Transitions

It’s Fall now, you can see and feel it – cooler temperatures, bright greens transitioning to bright oranges and reds… beautiful!  Things slow down, including our schedules (well, kind of).  2012 has been called a transition year, a year of The Shift.  Have you shifted? 

I know that I have.  I chose this year as a year of deep inner work, a “Shadow Work” year.  The Shadow is the part of us that we would rather not acknowledge, the parts of our personality and belief systems that we pretend are not there in order to be accepted.  We hide in order to feel accepted by others, but really the one we’re most worried about letting down is our own self.  Shadow work is a process where one acknowledges their shadow, and even welcomes and accepts it, allowing the parts of ourselves that we’ve denied to become integrated back into our personality.  Through this work, we can become whole again.  We become “real.”

It’s not easy work, though, it can be hard to take a look at those parts of ourselves that we don’t want to see and it can be even harder to accept them, especially as we get deeper into the process. The first place to look at your shadow is to notice when you say “no,” to something, notice how you say no, and notice who you are saying it to first; are you saying “no” to yourself first?  What would happen if you say “yes” to yourself first, and then communicate your answer out to the world?

Next, look at patterns that you don’t like but that keep repeating in your life.  Know that you are the source of your own experience. Period.  Anything that you experience “out there” has it’s roots within you; you brought it to pass, whether you enjoy the experience or not.  Then, look at why you are having this experience – what are your thoughts about it?  What language do you use to talk to yourself about it?  Where does it come from; what beliefs do you have about yourself are contributing to your present experience?  At their source, are they really even your beliefs? How can you change them?  At all points of this work, it can be helpful to look at polarities – what is the opposite of what you are thinking?  A good resource for polarity work is the book “Marriage of Spirit” by Leslie Temple-Thurston. 

Usually, Fall is the season that we begin to turn inward, but this year, after so many months of “sitting” with the the parts of myself that I have been avoiding – in some cases for many years, I feel like I am coming out to play again.  I’m not going to kid you and say that this work has been particularly fun or easy all the time, there are high and low points; in fact, to be honest, if the world had stopped at many points over the past year, I would have gladly gotten off.  It has been very rewarding, though, as it is true that when we step out of our comfort zone we grow the most. 

Feel free to contact me if you’d like more information on Shadow Work and integration.  I will put together an workshop on it, if there is interest. 

Namaste :)

 

What Dreams May Come

Nearly an entire year has passed since I posted here, and it has been a busy time!  I am nearly ready to head back to the Dominican Republic to teach English for 10 days.  I look forward to it, and I am curious to see how my experience this year compares.  I had a strong sense of not being done when I left last year, so I am curious to see how things unfold this time, now that over a year has passed since I was there.  I’m grateful for the experiences that I had last time, and grateful to have the opportunity to return and serve again in Habanero.  Many people have contributed to this effort this time – donating craft items, dictionaries, clothing, shoes, and on and on.  My heart overflows with gratitude.

Here at home much has changed as well, though most of it subtle.  Larger changes involved moving to a different yoga studio to teach.  I’m now at Vancouver Yoga Center in downtown Vancouver, teaching 3 classes a week, All Levels Monday nights at 7:15PM, Beginning Level 1 on Thursday nights at 6:00PM, and All Levels Sunday mornings at 8:30AM.  It’s been beautiful!  I love teaching yoga, not only does it allow others to experience it and get to know themselves in a new way, it offers me the opportunity to look at yoga in a different way and find an even deeper path.  I am continually amazed at how it all unfolds, and again, I am grateful.

Much of the change in my life, however, has been inner change.  One of the “resolutions” that I made as we watched 2011 draw to a close was to become more unapologetically myself, and that has definitely happened.  Key in my personal mission was to shed things that were keeping me from realizing who I am and what my purpose in life is.  Most of what I have shed were layers upon layers of old beliefs and thoughts that kept my life small and kept hidden what I am capable of.  Most of the beliefs I found that I had and let go of were not even my own thoughts and beliefs, they came from others who have been influential in my life.  At first I was angry, but then I saw that I had just as much a part in it as they did, and while they may have planted a seed, I was the one that allowed it to take root and grow. I may not have had a choice at first, but I do now, and I have an obligation to make wise choices. Releasing old thoughts and patterns isn’t simple or easy, it takes commitment and a lot of hard work.  The roots they put down go very deep and are often invisible at first.

I have been on a spiritual path for most of my life, though more in earnest recently.  I believe when we ask what we are here for, the meaning of life, and what our purpose is, it can be nothing other than a spiritual quest.  The answers to that question always have roots in spirit.  How that looks and feels is different for different people, we each have a path as unique as our purpose is.  My small life had been my choice, the safe path, the one that tried to avoid letting anyone down, though in the process my soul was fading and I was letting myself down.  Now I feel like I have no time to lose, and the journey is far from over.

