This post is not about singing per se, yet it has everything to do with singing, teaching and Being.
For three days the house across the street had a large truck sitting in their front yard, drilling mysteriously and incessantly. A team of 4 men maneuvered various hoses, drilling equipment and large concrete tubes in a clunky sort of worker choreography.
The first day the drilling started I, as a self-employed educator and musician who works from home, thought “uh-oh.” The sounds from the drilling equipment were at an extremely high decibel and almost immediately I started to feel subtle, chaotic vibration throughout my body. I left the house for a rehearsal and an appointment but was feeling a little sick when I drove away. My husband worked from home that day and reported feeling “weirdly washed out” when he went to do his run.
The second day I worked from home with clients and students as the manic drilling continued. By the end of the day, I felt like I had been on a wooden roller coaster for hours and had become unglued and frantic. I kept using all the breathing and grounding techniques I have learned over the years which helped, but while I was working I was aware that I was talking more frantically. I had become a sort of electric socket hanging in the middle of the air, waiting for lightening to strike.
One of our cats began throwing up and was clearly out of sorts. He stopped eating and he periodically stared at nothing with his ears back in distress.
I was well-aware that the chaotic patterns of vibration at high decibal levels were causing entrainment in our bodies so that we had begun to vibrate in chaos, too. My music studio is located at basement level, so the sound was somewhat muffled but I could still physically feel things.
The third day I got through the morning and then went across the street to find out what the hell was going on. I had noticed that the neighbors had not been home the whole time. How convenient. But their 15-year-old son was home. As I walked past the truck, the noise was so loud that I felt my throat close and I quickly became depressed. I wondered how the hello those workers could do what they were doing. A few of them had industrial strength ear plugs, but that wouldn’t keep those vibrations from hitting their bodies.
It turns out that the neighbors were getting geo-thermal heating, but it was clear they did not know it would cause so much disruption to the neighborhood. I told the son that it was an exciting and good thing they were doing, but, ironically, the process was making people and animals sick. He agreed and said he was feeling sick himself. I told him about our cat and asked when the drilling would stop. And then I said I needed to know if they were drilling on Monday because I would to make plans to work away from the house if they would be back.
My mother had come over that morning and began to experience some similar symptoms. After lunch together we spontaneously drove to my friend’s house, about 3 miles away, who has a magic garden on 1/4 of an acre.
It was softly raining. Nina and Lewis have a new enclosed space in the garden and Mom and I sat there for over an hour, drinking in the quiet and stillness, the birdsong and wetness dropping. I took off my shoes and stood in the moss and wet earth. The urge to lay face down in the mud was a measure how badly I needed to recalibrate. It made me sad that my own garden was not a place of refuge at that point.
Hallelujah, when we returned to the house the monster trucks were leaving. And they didn’t come back.
hummmm. funny how that works. By staying in the environment that was making me sick, and trying to soldier through, I was causing a sort of resistance to feeling better. The minute I left the environment to do what felt better, the outer situation ceased to be. All I know is that I went and took care of myself, and then the calm appeared on the outside.
And Odin, the cat, is ok, too.
Tend what you allow into the garden of your ears because that is what you will become….
Sunflower, cut paper collage, by Angela Neely and Cate Frazier-Neely, 2000