Terra Naomi is a professional singer-songwriter who also helps people to feel better through her exclusive sound meditation, mixing breathwork sessions, and her amazing and relaxing vocalizations. We met Terra during our first circling session with Andrea Bendewald where she shared her holistic approach and we wanted to know more about her journey. In our conversation, Terra describes how sound baths and breathwork can improve wellness. She also talks about her career in music and the purpose behind it.
Terra Naomi: I’m a singer-songwriter, that’s been my career for the last 15 years, and I also compose music and facilitate sound meditation and breathwork sessions.
Honestly, I don’t think I have a mantra that defines me, but two words would be determination and tenacity because I find myself leaning on those qualities a lot throughout my career and my life.
Sound meditation is the use of harmonic instruments to create frequencies and sounds that have an effect on the brain to quiet the brainwave activity and allow people to fall into a state of meditation relatively quickly. A lot of us struggle with sitting there, breathing, and waiting to reach that state of stillness. The hardest thing for most people is to get into the state of meditation.
The frequencies and overtones of harmonic instruments help create a meditative space in a relatively short amount of time. Once you can fall into that state, very deep emotional, physical, and energetic healing can happen. However, I don’t call myself a healer but I consider myself to be someone that facilitates a space for people to heal themselves.
I think this time in the world right now is really about reclaiming the power of ourselves and with that power, reclaiming our responsibility. We need to be responsible for our own wellbeing and claiming what we need to take and what we need to receive for ourselves.
The breath is very simple but very powerful. When people first come into a session, they expect it to be deep and slow breathing that a lot of us have done in yoga, which is wonderful, too. But this is called breathwork, so it’s literally “work”. [laughs] It’s meant to be uncomfortable, to push and move that energy through our bodies, to cleanse and release. We do the active breath for about 20 minutes, followed by a long period of rest and sound meditation.
People are often surprised by how intense the breathwork is. It’s a very heart-opening breath, and it brings up all kinds of resistance. There are direct channels that flow right out from our hearts into our palms and our fingers. It can have an intense physical response as well as massive emotional clearing.
There are many benefits, like an energetic release of past trauma, a balancing of the nervous system, relief from anxiety and panic, deep calm and relaxation. It can enhance energy, inspiration, and creativity, and can also help with sleep issues. It’s great for letting go of fear and introducing a sense of peace that so many of us need right now.
I spend a lot of time thinking about that. As a really passionate and focused person, I sometimes can get so intense and forget the joy part of everything that I’m working on in my life. The minute I start setting up and preparing the space for my sessions, I just light up and get so excited. Doing those sessions and even after, during the whole night, it’s like an emotional high for me.
Also, I’m writing a musical right now and basically, any engaging with my creativity makes me feel elated. Sharing it with other people brings me a lot of joy and happiness. That’s my method of connection and I think what makes all of us feel good is connection. When I’m able to connect through my creativity, then I really feel fulfilled. Fulfillment is another thing that we all crave for because that brings us joy and happiness.
For me, creativity is really just a way to connect.
This is something I work on every day, as someone who has a lot of different areas of focus — my breathwork and sound meditation, my artist career, the musical I’m currently writing, being a good friend, daughter, sister, wife, and dog mom — there are many different pieces to my life, and I want to be authentic in the ways I engage with all of them.
I believe the key to authenticity is allowing ourselves to move through the different versions of ourselves, and not stay attached to one idea of who we are. I think what brings a lot of suffering is staying really rigid, as opposed to being more fluid and continuing to check-in and ask yourself, Who am I today? At this point in my life, what do I want? What truly brings me happiness and joy? Because it’s not the same things that brought me happiness and joy twenty years ago.
One time that comes to my mind was when I played solo with my guitar at Wembley Stadium in front of 85,000 people. I was invited to be part of Al Gore’s Live Earth concert at Wembley Stadium in 2007. I was just starting my career, and it was really overwhelming, exciting, and wonderful. Sharing my music with so many people and receiving a massive amount of energy back, it was wild.
The most important things in my life are family, which includes my friends and my dog, music, and my spiritual practices. I never know whether to separate the music and the meditation because to me they’re like different arms of the same body. I guess the category of “music” for me would be my singing and songwriting, writing the musical, and composing. Meditation is really where I do all my spiritual practice and share that with other people.
Those three things are pretty much equally important and also interdependent. Music is a tricky one for me because it’s not just making the music — it’s also my career and my livelihood, and I put expectations and pressure on it that I don’t put on my family or my spiritual practices.
At this point in my life, I just want to be able to create authentically and see where it goes. I’m finally in a place where I’m happy letting go of control. In the past, I had expectations about where I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to do and what success would look like, in that societal definition of what success means.
These last few months have been hard, but I feel very fortunate that this time has also enabled me to really get clear on my set of activities and habits, and it’s helped to clarify what’s important to me and what I need to do to stay OK, no matter what is happening around me.
The main thing I need to remember is to continue to take the pressure off of myself. Having lots of healthy habits is great, but I can also get a little rigid sometimes, and demanding of myself. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and I would like to make a habit of letting that go! I also need to get better at resting and taking time to do nothing.
There was a woman named Maryam Ajayi who was in one of my breathwork training. She has a healing center and she is very, driven in her purpose and her goals with her healing practice.
Photo cover by Lorenzo Morandi
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