So, in a few weeks I head off to the Dominican Republic again, to continue the work that I started last year, with a full heart.

Oneness and Love are Stronger than Fear and Hate

So much has happened since my last post!  But first of all, I have to tell you that as I sat down to write tonight, my little bird friend from my last post began rustling the leaves in the honeysuckle vine next to my patio table.  Little bird has not landed on my hand again since that day in August, but it is sure comforting to know that my wild kingdom family is nearby.  Today the wildlife theme has been frogs.  I have been surrounded by cute little bright green guys hopping around and gobbling up bugs.  Yesterday I saw the red tailed hawk again, too, and great big moths.  I will have to look that up.

Big news!  The yoga studio that I have been teaching at in the back half of the Cross Fit space is moving to an actual studio next weekend!  The new space is beautiful and serene, just like a yoga studio ought to be.  We have been slowly but surely cleaning, painting, and moving things into the space in the past few days, with the rest of the move and set up to occur on Friday. First classes are on Saturday the 17th! No more clanging and grunting noises filtering into the yoga room during savasana!  It was a wonderful partnership while it lasted, and a nice place to begin my teaching career, though.  I taught my last class there yesterday and I have to say that I will miss it a little, but not enough not to be excited to move to our own space.  The studio is being set up by a group of four yoga teachers and one aspiring yoga teacher, and it has been a wonderful partnership experience with each of us pitching in in the ways that we are best able to help out, coordinating our schedules and working on the project when we can in order to make it a reality.  Very inspiring!  Partnership and working together as one is what it is all about!

In other connectedness news, today was the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States, and  I commemorated the event by listening to the first of a series of weekly Sunday morning teleseminar kicking off something called 40 Days To Oneness.  October 24th is Oneness Day, this year will be the second annual Oneness Day.  Like Earth Day where we celebrate the earth and how we care for it, on Oneness Day we celebrate how we are all a part of the human family, how we are connected rather than how we are separate, and how we take care of each other.  We are stronger when we stand together – just like the example above of the group of women I am a part of that is setting up the yoga studio.  It coincides with a lot of the reading I have been doing lately about how we are all energetically linked, and that the stuff that we are made of is not what we can see but what we can’t see.  We are in the spaces in between things.  It’s like how the house feels different when someone is either home or not home. It’s stuff you can’t see – the energy – that you’re picking up on when you notice that. 

In addition to all of the above, I’m also doing a energy work course that talks mostly about how our lives happen through us rather than to us.  It’s taking responsibility for our choices and actions to a whole new level of depth.  Our thoughts have energetic weight and impact our experience by acting as a filter that determines what reaches us.  This is why two people who experience the same thing will have a different experience with it.  The feelings that we have felt and the decisions that we have made as a result going back further than we remember – going back even before we came into our physical existence through the experiences and decisions and agreements made by others in our family lineages, are all stored in our energy field for our experiences to filter through. It’s fascinating.  In that course, this week we are noticing and evaluating at the old agreements that we have made in the past – things that we have declared or decreed and my not even remember that are still filtering our experience today.  Many of these “contracts” no longer serve us, and they can be renegotiated energetically.  I have heard this many times but I didn’t really get how to do this until this course provided an activity that can be used as a tool to renegotiate these contracts.   I did this work this morning and I could truly feel a shift within me, especially when I added Reiki and asked for support.  There is a lot out there that happens around us that we do not see, and I am beginning to pick up on the subtle vibrations and listen to that inner voice more and more.  

I am literally learning so much lately that it is difficult keep up with it and blog about it because by the time I sit down at my computer, a new lesson has come along, and I am completely absorbed in it.  I seem to be manifesting a crash course in subtle energy work.

Speaking of vibrations, I also read an interesting thing this weekend.  Since they started measuring the frequencies of the energy of the earth, it has more than doubled.  This is the shift that people are talking about and that many of us feel occurring.  Along with this increase in frequency, it almost feels like time is speeding up.  Not only in that we are all so busy, but in that it takes almost no time at all for the energy that we send out to reverberate back to us in the form of the results we have just asked for, consciously or unconsciously.  The trick is to be aware of “where you are coming from” because it’s no longer possible to ignore the fact that we are responsible for the results.   We are the source of our experience, no way around it.  We are powerfully creative beings that dream up our experience as we go through our daily lives.

