Tag Archives: clarity

The power of a sound bath

14 Sep

10:19 pm

I think I mentioned in my last post that I recently spent a week on the west coast of Costa Rica, mainly to do yoga, but also to be alone to process the fact that there are changes and evolutions going on in my life, and there is grief, and I am having a hard time dealing with all that AND keeping everything else in place.  I only spent four days there–two were traveling to get there, and then, the final two days were spent getting home (and, stressing:  I was booked through Miami on the way home, and Hurricane Dorian was just picking up speed that week and it looked like it was going to blow through Florida).  Anyway, my time there was short and I only had four days, but four days was enough to see a transformation.

WhirrWhirrWhirrrrrrrring.  This was the sound of my mind–the sound of my incessant thinking–during the first two days (well, all the time).  I filled those days taking yoga, walking along the beaches (gosh, the Pacific is immense and amazing–and warm!?–down there), eating fish and rice and fruit (my perfect diet, I must say), and going to bed.  Yet, my mind!  Would.  Not.  Stop.  Thinking.  JESUS.  I mean, I could literally hear the whirring sound…like a swarm of mosquitoes, filling my skull to the brim, spinning in one huge loud circle of BUZZ, WHIRR, WHIRRRRRRRRING.

On the evening of the second day, I decided to take a sound bath.  The instructor was fantastic–the resort where I took my classes had some of the best teachers I’ve ever had, actually–and the sound bath was really cool.  I mean, I’ve participated in sound “healing” ceremonies before; and yeah, afterward I do feel calmer and I can remember at least a few interesting visuals that came up during the ceremony; but, I have never felt anything beyond that.  I enjoy them, that’s true, but I’m not sure I would consider them to be healing, per se.

Until I woke up on the third day feeling…quiet.  QUIETED.  Happy.  Calm, clear, optimistic.  Like, the sense of clarity was unmistakably uplifting!  The whirring had stopped.  What the…?  I walked along the beach that morning, noticing that all my confusing, conflicted thoughts and thought tendencies and thought patterns–this mental weight that had been bogging me down for the past two days–had just gone away.  The whirring was gone.  Now, I don’t know if I should credit the sound bath, but…

The following night, my last, I went to my second sound bath–and this time, I listened a bit more closely to what the teacher was saying before he started in on his instruments (I have to admit, during the first class, I was just like, yeah, uh huh, right).  And what he said was:  by utilizing sound waves, sound baths ultimately allow your higher mind to distance itself from your lower mind (the thinking, the judging, the ego mind)–which helps to quiet the lower mind.  I was like, what?  That is literally exactly how I felt; that I had this newfound sense of clarity because the whirring just seemed to have ceased, and my higher mind was now fully present–quiet, not as judgmental, open.  This, in turn, made me feel happier, friendlier to self and others, more willing to have conversations with strangers, more able to take in and enjoy the scenery…

At home now, what this clearer, quieter state of mind has allowed me to do is be more positive, in general, and resist negativity (from my own mind, from others).  I don’t feel like judging people or situations or getting angry; I just want to let it go and continue to vibrate, as it were, at my higher, quieter level.  It’s helped me feel and be more positive toward my relationships, my job, my coworkers; it’s helped me let things roll off my back and maintain a sense of calm happiness.

This feeling was really strong during the first week after I got back; I’m on my second week now, and while I don’t feel as happy and/or quieted, I find myself going back to that place of quiet clarity in my mind.  I mean, even if I no longer presently own that sense of clarity, I can remember I once did and what it felt like–which goes a long way toward cultivating (I guess you could say) that state of mind.

It was definitely worth suspending my disbelief!  Now, I feel like there is hope, there is a place to go, there IS clarity and quiet to be had–it’s just a matter of finding the tools to get there and developing those tools to keep you there.

I get “this” because I’m sober

16 Feb

2:08 pm

Today marks one month to go until I’m one year sober. Holy crap! I never thought the day would come, and, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about drinking in moderation (what’s that?) again come March 18th.

Numerous thoughts rush through as I consider that possibility, and there are a few that stand out.

Why bother? I am actually consistently happy now, and I would by lying to myself if I said that drinking would add anything to an occasion or a situation. It’s an escape at best, an excuse at worst–that’s all it is, and maybe it simply took me 20 years to see what a sham alcohol actually is. Drinking would not add; it would only subtract. This I know to be fact; it’s been a long road to accept this fact into my stubborn brain.

