that God communicates to me is through my body. That’s where my intuition speaks. Even something like, “am I hungry?” Making sure that I’m fed and nourished helps. Setting boundaries is something I’ve had trouble with in my story in my past. Definitely working to listen and trusting that the reason that I don’t want to do something is because God is communicating to me that that is not the path that they are intending for me to go down. I’ll ask myself “Do I actually want to do this?” And if not, I’ll say no. Just like you said.
I know you’re L.A.-based, but I have to ask you about New York. What does New York mean to you?
I love New York. It’s such a special place. The sense of community in New York is really inspiring and welcoming. There’s beautiful people and they like to collaborate in a different way than in Los Angeles. In LA, there’s some socioeconomic barriers to getting around. There’s lots of freeways that if you don’t have a car or you can’t pay for gas to get somewhere, then how are you going to get there? New York is awesome because of the accessibility of the city and the communities. And the art scene is so rich and genuine. I think Los Angeles was built around the film industry and Hollywood, which is very white-washed and straight for the most part. Of course, things are changing slowly but surely. The sense of “anything goes” in New York in terms of the art scene creates a vibrant expression.
What is your yoga and/or meditation practice like?
My mom, Melissa Halliday, is a yoga teacher in Vancouver. She’s really helped me get in touch with my yoga practice. My relationship with meditation goes up and down in terms of when I practice. As I said, I’m incorporating prayer a bit more into my devotional time. When I’m able to listen to my body, a lot of the time it’s asking for yoga. It’s asking to be stretched and to be moved and to be strengthened in these beautiful ancient ways that yoga asanas offer. I love to practice yoga in the comfort of my own home. Put on a video and do it with my husband beside me. Sometimes I’ll put my dog, Joplin, right at my face so when I come down to do the chaturangas I’ll kiss her. I’m grateful that there are so many different practices available online now. In person classes are such a gift. When I take time to go do it in a studio or with friends, it’s a whole other experience that is rewarding in different ways.
You’ve mentioned earlier that your life goal is to evolve. When do you know what still needs to evolve, and when do you accept “what is”?
I know what needs to evolve when it’s causing me great pain, whether it’s shame or sadness or fear. Also being able to hold those emotions and listen to what they’re trying to teach me. Those emotions are often saying “this is not the way that Mother-Father-God is seeing the situation.” A lot of times for me it’s changing my perspective on something which goes hand in hand with accepting what’s going on. It’s trippy because what needs to change is usually more my perspective, and what I need to accept is exactly what’s happening. By “zooming out” I’m already able to accept what’s happening as divinely guided.
You mean looking at things on more of a macro level to get a broader vision of what’s going on? Then you can distinguish “what is” from what can shift?
Yeah - and remembering that our pain is medicine too. Our pain is an offering for us to choose a different way or cultivate a different habit or a different way of thinking about something. Knowing that, how can I change how I think? How can I change how I act? How can I change how I identify or dis-identify with these issues to a way that feels more honest and true to me as a human being? Just listening to my emotions and letting them guide me, but always with a strong healthy dose of compassion.
What does the word “awake” mean to you?
To be aware of the inescapable Divinity of literally every and anything I can think of. It's my intention to remain awake to the Light of my being, and awake to the Divine Perfection of any experience I find my consciousness having. To be awake is to remember the "meant-to-be-ness" of it all.
“Medicines” is available on iTunes, Spotify, and SoundCloud. Follow Claire on Twitter and Instagram at: @clairemortifee