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Joanna Grace of Sound Healing Energy: Five Things We Can Do To Develop Serenity And Support Each Other During These Anxious Times

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

I’m a real advocate for listening to calming music or making music yourself! If you don’t play an instrument or sing, you can tap your fingers to the beat in a song or move around a bit. Have a dance party with yourself or with a friend. Often times when we focus on the music outside of us or music we create within us, we are transported into a space of not feeling the pain. It’s like the music gives us permission to feel hopeful and relaxed.

As a part of my series about the things we can do to develop serenity and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Joanna Grace.

Joanna empowers caring adults to experience personal healing and creative expression so they can embrace their natural ability to heal with sound. Her degrees and certifications are in Music Performance, Sound Reiki, Healing Sounds, Emotional Intelligence and Mental Health First Aid. She facilitates Sound Healing sessions for individuals, those with chronic illness, caregivers, business owners, fitness gyms and people seeking relief from daily stressors.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

I grew up in a family with a loving mother and loving sister however my father was emotionally abusive which left me feeling on edge about how to behave and what his reactions would be. I didn’t feel safe with him and I was often teased to tears. I bottled up my emotions because expressing them was too dangerous. It was incredibly stressful for me but I found my emotional haven by learning to play the piano and the (french) horn. When I practiced my instruments, I felt safe to express my emotions and had an outlet for my stress.

After my Masters degree in Music, I had my own studio and taught students of all ages. I realized that I could help them express blocked emotions by providing certain pieces for them to play. And in doing so, I have taken the pain of my own childhood trauma and used it in a positive way to help others use music for personal healing and expression. I continue to teach music lessons. And I offer customized Sound Healing sessions, creating customized healing sounds for my clients to relieve physical and emotional tension.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

I recall the first time that I met with a client who suffered from PTSD, anxiety and mobility challenges. As usual, we started the session talking about his personal pain, current emotions and ultimate goal of resilience. Then, we shifted to the Sound Healing part in which I curated the healing sounds for him to release some of that pain in our time together. What I wasn’t prepared for was his question at the end of the session.

He said to me “I don’t need another session with you. How much would you charge me to rent this quiet room by myself?” I was stunned! “Quiet room?” I was right there with him the whole hour making music with my voice and instruments while connecting with his energy! There was nothing quiet, in my opinion, about the session he just experienced. There had been a recording of healing music playing in the background and I was actively using my voice and instruments close to his body to zone in on shifting the physical and emotional pain he was going through.

After a pause, I responded to his question when I realized, from his perspective, the healing sounds helped him quiet his inner turmoil of thoughts and agitation. He felt like he had just experienced a “quiet room”. But he wasn’t yet aware that I had created an abundance of healing sounds in the room. Even if he didn’t consciously hear the healing music customized for his session, he absorbed the healing sounds that calmed his mind. His take-away was finally experiencing inner peace. It seemed as though the sounds I created for him cancelled out the noise in his head and he felt as though he had just experienced a “quiet room”.

What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?

I hear this a lot from business owners and friends When I hear someone complaining about not having the time to do something they want to do and repeating “I don’t have time for that”, I know it’s exactly the right time for them to make the time.

A client said to me recently “This is terrible that I lost the extra car key. I don’t have time to get a replacement key made for my car. The appointment itself takes 2 hours and then I have to schedule it around my kids. It would be different if I were single but I’m married and I more things to manage now.”

Certainly, it can seem stressful or overwhelming. However let’s take a different perspective on that. When this busy mom schedules time for the 2-hour appointment to get the car key replaced, what will she do during the 2 hours? From my perspective, it’s an opportunity to do something different, take a break from routine. She could sit in a chair at the dealership and take a nap or she could read part of a book that she wouldn’t have made time for otherwise. Maybe take a walk in the neighborhood and discover some new sights or have a pleasant conversation with a stranger. Even being pushed to take for time for something out of your busy schedule can actually be a welcome diversion to take a break and come back to regular activities feeling refreshed.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

As someone who is fascinated with how sounds can affect us, I would ask other leaders to consider the sounds that are in their work environment. Are there beeping sounds constantly like at a grocery store check-out line? Or is there a construction site next door? If people are yelling across cubicles, that could be distracting for some employees.

