Tag Archives: calm

Sound Baths, Music and Coping In The Time of Rona

I’ve had a tension headache for three days. Today, the fourth day, a Thursday, I feel it starting to subside. Anxiety is a fucker. And it can’t be the way I continue to move forward at this time.

I don’t want to focus on the endless volume of negativity that has poured out of this pandemic in an ugly rush of mismanagement and lack of care for human life.

Instead, I want to share how I’ve been using music and sound to calm my nerves and de-stress while practicing social distancing while not going stir crazy.

Sound baths

I learned about sound baths from Evelyn on The Internets, one of my fave YouTubers in a video where she talks about practices she applies when she’s overwhelmed. First of all, the words sound bath already sound amazing to me. Who wouldn’t want to bath in sound right now? Better than Purell right?

What a sound bath sounds like initially is something like white noise but with a more concentrated composition of layers of sound. At first it may sound like a humming but as you sit and immerse yourself in it like a meditation you begin to hear much more. The first track I ever heard that I feel is similar to a sound bath is by Bjork the mad sound engineering genius herself. I can’t remember how I came upon it but when I heard it it was if I had fallen off of a cliff of “traditional” sounding remixes of her music into something pure and raw that resonated with parts of my body rather than an attachment to melody or song structure.

It’s the Patten Rework remix of her song Stonemilker from the album “Vulnicura.” I thought it was an accident, that maybe my streaming service was skipping the track like a scratched album and something had gone wrong. But no, this was a controlled piece of experimental beauty that not unlike much of Bjork’s work just reached down into my guts and pried open my emotions.

I promise sound baths are 100 times more gentle. LOL!

Here is a layman’s definition:

The sounds are created by a variety of overtone-emitting instruments including tuning forks, gongs, shruti box, Himalayan and crystal singing bowls, chimes, and voice. When you sink into a Sound Bath and guide your awareness to your listening, you allow your brain waves to slow, shifting from a more active state to a more relaxed state, or even a dreamlike state.

There are many varieties of sound bath tracks available. I’ve found the majority that appeal to me on Spotify.  There are sound baths that range from 1 minute to 5 that resonate for the chakras and for different parts of the body and even some that are for each astrology sign. I find them to be very calming, allowing me to slow down my busy brain and focus on an underlying silence, a great expansive space. I’m sure sound baths must be derived from ancient spiritual meditative practices.

Also

I’ve also been watching things that make me happy like Carpool Karoake which is an instant happy maker for me since the only thing I love more than music is traveling in a car listening to and singing to music I love. The latest episode with Billie Eilish is just amazing. I can’t say I’m a super fan of her music but I do think that at 18 years old, she’s a pretty authentic human being, one of a kind and fully immersed in the joy, emotion and deep catharsis of her work as an artist. And she puts on nothing. She just is who she is. I don’t see that very often.

Chris Martin’s recent #togetherathome IG live was also very sweet and soothing and is also available on YouTube along with the Coldplay Tiny Desk performance I just watched this morning. Man, talk about a human who could never live without music! It’s just infectious to watch people who make music light up inside when they share it. There’s nothing like it.

I’ve also been forcing myself to get out and walk even if it’s just for a short while. I get cabin fever easily and thankfully there are a lot of beautiful parks where I live. I need the fresh air and the nature, to be able to see that life is still thriving and blooming.

Next week I start working from home proper and I hate the idea of the toxicity that surrounds that work seeping into my sacred space so I’m hoping that fortifying myself with calm and focus and positivity now will make that transition easier.

Who even knows what will happen tomorrow.

Stay safe out there. And stay connected even in the distance.

 

Phases of Lavender

Spiritual Significance of Lavender

  • Spiritual Healing
  • Tranquility
  • Higher Consciousness
  • Release of Energy Blockages
  • Easing of Tension
  • Promotes Calmness
  • Purification

Phase 1

Years ago while on a short vacation in Hyde Park, my husband and I dinned at this wonderful restaurant, Terrapin. There I had my first ever Lavender Gimlet. I was blown away by the taste of something that before I had only ever associated with smell. Who thinks to do something like that? Maybe one of the CIA chefs that are boasted to be sprinkled about in the kitchens of the best dining spots in Hyde Park. I don’t know but as an avid foodie, I was blown away. I thought it was brilliant. Whenever we go there I always order one and I just savor it until it’s done.

