The Vibration Project arises from Karen Atkins’ passions and experience: from years spent in the study, practice and teaching of many healing modalities, practical and spiritual philosophies, psychology and self, internal martial arts and meditation, intuitive and empathy training and even her own experience with suffering and overcoming suffering. She has worked in the Internet, publishing and non-profit fields and travelled worldwide teaching and collaborating with people from many different cultures and walks of life.
In her healing, teaching, coaching and creative endeavors, she has worked extensively with women, children and couples. Seeking answers to her own health issues and questions about existence, she also spent much time studying food and nutrition, basic Quantum physics and the laws of the Universe.
From an Ivy League education to writing and performing as a musician, Karen’s unique ability to translate complex ideas and transmit deep feeling to others shapes every aspect of the Vibration Project.
Karen's love of music began as early as she can remember and she even had a favorite song at age two. She followed her sister to piano lessons and by the time she was five she was already practicing for hours each day. Karen transitioned from the piano to the guitar at 14 when she joined an all-girl band at her high school called Pangaea, performing Day Tripper (including the guitar solo!) for 800 people at her high school auditorium only a month after taking her first lesson.
Karen recorded her first album, Switch Worlds in 1992 with her band Herija, an EP Angel, in 1994, Baring Souls with the Karen Atkins Band in 1996 and Time on My Hands in 1998. Her song, 'The Right Time' was in the Wynona Rider movie Boys also in 1996 and she received an award for the song 'On the Way Down' in the John Lennon Song Writing contest in 1998. Several songs from her album Baring Souls were frequently on the top-10 playlist for over 40 college and local radio stations nationally.
A Journey of Self-Discovery
After a two-week tour in Italy in 1996 opening up for the California Guitar Trio, and a tour on the east coast, Karen decided to take a break from life as a performing musician. She felt as though she needed to find herself on a deeper level before she put herself out into the world. She spent the next 15 years on a inner journey of self-exploration and healing, studying and participating in numerous philosophies, personal growth and spiritual practices and moving through a varied and extensive career as an Alternative Healthcare Educator (Advanced BodyTalk Instructor) and Practitioner, Owner and Director of a Healing Center in New York City, Landscape Designer, Project Manager and Marketer in Web development, and Qi Gong instructor.
After a deep awakening experience on a Taoist pilgrimage to China in 2008, a consistent practice of Qi Gong and Internal Alchemy, and a heart opening experience in India in 2009, Karen felt called to express and share the love she had awakened to through her first love, music and combine the music with the concepts, philosophies and practices that lead her to this inner expansion.
The Vibration Project expresses love in many different forms; from Mother's Love, to deep friendship and passion, to love of Nature and connection to our Essential Nature or Spirit. In her own words: "My intention through this music is to encourage a feeling of deep connection to the divine inside of us that is all pervasive, that inspires us to remember who we really are at the core of everything, that we are never alone, that feeling separate or alienated is just an illusion, that we ALL have the potential to live joyful and expansive lives and find heaven on Earth, despite any apparent adversity."
Karen began her journey in photography with a high school photo project called 'Finding the Beauty in Garbage.' Many years later, her passion for recognizing and sharing beauty through film was re-ignited with the advent of good quality digital cameras. She specializes in 'Photo Meditation' -- the art of freeing the magic of the landscape, people or place by using simple techniques to get into a meditative state in order to allow the photo subject to guide the process and express its life through the photographer.
Karen's images expose the 'light of the spirit' and make the viewer feel uplifted and inspired. She began this style of photography while studying Tai Chi and Qi Gong on a Taoist Pilgrimage to China with Taoist Priest, Master Yun Xiang Tseng (commonly known a Master Chen), followed that journey with spiritual pilgrimages to India, South America, Canada and the US and continues to expand her repertoire with travels worldwide.
She first began teaching herself meditative photography on her China trip and continues to practice these techniques while on location during her travels.
Karen loves the magical, natural light and intense colors of dawn and dusk, which are also traditionally the best times for meditation, when the sunlight and air are the most rarefied, expansive and healing.
What I See
"What I love about photography is the same thing I love about producing music. There are so many activities that are part of the music-making process. Writing music, lyrics, melody, harmony, practicing, rehearsing, performing, booking gigs and recording. My favorite is recording because you already have all of the basic elements there and you get to play with different instruments sounds and textures and it's a collaborative process.
With photography, you're also playing with different elements that are already there and you're just exposing a certain perspective. What I like to do is feel my way around the landscape or environment and actually join with it. If I become the landscape then it's usually really easy to feel how it wants to be expressed. And it's not always one way. Sometimes it has a lot to say. I feel like it's my job as a photographer to free that expression. You know how sometimes we feel like we can't really express ourselves exactly the way we want to? We want to communicate with others and we don't always feel we've said things in a way this clear. I think lots of people and places are like that, and when you can help them express themselves, they feel very grateful.
I once read a book called "Being and Vibration" and the author, Joseph Rael, theorized that the earth can't move, so it processes things when we walk on it. It really appreciates it when we walk on it. He also says that it helps us to process things by walking on the earth for the same reason.
I have always felt that going for walks changes my mood immediately. I used to live in Spanish Harlem in NYC and whenever I was stressed out or confused about something, I would take a walk (often in Central Park, which was nearby) and I would always come back transformed. It didn't seem to matter whether it was trees or people or a local pizzeria, the scenery would change, the earth would change and my mood would change.
I sometimes get a similar feeling when I'm photographing something, as when I'm writing music -- that the subject or song is being shy and not wanting to reveal itself, so I have to take my time and convince it that I'm on it's side."