Finally, on the subject of vibrations and reverberations, another thing I realized this weekend is that, although the tragedy of 9/11 was absolutely mind blowingly horrible, one of the things that it spuured was our collective and powerful coming together to counteract the violence that had been done.  At first we were consoling one another, but as time progressed, it became a habit t connect and what a beautiful legacy. I remember the silence of that day and the next several days after that because all flights were cancelled and the skies were quiet.  In that silence, we looked both within and to those who were around us and appreciated what we had – each other, and this appreciation endured.  The terrorists sought to divide us with the darkness of fear, but the light of love and connection won out, demonstrating to us yet again that light pierces darkness, and love will always be stronger than fear.

A Bird in the Hand – My Secret Goldfinch Life

The back of my house faces east, which means the sun rises over my backyard. One of my favorite things to do is to eat breakfast on the patio, facing the sun, and allowing its warmth and light to wash over me as the wind rustles through the leaves of the trees and I listen to the birds sing. This morning, as I was sitting down with my omelet and a cup of coffee, a little goldfinch fell out of the honeysuckle and creeper vines that grow on a trellis next to the table on my patio. The little guy or gal was just sitting there on the ground under my chair, and seemed a little stunned and wiped out. Baby bird was new enough that it still had some of the fuzzy feathers that little baby birds are born with wisping out from between it’s more mature feathers that are built for flying.

I was worried that baby bird would be harassed by my curious whippets should it move. They are gentle dogs, but they have an instinct to chase, catch, and kill small things that move, and I, in an effort to avoid potential carnage, I scooped little baby bird up very carefully in my cupped hands. Baby was scared, of course, and I was worried about the additional trauma I was causing. Knowing what I do about energy, I shifted my energy as best I could to send what I hoped were supportive and safe messages to the baby bird’s circuitry. But I could feel it trembling, and I could picture its little heart beating far too hard and fast for good health. Being an energy worker and healer, I shifted to allow Reiki to flow through my palms in an effort to comfort the little being there. She calmed down after a few moments, partially due to exhaustion, I’m sure. She didn’t try to fly away, however, but instead gripped onto the skin of my hands with her little baby bird feet. She was clearly feeling dazed, but my hands felt safe to hold onto. I decided to place her over my heart to see what might happen, and to my surprise she rested there gently and her little eyes began to close.

My abandoned breakfast was calling to me, and so was my coffee, so after a little, while I decided to move baby bird from my chest to some sort of soft and safe place next to me on the table. I carried the baby into the house and picked up a dishtowel to place her on outside.

She rested there, looking sleepy, while I ate a little more breakfast and sipped a little more coffee. She opened her little mouth, like she was hoping to be fed. It was hot on the patio, and I wondered if she was thirsty. Her little mouth was open long enough that it started to look dry inside. Not being a bird myself, I’m not built in a way to feed her the way her momma does, but that little mouth was pleading with me. I left the bird on the table, and went to find a bottle cap that I put water in, and set it down next to her little beak. She didn’t seem to know what to do with the water at all. I realized I was going to have to put it in her mouth somehow.

I decided to use my finger and see what happened. It was awkward because even my smallest finger was huge compared to that little mouth, and I felt clumsy as I tried to drip water into her mouth. Her beak was at the wrong angle to just drip water into, and I ended up putting it on top of her beak. She instinctively swallowed it, her little tongue working, and the water seemed to revive her. She became more alert, and she started peeping softly, but she still rested there, opening her little mouth, hopefully. I picked her up again, and she gripped my fingers with her feet, made little peeping noises, and looked right at me with her little baby bird eyes. I wondered what she must be thinking and feeling. She seemed totally content to remain there on my hand and made no effort to fly away.

By this time, it had been an hour or more since we first started this interaction, and I wondered what was going to happen. It was such an unusual thing to happen that I thought surely something must be terribly wrong with this little bird, and I began to worry that it was dying because it was not acting like birds normally act around human beings.

My dogs just watched all this, they didn’t seem surprised at all that their mom was interacting with another animal in nature, and they treated it like this sort of thing was completely normal and natural, even to be expected. They didn’t seem jealous of the attention that this little creature was getting, and they didn’t interfere at all. It was pretty interesting, they just seemed to be supportive.

With the bird still on my hand, I went back inside and got a camera to take pictures. The little bird stayed on my hand, totally content where she was, not feeling any urge to go and explore my house, and seemingly not worried or afraid. Amazing. But things needed to shift back to normal. I wasn’t going to be able to take care of a little bird in my home along with two sight hounds who, although perfectly behaved so far, would eventually feel the need to capture this little baby bird, and besides, there would be bird poop everywhere.

