I can envision a catalog of New Year’s Eve destinations, but none of them include being held captive to a bathroom floor by food poisoning. The nausea, vomiting and — well, let’s just say it was a shitty passage into 2024.
From my vantage point, now fully recovered (and highly skeptical of Chilean sea bass), the only place to go is up.
Last year I chose “peaceful” as my word of the year, based on whatever lofty intention I was looking to carry out this time last year. But if you’ve been following along, you might remember last year was the antithesis of peaceful. Chaotic? Yes. Emotional? Hell yes!
So evoking an ubiquitous calm-like state was not in my cards last year. Noted. Moving on.
While my word-of-the-year approach was less prophetic than I’d hoped, I’m still not ready to give up … uh … hope. In hindsight, I understand that I have the power to become the “eye of the storm” through other means — and that peace can look and feel different in each unique situation.
For example, I can cultivate a sense of peace in my living environment through soft lighting and natural elements. Who needs a reason to buy more houseplants?
Whom I allow into my environment is an even larger factor. Transcending the physicality of this intention is mental peace, a state without perseverating negative thoughts.
The quest for peace, both internal and external, requires intentionality — deliberate actions to obtain the goal.
One avenue that I have discovered leading toward inner harmony along my journey is a sound bath — a meditative immersion in various tones and vibrations from instruments like singing bowls, gongs and drums.
Once healed from my food-poisoning misadventure, I attended the weekly sound bath offered at Sanctuary Imports in Plaza Midwood, a space that offers a wide variety of metaphysical goods and expertise on how to use them.
The facilitators of the sound bath provide a handful of seven brightly colored crystals, which they instruct you to place in key energetic centers along your body as the couple envelopes guests within the meditative sounds of crystal singing bowls, rain drums, chimes, symbols, gongs and more.
Before our meditative journey, they explained how our spines serve as conduits for energy throughout our bodies and chakras.
When our spines remain clear, the energy that courses through them maintains a harmonious flow. However, blockages weaken the energy supply to our bodies and chakras, hindering their optimal functioning.
With the lights low and my eyes closed, I submerged into the song of the seven different-sized singing bowls. If light had a vibration and produced sound, a sound bath would equate to being inside a prism — like a light beam filtering through a geometric piece of glass, throwing a spray of rainbow against the wall.
If it were possible to capture that feeling and lock it in a room, I could live there.
Here I will introduce to you the antiquated but relevant English word “apricity,” which I learned recently. It essentially means the warmth of the sun in winter. We’ve all experienced the unexpected warmth on our skin amidst a particularly cold winter’s day, and now there is a word for it.
“Apricity” is what I experienced during my recent sound-bath excursion, metaphorically speaking anyway. The music buoyed around me with what felt like the warmth of a winter sun, slowly melting the funk of the past year.
Much of that funk, I realize, wasn’t even mine. I’m not sure how I became the dumping ground for so many other people’s feelings, but it’s clear I have some boundary work to do over the course of the next 12 months if I want to maintain that feeling of levity.
After all, what’s better than basking in the warmth of the sun on a beautiful day? Not much comes to mind, but whatever that sensation is, I want to encapsulate and embody it. It’s hard to be a ray of fucking sunshine while you’re waterlogged with negative thoughts, though. Evidently I’ve got some work to do.
Despite the inopportune time for a sneak attack against my immune system to kick off the new year, the rediscovery of my own inner warmth has been enlightening. I’ve learned that peace is not a fixed endpoint like the image on a holiday card; it’s pliant and reveals itself in various forms.
The harmony between my environment (some of which I have control over) and inner calm, coupled with the effects of the sound bath on my spiritual well-being, has essentially reframed my understanding of what a state of rest can look like.
Words alone cannot express how eagerly I bid farewell to the past year’s most unsavory moments (and people), but I welcome an unwritten future. Each new year is a blank canvas, but my personal growth goal is clear: to fortify my positive mental attitude and reclaim a lost sense of warmth, a pursuit that transcends seasons and circumstances.
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