Amanda M. Borghi
Click on "read more" at bottom right to learn more about Borghi and her outreach during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Borghi has taken a journey through diverse educational and professional paths that now empower her in the present to provide services and create space for people to become curious about their life experience and the unique path they can cultivate to heal and celebrate who they are.
Originally from Michigan, Borghi, her husband and their dogs moved to Albany in 2017.
What have you done in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
My response was to observe and then find a way to contribute. My contribution came in the way of offering Free Virtual Sound Experiences for those seeking a modality to relieve stress during this time of increased strain, fear and facing the unknown.
I thought it was important to learn what we were dealing with and understand the changes for myself, friends and family. Each day felt like a twist, turn or new development was around the corner. As much as my initial instinct was to help, I wanted to be mindful and intentional with my choices, both personally and professionally.
Once I understood the dynamics of COVID and the impact on the community I decided it was important to make my Sound Experiences safely accessible to the community.
Free Virtual Sound Friday launched Friday, April 10. This is a 30-minute, live virtual sound experience where I was able to broadcast from my home. Since then, each Friday I have hosted these sessions, which have been well attended by people not only locally, but across the county. I have also had the opportunity to provide a sound session to fourth-graders in New York City via their virtual class environment that their teacher arranged with me to help her students with stress.
I launched my Virtual Sound Experiences several weeks after the stay-at-home order was issued. I wanted to mindfully help people with my training, knowledge and skillset. I took the time needed to prepare, practice and troubleshoot elements from a technology standpoint. I also made sure I was prepared energetically to hold space for my participants. It was vital to me to not only create an offering for people but to do so with as much quality as I could cultivate.
People often join these sessions when they are at the height of stress and strain and the pandemic presented a whole new level of chaos and unknown. As a facilitator I consider it a privilege to hold space for people and a responsibility I do not enter lightly. It was no less important and perhaps even more now because of physical separation to be ready to not only support participants during the experience but to be available after for any questions they may have. Not being able to see them as I facilitate took adjusting and reformatting an offering I had only ever done in person.
How did your background inspire you to do this?
Along with my Sound Healing certification, I am a certified yoga instructor, which helped me to offer a variety of calming breathing practices, as well as ways to physically assist the body in relaxing. It is really amazing how shallow and limited our breath becomes in times of stress. it may seem simply but reminding people to breath deep is always the first step I ask them to take prior to a session.
How has this pandemic impacted you personally and professionally?
Personally, the pandemic has been a time of growth for me, a time to turn inward and examine many aspects of my life. It was also a time I felt varying waves of anxiety, felt emotional for those who were struggling and suffering. I did not let those emotions immobilize me. I chose to seek out who I could help, whether it be a small gesture or beyond. For the first part, that meant reaching out to those who might feel the challenge of isolation with messages and phone calls. It meant donating and supporting artists as they sought out how to compensate their incomes. It meant supporting my home studio, 229 Yoga, with my skill set and making sure our clients felt connected to us even with our doors closed.
This time has been a huge learning experience for me. It demanded that I practice what I teach to my students. It has revealed to me how ingrained our bodies and minds are to be constantly pushing at a fast pace. It is not only okay but necessary to rest without guilt. I learned how deeply I needed to slow down and appreciate time. I learned how important connection is to me. I learned how much a hug does for a spirit and how hard it is to not be able to share this simple gesture. I felt proud of the human spirits around me as I watched so many people find creative and inspired ways to support their communities and one another. I know there was so much negative out there but I chose to see the positive.
Professionally, it has included a wide range of emotions from feelings of total loss and instability to a point of inspiration. I am now thinking more broadly about my work and how to make it accessible no matter the circumstances. I once only thought of my business in one light, in one lane. I didn't realize how many times I thought, "Oh, I can't do this or that." Now I think, who am I not to learn, try and do? The business plan I had been constructing was ripped up and now what I am creating is more than I ever envisioned before and I cannot wait to see what I am capable of.
The pandemic has inspired so many to seek out modalities to cope with stress and now more than ever I can see my work ahead of me and I am thankful I chose to walk this path so I can offer others what has saved my life and given me the ability to move past my own challenges, my anxiety and understand of my life's experience.
Understanding, reflection, curiosity and movement.
This time has presented so many new emotional experiences for people along with uprooting those that existed prior. When the term “unprecedented times” is said, it could not be more true. We were already a strained society that elevated fast-pace lifestyles, and often not supporting mental health and a balanced life outlook and approach.
When we experience challenging emotions, thoughts and feelings in our body it only compounds when we judge ourselves for it and tell ourselves we are wrong for feeling a way or having a thought. Often suppressing it and ignoring feelings. We do not honor that we are human BEINGS and BEING a human, is to FEEL that experience. Emotions are not organized, predictable or linear. We do not always have to have a clear definition of them. But we do need to honor them and give ourselves grace and understanding that it is OKAY TO FEEL! I try to be curious about my emotions, rather than judge. Why might I feel this way? Where did this come from? What can I do to help or support myself through it?
I have tried to provide myself the space to reflect on this time and what I am feeling as things shift and change. I do so without judgement and then try to cultivate anything that brings me joy and contentment. We can get so dragged down in the negativity that I think it is vital to seek out unapologetic joy and to share that with others to help elevate their experience.
Lastly, movement for me is critical. It is how I have dealt with stress for as long as I can remember. I find when I am facing mental and emotional challenges the simplest movement of my body helps shift the energy and I am always better off for it. Being outside helps to get me back in my body and see what is. I feel anxiety very physically so for me it is almost like being able to move those feelings up and out and I can better think my way through.
What has community engagement been like? What platforms do you use?
Community support and engagement has been amazing and I am filled with gratitude. I have received incredible feedback and I am loving that people are cultivating a relaxation routine at home. I never imagined I would be doing this work virtually and now I cannot imagine not maintaining this offering, but only making it better and better.
Because of the response I plan on maintaining the Virtual Sound Experiences indefinitely.
I began on Instagram Live, but starting in June will shift to YouTube Live so the experiences can be recorded and housed longer so participants can have access whenever their schedule allows.
I speak a great deal on cultivating a relaxation routine for yourself. A physical space in your home where you will not be interrupted. To disconnect from all devices and notifications. To perhaps create an atmosphere that is filled with reminders that this is your time to relax and be at ease, such as lighting a candle or sage, low lighting or finding a beautiful place in nature. Headphones are recommended. My hope is participants get to a point where just stepping into that space triggers a deep breath and feeling of relaxation. I now envision not just supporting people in classes, but empowering them in their homes, where they spend the most time, to take care of themselves and make their relaxation a priority on a more regular basis!
When all of this is finally behind us, what is the first thing you want to do?
Give everyone hugs! Long ones. I am over not being able to hug people and looking all awkward with catching myself arms halfway extended and stopping short.
I also want to take all I learned in this time and the many thoughts that have opened my mind, spirit and heart and continue to grow in that knowledge. There is value in slowing down. There is value in self care. Creativity can be cultivated in challenge. Fear can be dissolved with curiosity and love. The unknown can be faced with a deep breath one step at a time. Communication and connection are amazing gifts and I plan to celebrate those far more than I ever did prior to this pandemic.
Follow me on Instagram @inherentsound.