Phase 2

Several months ago year at a friend’s potluck in Brooklyn, someone brought lavender lemonade. I liked it so much, I got the recipe from them, filed that away and have been steadily researching the creation of lavender infused drinks ever since. I made my first lavender gimlet with gin for my husband and I last week in a cocktail shaker I’ve had for years but rarely use. Lavender Gimlets are probably an acquired taste and obviously not for those who don’t like gin but i love it. Making lavender simple syrup is super easy and I’m excited to use it for lavender lemonade this Summer as well.

Phase 3

Nearly two months ago, on recommendation from a friend and co-worker who has beautiful locs and styles hair I ordered this special hair oil. The product, which was said to have been delivered to my work address in it’s tracking data never arrived. I’ll save you descriptions of the anger and frustration and USPS paranoia I experienced after this. I filed a claim with USPS and left it at that. I let it go. One day last month it just showed up. It arrived at my job with no fanfare no explanation. I didn’t need any. I was just so happy it even came. It’s a high concentration mixture of natural essential oils used to stimulate hair growth. It smells amazing, as my friend had told me it would. A dropper is used to apply it because very little is needed. The strongest most prominent top note scent is lavender.

Phase 4

After work, on the same day the hair oil arrived, I met my husband for a stroll through the garden in Fort Tryon Park. We came upon a large bush of lavender and I started picking some. I put it in the satchel that hair oil came in and placed in the inner pocket of my denim jacket where it still lives. This instinct, I’m aware, comes from watching my mom pick lavender from the herb garden at BBG when my brother and I were little. There was a sequence of deliberate paths we took through that garden that would last all day and would very often end in the herb garden which, by the way, is no longer there except for in my memory.

Phase 5

Over the weekend I pulled a muscle in my back and in addition to starting a regimen of morning and nightly stretching at the recommendation of soulsistah4real, I’ve been taking salt baths for my back as well. Last night, I had my husband scatter some lavender buds into my bath. Omigoodness. It’s very rare, when I’m soaking in the tub that I’m not plotting some way to remain there over night. LOL!! It was very hard for me to leave and Tuesday night was no exception.  Hot water releases the scent and oil from lavender and releases it into the air and it’s oooohhh so calming.

Who knew there were so many freakin uses for lavender? I even have, and maybe this is going to sound obnoxious, lavender soybean oil nail polish remover. Wait!!! And lavender scented cuticle oil from Julep that I got in one of their freebie boxes almost a year ago. It’s a roll on that has lasted me forever.

Too much?

Well it doesn’t feel like too much to me as yet. LOL! In fact it feels pretty perfect.

My Gyn Has Candles in the Examination Room

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Well not real candles. I’m guessing that would be a fire hazard. They’re those fake candles that are actually like flickering electric lights in candle holders. My gynecologist has those going on the table across from the examination table and no overhead light ever.

Whenever I’m there on the table with the sheet wrapped around me, waiting for Dr. Simmons to come in, I’m usually pretty relaxed and at ease, the light from the faux candles have a very calming effect on me. Naturally, I’ve had several gyns before and it occurred to me while I was there last, that this is not the usual examination room experience. Simmons tells me that this was the intention of her and her partners when she opened the spa, and that this room and the candlelight effect was intended to decrease anxiety and lower the heart rate. I love it when women put thought into creating spaces that evoke warmth, relaxation, calm and insulation, particularly in any medical capacity. This is not a room that you want to hurry away from but one that allows you to really settle and be present. In situations where you need to be vulnerable and be examined in intimate ways, this is very important. Plus my gyn has a great bedside manner. The candlelight room is like an extension of her attitude so I never feel like I’m being handled, treated roughly, being rushed in and out like cattle or being neglected or forgotten. I’ve also never witnessed crowding or even remotely heavy traffic at the practice. When I arrive there are never more than three or four women in the waiting room which is also softly lit with low music playing always.

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