What to say about December? Maybe just take a long deep breath in, and exhale out. When I was a mother of young children, I used to joke that I wanted to set up a Peanuts-style Lucy Booth for 5 cent therapy, maybe offer a shot of something to relax all the harried harassed people prepping for Hollywood holidays, the ones the movies and media make us believe we need to create. I even talked to a carpenter friend at a cafe I frequented about building me one. Maybe this year I'll do it, set up a sound booth where people can get a dose of lavender essential oil and stop to take a moment to deeply listen, to tune out the world outside and tune in to themselves, to what they might feel, what they might enjoy, to what really matters to them.
I think of a scene from When Harry Met Sally, when Sally is all dressed up at a New Year's Eve party laughing and giggling and pretending to have a good time and she breaks her smile to turn her head and whisper to her friend, just before midnight, "I'm leaving."
Maybe dressing up in silver sequins for a party will bring you pleasure. Maybe it is sweatpants in front of the fire that does the trick. Sometimes, oftentimes, it is hard to find the exact balance of social and solitary that will bring the harmony of spirit we're looking for. Sometimes we wish for more social interactions, but something holds us back from reaching out, from inviting others. Sometimes we don't have family nearby or, if we do, the relationships aren't what we want them to be. Sometimes we have all the family and friends we might wish for but we can't muster the feelings of joy we think we should have, that other people (especially in television commercials or on social media) look like they have.
What, you ask, does all this talk of holiday angst have to do with sound? I am trying of late to understand myself why I believe that composing a series of sounds for people is so important, why I think that deep listening and its ability to calm and soothe is so very crucial to nurturing the nervous system.
Stress lodges in our bodies. It takes a toll on our tempers. Hyped up for the holidays often means sore backs and sour attitudes and...why? Leading up to Thanksgiving this year, I refocused on my meditation practice, taking time first thing to sit with my Mala beads and chant my mantra, Om Namah Shivaya, 108 times. I rub my palms together and place them over my eyes so as to absorb heat and energy, to restore some balance to my blinking scattered nervous system. And then I sit, working hard to relax every part of my body. And I face toward the sky and just breathe. I pay attention to the rise and fall of my chest. I listen to whatever comes, attempting to push along the thoughts that do not serve me, attempting to feel fully into my feelings, into myself. I heard something recently that I wrote out so as to remember:
In the silence I will hear and see the truth.
Listening, to silence, to sound, tuning out so much of what we don't want to focus on to focus more fully on what we do...that is a practice, and one we can do all the time, and especially at times of particular stress and strain and so many seeming 'shoulds', like in December. To get to the joy, at least for me, takes a lot of letting my shoulders drop down, a lot of letting go of images in my mind of the way Martha Stewart or her successor, Joanna Gaines, might do it.
As a holiday tune-up, I will offer a Sacred Bloom Sound Bath at my home at 7 pm on December 7th, and you are welcome to join. Please rsvp to email@example.com to reserve a spot.
I will also host Baby Bloom sessions with caregivers in my home Tuesdays at 10 am (except for Dec. 27th.) $10 donation appreciated. We are building great listeners and rhythm makers with the babies!!
And, as usual, please reach out via email or text 917/974-6166 if you are interested in booking a private session or one for a group. What better way to come together this holiday season than through a relaxing meditative deep listening party? Corporate parties can be a bore, but a soothing sound session...those get everyone feeling calm, rejuvenated and ready to tackle the New Year!! I have been working with companies including SoundCloud and ATAI Life Sciences at Scribner's Catskill Lodge during corporate retreats, to great reviews!
I also continue to work with Memory Care residents at The Watermark Senior Living facility in Brooklyn Heights and a number of CAMBA-run housing shelters in Brooklyn. Sound soothes and restores and, as I am fond of saying lately, "Sounds over substances..." It is a natural stress reliever.
Happy Holidays! May you breathe in the joy of the season, and listen carefully, deeply, to the lovely lilting harmonies that the universe makes this season.