On Sound Healing

From the floor of a studio space in Oakland, I learned how to accept my memories, accept myself, let myself be loved and held from exactly where I was at.

I have always been sensitive to noise; sensitive to the noises of others, sensitive to the noise in my mind, to the clanking dishes in my heart. I first experienced sound healing approximately one year ago. It was around the time I had begun making things out of book pages. The spot was in Oakland and I knew I needed something. After the event I handed the man a string of paper stars punched from the most recent book I had read. I had been grasping at so many things at the time. Wrapping my arms around babies, around the wayward twenty something boys in their beds as my hands tried to know them. My fingers clung tightly to beer bottles in run down front yards and loud crowded bars. A rough smoke had filled my lungs. I wrote every day and cried in my car. I’d set my heart down and picked it back up each time, not bothering to wash the dirt off of it. I was dumbfounded really. I didn’t know what else to do with myself. What do you do with your most potent memories? How do you handle them? I couldn’t bear to begin to pick apart who I had been, and the powerful traces of what it had been like to be loved; how it had felt to belong, to a Bengal cat and a man in a chair. How to sift through the overwhelming intimacy that had settled into my bones.  

And then my feet timidly walked across the floor of Samana and found a space where my body could fit. The world looked different from a cross-legged position on the floor. Finally humbled I was near a gong, and a Tibetan singing bowl, and silver tuning forks. After some introductory dialogue he began. Gradually I surrendered, relaxed, let every new reverberation wash over me and through me. I felt cradled in the repetition; finally soothed by each new echo that filled ears and trickled down into my soul. With my eyes closed, I had visions as I repackaged my past. A rich warm stirring note pooled around me and I felt myself walk through the door of his room and wrap my arms around his biceps and press my palms against his chest. My lips kissed his neck as his left hand rested on the push-rim of a wheel and his right on top of my hand.  A bronze tone lingered somewhere in the air near me and I walked barefoot through the grass on his side yard as Simba’s wise Bengal eyes followed behind. I felt so whole. My hands rested on his kitchen table. A light tinkling near my left and I began to cry. Began to feel what had been. Was given in sixty minutes of sounds the ability to find solace in the beautiful and the ugly of a man I had loved with a sacrificial heart.

I had pulled myself up from the floor with tears streaming down my face and I knew I needed more. I had been given a lesson on the value of release. I don’t always grant myself the permission to let go. From the floor of a studio space in Oakland, I learned how to accept my memories, accept myself, let myself be loved and held from exactly where I was at.

As fall turned to winter I drove to a home in Montclair for an experience with Suellen and Jérémy. A light rain had been falling for hours. There was still a mist in the air upon my arrival. I walked down the staircase and onto the expansive front deck that had darkened to a deep chocolate brown with the water. Upon entering I became aware that this was not my house as I wandered down the steep carpeted stairwell into the den. There, a space had been lovingly crafted; blankets and pillows waited, as we were given insight into how to arrange ourselves and what to expect. A poem was read. I tried to feel at peace among the strangers. The small of my back settled into the ground and the deep notes dripped out of a saxophone and cuddled up beside me. Grainy fingers circled around the flat of a drum. Gradually, my body began to give in. Again, images and memories swam to the surface. I felt anchored by the warmth of a cello. Wind rustled my hair as I stood barefoot and singing Fleetwood Mac songs to the nine month old in my arms. I fought to jump over a six foot wall. A beautiful voice hung above me in the air. I leaned my head against the tile wall and smiled at the man I loved, we refilled the water for the umpteenth time, never wanting to leave; an empty wheelchair rested near-by. The even hum of a singing bowl rippled and seemed to pat dry my skin. I clung to moving boxes with tears in my eyes. I drove up the grapevine in a steadfast brown Honda. Tuning forks swung back and forth above me and I heard the sound of his voice again, the way he called me baby. It continued to rain outside. I walked down the hills of Montclair that early evening knowing the depths of myself. I felt lighter, my eyes lingered on my breath as it hung in the air. The windshield wipers chased after one another, as I drove slowly and avoided the flooded areas. I wanted to be as cold and wet as it was outside, wanted to feel as drenched as I did on the inside. But the chill never came, instead there was stillness, the growl within had turned to a pur. Again, I felt moved and saw that there was overwhelming peace despite every part of myself still buried inside.