Aria: Song of Self

This meditation is a companion to Love Your Rebellion, Issue 15: Metamorph. To complete the final steps of the activity, purchase Issue 15 here.

Created by Rebecca Martinez-Thomas, LMFT
"Aria: Song of Self" Audio Transcription

Welcome to Love Your Rebellion, Issue 15: Metamorph.

Change is the only constant. You and everything around you are in a never-ending state of flux. This movement allows you to learn, grow, and transform. Adapting to this flux builds resilience, which can be witnessed all around us, like in the changing of seasons: how the earth transitions each year, growing anew, but remaining connected to its legacy. Cycles of death and rebirth often mark eras of significant development. (Like the pruning of synapses in our brains during adolescence which makes room for increased efficiency and deeper complexity.) Metamorphosis can feel like the Dark Night of the Soul, like Persephone’s descent into Hades. 

Supporting your belief in the present moment’s power of transformation can root you in fruitful visions of the future. However, it may take your continued belief that nurturing a seedling, although you have not yet seen it sprout, will result in a full bloom. How else does something grow? In the dark, with the promise of light.

Humans have gravitated towards routine for eons. It fosters predictability, stability, and safety, and gives us the illusion of control over our lives. Change can feel chaotic, scary, and painful. So it is natural to resist change, but when we do the flowing river becomes stagnant. Eventually, that damn may break. That’s why it’s integral you see yourself as ever-changing, like waves that constantly break; seeds that get carried to new destinations on the wind; plants that are barren in the winter and bloom in the spring; fire that clears the land for new growth in the now fertile soil. You are the Metamorph.

 Love Your Rebellion Issue 15 brings together the resilience of the earth and its elements with the resiliency of human life. Throughout the issue, the LYR staff leads you through activities that support your ever-changing being. Each activity is anchored to an element, and can be used to activate your connection to yourself as you experience change, transformation, or transition.

Find a private space where you can lay or sit comfortably. We will now begin with a meditation and mantra activity, Aria: Song of Self.

Many cultures and religions value the power of words, whether spoken aloud or thought, and have practices of prayer, chanting, singing, and reading. Words can shape our mood, outlook, and emotional and mental health. Two ways to use the power of words to support your transformation are through mantras and affirmations. The terms mantra and affirmation have been used interchangeably, but both have unique histories and applications. 

Mantra, sanskrit for “mind vehicle” is a tool rooted in Hinduism and Buddhist meditation, to settle and focus the mind. A mantra can be a word, sound, phrase or invocation, usually chanted or sung as an incantation, in sanskrit or any other language. The focus of a mantra is not so much about making meaning of the word, but about the vibrational impact the repetitive sound waves have on our frequencies. Mantras are often thought of as sacred and typically used during prayer and meditation. 

Affirmations, born out of neuroscience from the 1970’s, are statements or phrases, which are used to counter negative automatic thoughts. Affirmations can be used at any time and typically address a desire as if it were already achieved in the present moment. Deepak Chopra defines affirmations as “a way to reprogram your consciousness, to change our reality” he says that “when you reprogram your consciousness, you reinvent yourself”. Using affirmations daily can influence how we think, how we feel, our perception, our relationships, our interactions, our behaviors, our environments, and our biology. 

Mantras and affirmations alike have been found to support problem solving, reduce stress and anxiety, increase confidence, provide clarity, and increase the likelihood of personal success. 

Words alone are unlikely to work miracles, the magic comes from the faith, intention, and energy you put in. 

This activity is aimed to support you in creating your own personalized song of self. Created from an affirmation which you can use as a mantra. 

I invite you to take a deep breath in through your nose, filling yourself with air. On the exhale, open your mouth and release, if that feels good to you. Let’s take another breath in through your nose and send it down into your belly. Feel your chest open up to make room for as much air as you can take in. On the exhale, I invite you to let the air rush out of you, welcoming any sounds that come out. Again drink in as much air as you can, really filling your diaphragm--the part of your belly that sits right below your ribs and above your belly button. And again exhale through your mouth, releasing any sounds that come along. 

With your next breath, make the sound you release even more exaggerated. For example breathe in deep, then out ahhhhhhhhhhhh. Inhale and exhale release. Allow your body to move with your inhale and exhale. On the inhale open and expand, on the exhale release, melt, wilt. Begin to make your movements with your body bigger and your exhale sound louder. Once more, big inhale, open up. Now big exhale, let it out. Slowly allow your breath to return to its natural rhythm, peacefully.

Imagine the playful spirit of gust of wind, the soothing caress of a gentle breeze in the summer heat, or the power and ferocity of ocean winds that fill sails and propel ships to far off destinations. Windmills harness the wild of the wind, what if you could harness your own inner air magic? What would it look like to greet the winds of change and embrace them? 

What messages, carried on the wind, do you need to hear. Consider where you have been and what challenges may lie ahead. What words could help get your through. You may have heard them from a loved one, read them somewhere sometime, or they may have simply floated into your consciousness. It may be a phrase or statement. Take your time to consider just how you want to hear what you need to hear. I recommend it be affirmative and with abundance in mind like “I am” or “I have” rather than “I don’t”, “I can’t”, or “I want”. The message I need today is: I root down to weather the storm. Another example is: I am safe, I am sound.

Say your message aloud or to yourself. Take a deep breath in and say it again. Breath in, sending the breath down, like before and on your exhale say your message, your affirmation. Continue to repeat your affirmation with deep breaths in between. 

Now we can put it to music and like a mnemonic device help it stick around in our minds easier. For example: “I root down to weather the storm” (sung 4) then “I am safe, I am sounds” (sung twice).

A natural melody may begin to develop. If so, follow it. If not and music feels less organic to you, think of a melody, line of a song, or jingle that you like. See if you can transform your affirmation to fit the melody in your mind. Play with the syllables and timing until it feels good to you. 

You can use this aria affirmation during intentional mindfulness practice or whenever you need to hear that message. 

Next we can develop a mantra for today. See if you can condense your affirmation to its core message of maybe a word or two. This is your mantra. Mine would be, “Root down” or “Safe and sound”. You can then use this mantra by singing or chanting. To get started here, I like to focus on repeating the first syllable and building on it when I feel ready until I am repeating the word or phrase like this: (repeat w/ method described, root). You can also approach this from another route. You could start with a sound or melody you like and fit the mantra to it like (sing, “safe and sound” mantra).

You can begin with chanting or singing your mantra for about a minute or so and work up to longer the more comfortable you are with the practice. Your air arias are yours so they can shift with the winds, whenever your needs call. Feel free to come back to this practice any time you want to harness the wind to fill your sails.