The Health Benefits of Sheltering-In-SOUND
Have you ever discovered a place so beautiful, so spectacular, so peaceful, that you just had to share it with everyone?
That's what happened to me as I began exploring the extraordinary healing potential of sound and vibration. When I opened The Vestibule Center for Sound Living, I had one goal—to guide people to that beautiful place—to the Still Sound Center within. This is the place where stress and pain vanish, and health and harmony return.
What I just described was brought home to me in a very personal way. One day, while participating in a shamanic healing retreat at beautiful Lake Shasta in Northern California, the sky opened and music fell in.
And I started singing. (Up to that moment I had been a professional actress for 30 years who didn’t…couldn’t…wouldn’t… sing.) For six hours I sang, all the while aware that I wasn’t singing alone. All of Creation was singing in frequencies of color, light, and sound in an infinitely complex and beautiful tapestry. I was in awe…and absolutely at peace.
That’s when I learned firsthand that we are made of Sound. Everything in us and around us vibrates at its own particular frequency.
The result can be a discordant cacophony or a sweet symphony.
In these unusual days of sheltering in place, our focus is rightly on protection and safety. Staying at home certainly can protect us. Nevertheless, the cacophony continues—in our environment, on the news, in our homes, in our minds, and in our bodies. When we take Shelter In SOUND, we can turn off the noise and tune into frequencies that bring harmony to our whole being.
Let’s begin with the body…
Our body is always speaking to us, just waiting for us to listen. Our muscles, tissues, and cells hold the imprint of every trauma, every joy, and every memory we experience. When we listen closely, we can hear what our body is telling us: what the nervous system is saying, what our organs are complaining about, what the voices in our ancestral field are trying to communicate, and what our soul is longing for.
When we learn how to Shelter In Sound we are able to access the deep reservoir of knowledge stored in our body.
TRY THIS: Close your eyes and imagine you’re at the seaside. Ocean waves rhythmically lap the shore, gently ebbing away before surging forward again and again. The call of a seagull occasionally punctuates the scene.
Take your time. Notice how simply recalling the sound can fill you with serenity and vitality. Note the effect on your breathing, your heart rate, your muscles, your nervous system, and your mind.
Sound waves enter our body through our ears, our skin, and our bones. Like the music of the sea, sound wave vibrations from musical instruments, singing bowls, tuning forks, and our own voices penetrate deeply to restore harmony to the body, tranquility to the heart, and clarity to the mind.
Sound in its most basic form is vibration—the movement of unseen molecular matter from one place to the next. As humans, we are made up of this same vibrational matter, and we can use sonic frequencies to literally transform our own physical and emotional makeup.
One easy way to Shelter In Sound is to turn off all your phones and devices, put on a pair of headphones, plant a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door, get cozy, and listen to some music you truly love. Or music that is new to you. Or music that takes you on a journey. It can be music that makes you want to dance or contemplative music that calms and soothes. The important part is the listening. I know it sounds simple but, be honest, when is the last time, if ever, you gave yourself a whole hour to bathe yourself in music of your own choosing?
Now, to become a true Shelter-In-Sound maestro, consider not only the sound we hear, but also the sound we feel, and the sound we make. Our voices, in fact, are the single most powerful healing instrument we possess. It requires no heavy carrying case…and it’s absolutely free!
TRY THIS: Sit comfortably with your spine upright. With eyes closed and lips pursed gently together, begin to hum. Find a note that vibrates most vigorously in your neck and the mask of your face. Now hum gently—on that same note—for three minutes. You can set a timer if you like. Breathe whenever you need to and pay attention to the sensation caused by the vibrations of your hum.
After three minutes, release the hum. With eyes still closed, abide in the vibrations you’ve just awakened. Listen to the Inner Sound. Once again, take your time and notice any shifts in your body and mind. Can you feel the stillness beyond the sound?
Congratulations! You’ve just become your very own sound healer.
From this simple practice, you may have gotten an inkling that Sheltering In Sound can take us to dimensions far beyond simply sheltering in place. With sound, we can travel outside the limits of time and space, and way beyond the confines of our own four walls. Through sound, we find ourselves opening to a vast inner landscape of infinite beauty and potential.
