The kids are screaming, the dog is barking, the washing machine is spinning, the dishwasher is humming, the TV is on, the ipad is beeping and I feel myself getting more and more irritated as I try to put my tired baby back to sleep for the fifth time today…
I start thinking thoughts like:
I start reciting the Serenity Prayer…"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference."
And here is what God and I came up with:
1. If possible…STOP THE SOUND!
And there you have it! Silence! Well, relative silence!
Notice how you can now relax more, breathe more deeply, hear yourself think a little straighter…
2. MASK THE SOUND
If you can’t get rid of the kids or TV won’t turn off…try masking the irritating sound by:
3. IF YOU CAN’T BEAT ‘EM JOIN ‘EM!!
The kids are banging saucepans…
The kids are singing the same song over and over and over again…
The lawnmower is going for it next door…
The dog is barking (again)…
The 3 year old is winging…
The kids are laughing and being super silly in the back of the car…
You know…the typical sounds you hear in your everyday life as a mother…
If you can’t stop or mask the noise for whatever reason here’s what you can do!
Make that crazy sound that is driving you nuts! Use your voice and copy the annoying sound you hear! Go on! GO FOR IT!
Not only will you feel better but your kids (who are just being kids after all) haven’t been shamed again for expressing themselves.
4. The Ultimate Solution – BECOME TRANSPARENT
If you can’t stop the sound, mask the sound, or make a sound, what a great opportunity you now have to practice transparency!
Eckhart Tolle writes in The Power of Now,
“Feel yourself become transparent, as it were, without the solidity of a material body. Now allow the noise to pass right through you. It is no longer hitting a solid “wall” inside you. Practice with little things first. The car alarm, the dog barking (a good one for me!!), the children screaming (another good one for me!!). Instead of having a wall of resistance inside you that gets constantly and painfully hit by things that “should not be happening” let everything pass through you.”
Similar to number 3 but you don’t have to laugh your head off or be a lawnmower which doesn’t work too well if you happen to be in a public place! This exercise is a great spiritual practice. Put a Zen monk in a room full of screaming kids and see how enlightened he really is! Mothers are SO privileged in this way. We don’t need to meditate for hours (we can’t anyway!)…all we need is to learn to be present with ‘what is’ whether that is hearing kids playing, wiping babies bottoms, cleaning up spew, feeding baby in the middle of the night…again, pushing the 2 year old on the swing for half an hour, preparing the tenth meal for the day etc etc…
Practice being transparent with sound as it presents itself in each moment and you’ll reach “enlightenment” in no time!!
So, there you go! My 4 cents worth on coping with our sometimes incredibly noisy world! Try these out and please share with me your experiences! Let me know if you find other ways to cope with those sounds that “grate” on you!
I am now 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant. I feel physically and emotionally ready now to give birth again for the fourth time! I have set up my birthing space at home. I have my crystal singing bowl in the corner of the room ready to be played by someone throughout every contraction…the sound that will be “holding my hand” and keeping me focused as I vocalise through my labour. I have the birth pool blown up and ready to go. I have the “Feng Shui for birth” kit set up to help with cleansing and bringing the right energy into the room. I have chosen an awesome independent midwife who has made house visits from three months into my pregnancy who I have built a relationship with and who I trust completely if it comes to making any big decisions during the labour, birth and with baby in arms. I have had a Blessingway ceremony, had a beautiful henna design drawn on my belly, had professional photos taken and have completely cleaned and sorted out my “nest”.
Yes I have made many conscious choices and some people may believe that because I have “done this” three times “successfully” already I wouldn’t have any fears and all will be well…
Well, they are wrong. I’m only human after all! During this pregnancy I have experienced more fear than any other. Probably because I have read more about birth and heard many more horror birth stories since starting my birthy business, Soundbirth. Because of this I have felt SO grateful and lucky really, to have had three beautiful homebirths in the past but I also feel that if awful things like this can happen to other women then who am I to think that it couldn’t happen to me too!
Here are just some of the fears that have sometimes consumed me during this pregnancy!
-fear that my baby will die
-fear of being transferred to hospital
-fear of having to have a c-section and feeling like I have “failed”.
-fear that baby will be posteria and the labour too painful and long for me to birth naturally
-fear of the pain – especially at the end when I usually feel like I’m going to die
-fear of feeling depressed afterwards and not being able to take care of my family because of it
-fear of having to deal with sore vagina, haemorrhoids, sore nipples…
-fear of being sleep deprived…again!
STEPPING INTO THE UNKNOWN!
What I have realised is that all of these fears come down to the FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN! Because the truth is that all of these things COULD happen AND all of these things MIGHT NOT happen. I don’t know…nobody knows… The reality is that the outcome is completely out of my control!!! And we, especially in our society, are not used to feeling out of control! We want to know the outcome, we want to know how to do it, we want to know everything about everything inside and out before taking action…just in case we fail, feel pain, feel stupid and the list goes on. Giving birth though is one of those peak life experiences (close to being faced with death) that can’t give us these answers which therefore forces us to face these fears and surrender to the moment. Scary stuff for any “normal” human being…
EXPRESSING THE FEARS
What has helped me during this pregnancy was that I vocalised my fears in front of my midwife, my husband, my children, my Mum, my sister and the friends who came to my Blessingway. Yes, I cried. Yes, I felt vulnerable and shame even for feeling so fearful about things that I “should” feel confident about since a) I have done it three times before and b) I teach women how to cope with pain etc. using sound through my business!
