Let me preface this post with a friendly reminder that I am very much in an information-gathering phase of my "spiritual enlightenment." I'm reading books, attending classes, podcasting the heck out of Oprah's Super Soul Sundays and generally enjoying new different discoveries and viewpoints I'm encountering along the way. I've never considered myself to be a religious person so these are some of the ways I find peace.
Until about a month ago, Sound Baths were just about as foreign to me as nailing a handstand without the assist (yep, I have an irrational fear of inversions and am chipping away at it slowly). I was intrigued and I wanted to check it out, and yet I also perceived them to be a little too hippie dippy, woo woo, for my liking. I was afraid of what I didn't know or understand, so I avoided... until I didn't.
I'll keep this part brief but my first sound bath experience began with meeting a friend for drinks at happy hour beforehand. BIG mistake. You can imagine, walking into a large room with vaulted ceilings and proceeding to try and lie down, relax, empty your mind after throwing back a cocktail. The lovely instructor told us how each her three gongs represent the energies and cosmic vibrations of Mercury, Earth and Pluto. And as a closet science geek, I was HOOKED on every word. But I couldn't calm down. My heart raced, my anxiety triggered and my mind wandered away from the beautiful space she created for us as I shamed myself for having that drink even though I enjoyed it in the moment.
An hour later, I found gratitude for all of it on the drive home. Thankful I went for drinks with a new friend because I really value our time together; thankful I attempted my first sound bath because now I can prepare better for the next one; thankful that I got a healthy dose of astrology and reminder that I love learning about our connection to the universe. You better believe I fired up the Netflix docs on space exploration and revisited the difference between cumulus and stratus clouds. Exciting stuff!
Then, a couple weeks later, I got the invite from my Wanderlust ambassador lead to help host a rooftop Sound Bath at Neuehouse in Hollywood. This was my chance to do the thing right. And not only would I participate, I get to set up the space, meet tons of new people and see first-hand how Wanderlust engages other like-minded brands in the area to put on community outreach events. Sweeet. Sign. me. up.
Arriving at Neuehouse is a treat on its own. The place is GORGEOUS, with meticulous interior design and attractive LA professionals who pay top dollar to co-work in a space that has all the fixings. The cherry on top is two large rooftop areas, one for hosting outdoor movies and the other for a number of other activities including our sound bath special.
Another gorgeous day in LA, the sun was still high in the sky at 5pm and perfectly displayed the cozy ambiance we created for a packed house. The combination of yoga mats, pillows, blankets and faux sheepskin throws, plus gifts from Wanderlust Hollywood and Linne Botanicals - I've never met an adult nap this chic.
Victoria Keen was our spiritual guide for the evening, and she is awesome. One of those humans who immediately puts you at ease with her smile and makes you feel like you can ask anything. Her energy is contagious and I immediately started picking her brain about crystals, the benefits, ways I could recharge them for different uses, Mercury Retrograde, the new moon. I could have talked with her for hours but the show must go on.
Once everyone settled, Victoria explained what we could expect from her approach, that we may have visions or the clearing of energetic patterns within, and the reason for practicing at this time of day. Her intention was to spend the hour turning toward a new, more inward season and, if everything timed right, for all of us to awaken as the sun set over Hollywood. #Blessed
NOW THIS IS WHERE IT GETS INTERESTING...
I'm lying there, wrapped in a blanket, outside (my favorite place to be ever), eyes shut, taking in the incredible sound sorcery of gongs, chimes and other instruments Victoria shared with us. So much creativity and vibrational movement. Why could I not relax?!
Once again, I was caught up in my random thoughts and to-do lists, taking me away from the present moment. Unable to sit still and sink into the gift of being surrounded by 100 sleeping beauties under the sunshine. I remembered how I was told sound baths can conjure up deep feelings, physically and emotionally, and it's good to take some time after to decompress but I never expected to feel so much at once.
In that moment, I was tense, frustrated and discouraged, like the art of meditation and 'being present' may in fact be impossible for little old me. One one hand, my rational brain knows this is not true. Like anything, it's a practice, and I forget that at times where I want to be the very best and nail something on the first try. And on the other hand, am I going to need a therapy session after every meditation? Or is this kind of intensity a spiritual breakthrough?
DISCLAIMER: If you know me, you know I'm EXTRA hard on myself. It's something I'm aware of and doing my best to keep at bay but it's also part of who I am and I want to embrace it. Just FYI as you read my posts.
THE MORAL OF THIS STORY
Breakthrough or not, I left with a stronger connection to myself. I love putting on events that bring communities together around a shared passion - it's part of my day job and something I crave. I also had an amazing time bonding with my Wanderlust team and meeting Victoria, whom I will continue to follow and grow with. Find out more more about her journey here.
While I wish I operated from a place of chill mode every time I sat down to meditate, I get it now. I get that it's not easy or everyone would do it. I get that it takes commitment and I will keep trying. And, by the way, I totally recommend getting curious if you're at all interested. We get so stuck in our surface brain day in and day out, completing tasks and repeating routines. It can be a breath of fresh air to step outside your comfort zone and into a sound bath. ;)
I also recognize they're not for everyone. If I give a few more attempts with similar outcome, my body may be telling me this isn't the right fit and I'll stick to some of the other ways I have learned to calm my mind (reading for one! Book review to come...)
What are your thoughts, fears or perceptions of sound baths? Are their other mindfulness methods that work for you?