SOUND AND MUSIC ARE THE FOUNDATION OF THE MOST ANCIENT HEALING ARTS.
Today it is emerging on the cutting edge of spiritual practice, holistic healing, and medical technology. More than ever before, we are seeking new (and old) ways to find balance, reduce stress, relieve pain, and deal with the ever-changing demands of life that is anything but normal right now.
At this writing, we are approaching six months into a pandemic that has risen to catastrophic proportions here in the U.S., and we still have more questions than answers. Is it safe to go out? When will our kids be able to go back to school? How long is this going to last? Is my job at risk? When can I visit with my friends and family without fear?
All this uncertainty takes a toll on our nervous system, which truly thrives only when we know with confidence that we are safe, sound, and socially connected. The ongoing stress of our present circumstances is showing up in disrupted sleep patterns, increased irritability, relationship challenges, emotional instability, inability to focus, excessive fatigue, and prolonged anxiety. Even for those who take pride in "keeping it all together," there is a secret toll on the emotional system that puts us at greater relational risk, and on the immune system that puts us at greater physical risk.
Sound medicine offers a harmonious approach that promotes wellness of the whole human and forges connection within groups and communities.
Remember the communities in Sienna, Italy, at the beginning of the pandemic, singing with neighbors from their balconies? And the scores of New Yorkers banging on pots and pans to greet each other at the end of long days in isolation? Knowingly or not, they instinctively found a way to Shelter In Sound in the safety of their communities.
Sound healing (aka Sheltering In Sound) harnesses the therapeutic potential of a wide variety of sonic experiences to positively affect our whole being. By using sound with knowledge and intention, we can target its restorative benefits to promote greater physical, mental and emotional health.
SOUND HEALING IS NOT JUST FOR THE SICK.
In fact, about seven years ago, I changed the name of my practice from the "Vestibule Center for Sound Healing" to the "Vestibule Center for SOUND LIVING." That’s because Sound is something we live with…always. It’s an ever-present, non-stop feature of our lives. It’s part of our foundation, and we crave for that foundation to be, well, SOUND. How often do we hear the expressions “sound mind,” “sound body,” “sound health,” “sound business,” “sound advice,” “sound thinking,” to name a few?
This speaks to our profound need to feel grounded and balanced. Sound can do that for us. Half of the time, clients come to me to get their feet on the ground and get back into their bodies so they can meet the challenges of the day with assurance and focused attention. Others seek release from pain and stress. And still others desire to access a higher realm of consciousness, where they can receive healing, guidance, and inspiration directly from their Source.
Recall my initiation into the Dimension of Sound at Lake Shasta? There I experienced complete immersion in a liminal realm of Divine inspiration. In this transcendent state, as I was pondering the meaning of my experience, I was surprised to hear—clear as a bell in my right ear—a distinctly male voice speak with great authority, “You are downloading everything you need for your future work.”
Well, I took those words to heart, and from that moment, my life was changed. I embarked on a dedicated course of study in the healing power of sound, and what is now The Vestibule Center for Sound Living was born.
For more than a dozen years, I've been sharing what I've learned, helping people realize the vast healing and stabilizing potential we possess through our own ears and voices. During the course of this pandemic, I have been offering free online Shelter-In-Sound Sessions to support all who need it.
PLEASE CLAIM YOUR FREE SESSION NOW, and let's bring more harmony to this crazy world, one heartbeat at a time.
May you and all you love be safe and sound,
Drawing on a vast array of experience as a performing artist, workshop facilitator, and intrepid explorer of the inner realms, Valerie offers a multi-modal healing approach that embraces the scientific, performative, and transformative power of voice, sound and music. Valerie holds certifications in Sound Healing from the California Institute of Integral Studies, the Acutonics Institute of Integrative Medicine, Integrated Listening Systems, Advanced Brain Technologies, and the Vox Mundi School of the Voice, in addition to enjoying a distinguished career as a professional writer and actress. Valerie is co-author with Silvia Nakkach of Free Your Voice: Awaken to Life Through Singing. She holds an MFA in Theatre Arts from NYU and a BA in Comparative Literature from Stanford University. www.sound-living.com