Do I want to drink sometimes? Sure, of course. I miss the buzz, especially when I feel slightly down, which is a lot of the time; I’ve been meaning to get on the antidepressants thing. And, sometimes, when I let my “can’t drink, won’t drink” guard down, I’m appalled, in a way, at how far I still have to go. Case in point: Last night, I wanted to drink simply because I was getting ready to go out–which I rarely do, and now I know why–and just the act of getting ready to go out made me pine for a glass (or ten) of wine. And, a previous conversation about an old drinking buddy earlier in the afternoon had me thinking about all the bad that happened while drunk, and then, shockingly, a longing for that bad–that out-of-control-ness, that sickness–hit me. It was weird to witness my reactions like this, as strong as ever.

These pangs tell me that maybe I haven’t come to terms with things, I’ve just put them out of my mind. I mean, have I simply cut people from my drinking past out of my life, and instead, need to re-engage with them to “work shit out?” It’s so confusing, and my heart says, NO. But, my mind wonders, Well, IF, in fact, merely thinking about what went down between us–the shenanigans, as it were–is triggering an almost-uncontrollable urge to “just go out and get fucking tanked,” then, maybe I have a lot more work ahead of me than I thought?

I have “this”–why, as hilarious, wonderful Belle once said, would I want to go back to living in a sewer? I mean, lately, I’ve been seeing the FRUITS of my labor. These are big and small, a slap in the face or a gentle tap on the shoulder. The other day, I had a “wow” moment, as in pink SKY, not just pink cloud. It happened when I was walking the dogs, and I came to the crest of a hill–I must say, the views here are astounding, and I don’t take them for granted. Usually, though, maybe I do a little. Anyway, it just hit me and it was a shocking thought: I get “this.” I get THIS instead of that. And, for all you who were reading about my trials and tribulations in the cold, foggy city whence I came, you can understand why this is so much better than THAT.

I get THIS because I am sober. It really is that simple for me. Getting sober was instrumental in getting everything else that I have right now: I get to live here, where I am, with hot weather, and trees, and water, and sun. I get to live on an ocean. I get my boyfriend–friend, partner, someone who saw me through the horrible times, when I had zero idea that I even needed to be seen through. I get a blossoming freelance career–a second chance, in a way. I get to work a low-wage, part-time job, which is gloriously easy (showing up and just getting paid to exist isn’t as bad as I remember it being)–I get to work to live, and I get to appreciate this now. I know it won’t last forever, but it’s good for now. This is really good for now, I see.

That. What was that, that I was living? Just two years ago, I was, as Belle put it, living in a sewer. I was drinking constantly–I mean, I don’t think I truly sobered up for weeks if not months at a time, toward the end–and I had nothing that I have now. Worse, I didn’t believe I could have it–an actual freelance career, a boyfriend/partner, the ability to juggle a low-wage job and my overachiever’s mentality. The chance, every day, to plan exactly how I want to live it.

And, the best part is, I earned “this.” I have never been able to say, unequivocally, that I earned something. I must have, right? I’ve always thought of myself as a fraud–no matter how hard I thought I was working, I was still cutting corners.

With sobriety, I know I earned it. And, I’m really proud–like, all the time, every day. In fact, I feel pride for the first time in a long time. And, maybe it’s this sense of constant pride, day in and day out, that remaining in continuous sobriety brings? It builds, too, and you just keep feeling more and more pride, or constancy, or something like wholeness; it’s like, it settles into your bones and you finally start to believe that this isn’t a fluke, that you have the right to be proud again, to be whole, to exist.

Life is just starting to get easier, and introducing a desire to “fix” anything–a mood, a thought, a fight, whatever–with wine will complicate the “savannah of my mind.”

My relationships are better because I am learning how to have them as a self-respecting person, you know? I guess I was always acting, always trying to please–that made relating to the opposite sex, especially shady men who were more than willing to take advantage of that lack of self-awareness, particularly bad for me. And, I am learning to let go of things that don’t serve me–like, worrying about whether or not my brother’s girlfriend likes me anymore.

I see just how much I value my new self in being sober, in the very way that they (people from my drinking past, I suppose) are trying to relate to the old me. That old me? She’s gone. I’m here now. Relating to people who haven’t changed, or who can’t or won’t understand a new you–it becomes impossible. Either they adjust to the new you–to some, she is probably jarringly unfamiliar–or they don’t.

Anyway, I get this, and not that. And I earned it. And this is why drinking again–even for “fun”–might never be in my cards. What good, what “better” could it bring? The thing is, I needed almost two years of abstinence–and one full year of continuous sobriety–to get to this point, a point that I never imagined existed let alone believed I could reach. Slow learner? Maybe. Do I want to put in that kind of work again? Nope.

Four more weeks! And then…what? Waiting for Godot…

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