I would encourage leaders to consider adding recordings of healing sounds or even silent spaces into their work environment. Some workers require more quiet to work effectively and it’s good practice to consider supporting workers with healthy sound environment for greater focus and productivity.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Louise Hay’s “Heal Your Body: The Mental Causes for the Physical Illness and the Metaphysical Way to Overcome Them” has impacted me. Aside from the controversy around how much of our illness or physical pain we have control over or not, the concept of a physical illness resulting from our thoughts and emotional blocks is fascinating to me. From my own experience, I’ve been diagnosed with 4 chronic illnesses and been told there is “no cure” for them. However, I no longer have symptoms that affect my daily enjoyment of life. So, what contributed those chronic illnesses disappearing over time? I would like to believe that my mindset, attitude and Sound Healing has helped me be healthier and combat the downward trajectory of these chronic diagnoses.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious just from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.

I’d like to share my framework of GRACE. In addition to my last name being Grace, each letter stands for an action step we can take to develop more serenity and resilience in difficult times.

G is for Giving. Ask yourself, who and what are you giving attention to? Where and why? Some people give a lot and feel great by giving. But sometimes people may give out of obligation and feel drained by it. Noticing the feelings and shifts in your energy provide information about what could be best for you.

R is for Receiving. Who and what do you receive energy from? How can you incorporate more of that into your life? If you are giving more of your time, energy and resources than you are receiving, you will likely feel drained, depleted and even resentful over time. Ask yourself: What activities light you up and bring you joy? If you can have more experiences of bringing in the joy without feeling guilty for it, then you will likely have more energy and enthusiasm.

A is for Acknowledging what is going well. Sometimes we can feel so hopeless about our own situations and the news in the world. And, yes, there are some things beyond our control. When we can acknowledge what we’re happy for (a conversation with a friend, having a place to live, hearing a song on the radio) we shift ourselves into a more positive mindset.

C is for Change what you choose. Change can be wonderful and change can be scary. In my opinion, we have a lot more choice to change things than we think. We tend to limit ourselves by saying we can’t do things. But really we can do whatever we want. What we’re afraid of are the consequences of the actions we could take. I’m certainly not advocating to go out and do whatever you want. But you can choose to do something and you can choose not to. And, there are always ways to make small changes in our perspective, situation or response to others that will positively influence our experiences.

E is for Empower and Express yourself. Once you’ve evaluated how your energy ebbs and flows with different people, activities and responsibilities in your life you can enhance your perspective on what is going well and if you want to make any changes. Then it’s celebration time when you feel empowered in your awareness, choices and actions! Express yourself verbally, or through music, dancing, art, sports or anything else that you like!

From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

Listening is the most crucial part. Truly hearing someone without an agenda to fix them or their situation is a real gift. For a person who’s feeling anxious, just being there could be enough for them to feel some relief. You can ask them what they need or want and see if you’re comfortable helping in that way. Sometimes people don’t know what they need or want, they simply want relief from their symptoms. So perhaps put on a piece of music and listen to it together. Share space together without talking. That is a gift also! And be patient with the person and also with yourself! It can feel frustrating to want to help someone and not be clear on how be most helpful. Again, I reiterate your presence of being there is so important. Anyone who is anxious is very likely to appreciate you being there for them, even if they forget to say thank you!

What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?

I’m a real advocate for listening to calming music or making music yourself! If you don’t play an instrument or sing, you can tap your fingers to the beat in a song or move around a bit. Have a dance party with yourself or with a friend. Often times when we focus on the music outside of us or music we create within us, we are transported into a space of not feeling the pain. It’s like the music gives us permission to feel hopeful and relaxed.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

It would be a huge gift for me to see and hear more people making music together and creating music for their own healing. I imagine that world leaders were required to sing together or play in a symphony orchestra before global meetings, there wouldn’t be so many conflicts or wars. Creating music together requires give and take, mutual respect and really being team players. I would love for the arts to find a permanent way into political debates. Enough said. ☺

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

Visit my website for a free audio to “Calm Your Mind in 5 Minutes”. You can also join my Activate Resonance Community on Facebook

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

Joanna Grace of Sound Healing Energy: Five Things We Can Do To Develop Serenity And Support Each… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.