What I realised though that after expressing and exploring the fears and tears I was able to release them…It was like the fearful thought needed to turn into a sound (spoken words) so that it became separate from my body and mind. From here I was able to see the fear for what it was (a thought) and see clearly why that thought was scary (something to do with a past experience). Only then was I able to step into the spaciousness of the UNKNOWN…because that was all that was left… The “I don’t know” mind. Scary…but SO freeing! In this space I could take a breath and be present in the moment knowing that all I actually can do is surrender and trust that the birth will unfold as it unfolds and that’s that.
If I had held in these fears because I was worried about what others would think of me or if I was afraid that if I voiced them they would come true…I would STILL be holding these fears in my body and mind. I’m sure that like my first two births they would then arise again during labour and birth and afterwards which are really not ideal times to feel be feeling anxious. I want to feel CLEAR before giving birth again. To know that I have looked at all the heavy, all-consuming thoughts and emotions so I can be fully present with my body making space for me to freely birth my baby into the world.
I feel I am ready now to face the unknown… to surrender to the awesomeness of giving birth again.
Bring it on!
The Crystal Singing Bowl is a sacred sound tool that is similar to the ancient Tibetan singing bowls. They are made from 99% quartz crystal and the sound they make is pure and resonant. They come in a variety of different sizes creating high and low pitched sounds. These bowls are normally used for "sound baths" (I call my sound bath's "Sound Nutrition Sessions" just to be different!) which assist people in becoming more relaxed and energised. They are now being used at home and hospital births by SoundBirth Practitioners and / or the birthing woman’s partner.
Here are some of the benefits of choosing to use a crystal singing bowl at your birth.
So get out your birth plan now and add: "I want the crystal singing bowl to be played by my partner or SoundBirth Practitioner throughout each and every contraction."
How do you sneeze?
What sounds do you make when you sneeze, yawn, stub your toe, cry, laugh, scream with anger? Do you express these sounds differently depending on who is in your presence? For example your kids, your mother-in-law, your best friend, your co-workers, a group of strangers, your lover. How do you censor these sounds? Why do you censor them? What thoughts in your head are telling you to be quiet, to hide, to be small, to squash down your life-force energy, to basically lie!
Find Your Authentic Voice
The first time I deeply realised how much I had been squashing down my True Self for most of my life was at a life transforming workshop called Realtime Speaking with Robert Rabbin in 2007. I cried and cried for the entire two days. I couldn’t believe how afraid I was to say my truth, to speak up, to be authentic in front of the seven other participants. I cried for all of the parts of myself I had disowned in fear that I would be rejected if I let others see them. I cried for all the people who have also been squashing down their aliveness for so long just to fit in, be accepted, be “loved”. I knew I had to let go and reveal myself to feel free yet I was afraid …and still am sometimes. Why? Because if I revealed my real voice, my actual thoughts and feelings, what if people stop liking me? What if they don’t accept me? What if I am laughed at? Ridiculed? I would be alone. This was the fear. But the other option of staying the same, of holding back my truth, of staying stuck was MORE painful and just not an option anymore. It was time to change and I was ready to take the plunge.
“We all have a true voice within us, a fiery fearless voice that tells us how to live fully and authentically. Finding our true voice and choosing to speak with that voice brings us to a state of grace.”
Play with Life
Since then I have been seeing life more as a playground which has given me permission to not take life so seriously and definitely not to take anyone else’s opinions of me seriously. What is more important now is how I move and express myself in each and every moment. Is what I say and do in alignment with ME or is what I say and do in alignment with my kids, my friends, my husband, mother, society? I have found that when I live from this authentic place life flows beautifully…without the dramas, the frustrations, resentments, the PAIN!
Powerful and Natural Pain Relief
How is this related to birth? Well, if you are censoring your sound in any way for any reason during those contractions you are creating tension in your body somewhere. Sound unexpressed is repression. This holding back will cause more pain.
“Sound releases pain from the body. Silence locks energy into the body” Wayne Perry
This is why toning is such a beneficial pain relief tool during labour. It is a focused and gentle way of releasing sound and therefore pain. It is also a powerful way to start expressing your true sound your true authentic Self. It is only when you are being authentic that you feel truly alive and free. Giving birth is no time to hold back anything! It is time to let go of any old beliefs that hold you back and enjoy the ride. What an awesome opportunity to birth not only your baby but your Self! Birth is a time for transformation on so many levels. Enjoy! Be Naked! Be real! Be fully alive!
Here are 3 tips to expressing your sounds FULLY during your labour:
Nicole Lloyd B(Mus) is a mother of four girls and creator of SoundBirth. Here she shares her experiences using sound before, during and after the birth and anything else about sound or birth that she feels like writing about!