I placed the bird on a branch in the vines beside the table. I had to place her little feet on the branches, she wasn’t eager to leave me at all, and once in the vines, she remained there with me in her sight. She was looking right at me as if she understood the communion we had had at a more basic level than I did. For another hour while I sat out there reading, she stayed in the vines above me. Eventually she began to sing in a little baby bird voice, and after a while, I realized that now there were about four goldfinches in my yard, all of them singing. It was actually quite loud. I wondered if one of them was baby’s real mommy hoping to guide her home. None of them seemed worried, though, they seemed encouraging; their voices were happy. For a moment, I felt a part of the goldfinch community in honor of my role as a goldfinch mommy during the previous few hours. It was cool, but also a little weird.

She stayed there until I went into the house to do the dishes. When I came back out, I couldn’t find her. I hope that she made it safely to her next branch, that she lives a long happy goldfinch life singing happy goldfinch songs. And, each time I see a goldfinch in my yard, I will wonder if it’s her coming home to check on me.

Shifting Beliefs to Shift Outcomes

Week after week, I have been realizing that it has been a couple of months since I last posted anything here, even though I have thought about it many times, and I intended to write more posts about the Dominican Republic trip in the previous two months. 

It took about a month for me to finally come back to “earth” and integrate my experiences with the people of the Dominican Republic – I am so changed after that trip.  That was the first time I had been surrounded by people who were truly open to creating the best out of each experience, and truly open to connecting with other people, come what may.  People in the US seemed so closed off and guarded and often joyless by comparison.  That’s not to say that things are better in the DR, certainly there are hardships there of the type that many in the US will never experience.  Things are simply different.  The focus is different.  I guess when you live in a place that lacks all of the toys and material distractions that we have in the first world, your focus is bound to be a lot different. 

I was expecting to find people that wallowed in their lack of material items, resentful of what I have acquired and hold so easily, and depressed about the lack of prospects they have in comparison.  Instead, I found warm friendly people who are curious what is around them, who seem notice the best of everything, and rather than focus on what they don’t have, they focus on what they do have more often than not. 

It completely rocked my world and spurred a huge internal shift in my way of thinking that I had been waiting for.  An internal childlike part of me that I had suppressed many years ago under the mantle perceived expectations and responsibility was woken up.  Beliefs I had either set aside or taken up are being held up for my examination, and so that I can decide if the choices I am making now still support what I believe life to be about.  Energetic parts of me that I had closed down due to the mistaken belief that I needed to close down to survive were opened back up.  Being kinesthetic, this was the only way that I was going to get the message that I had been hearing and reading over and over, understanding intellectually, but not emotionally or spiritually, even though I knew I needed to.  More than any other trip I have taken, this one touched my heart and soul. I knew I had made many, many “deals” in my life, tradeoffs chosen for the anticipated and culturally sanctioned results that I was supposed to get rather than tuning into the true voice of my heart, and I had been feeling a vague sense of resentment and depression that some of the “deals” that I had sacrificed my true voice for where not netting out the way they were supposed to.  I have been on this path for a while, and I have a while further to travel, as anyone who is on this path knows.  

So, on this trip, I found myself shifting away from my masculine influenced need to form a plan and execute it to success, and indeed shifting away from how success has been defined for me up until now. I was living in a place where the variables are different, and in order to succeed, you have to let go.  This is a place where you don’t know if you will have water to flush the toilet, wash your hands, and shower all the time. Many if not most of the conveniences that you rely on and expect while you’re at home are not reliable, you have to constantly shift your plan to fit what is available at the moment, and adapt your plan to using that.  The creature comforts that are a given at home are not a given here, but what you can expect, and what you can rely on, is that there will always be someone to talk to, and someone who is up for doing something at a moment’s notice, and if you need help, all you have to do is step outside your door and maybe walk down the street.      Very different from the US where you may not even see many of your neighbors, even if you know them, and it is extremely likely that you don’t know them to begin with.  Is this isolation really working for us?  At the same time, though, the entire world is getting smaller and smaller.  Thanks to online social networks, we have the ability to connect with the people in every corner of the globe at any given moment if we choose to connect.  The world has changed a lot.  Some of what has changed is working, and some of it isn’t.  Sometimes things seem to be happening very quickly and we have little or no control over what is happening, but maybe where the “control point” is is different than we have been conditioned to believe.  

Many of us are feeling The Shift that everyone is talking about these days.  As the economic, social, and political structures that we have been living under are falling apart around us, we realize that, as a species, we are not going to be able to continue doing what we have been doing and continue to flourish.  In order to flourish, we need to do things differently – many things radically differently, but there seems to be a gap between this knowledge and our ability to actually change our actions as a collective.   We may have a sense of what is needed, but there are many fears surrounding actually making the changes we need to make.  We know that our ideas are wrong, and yet we cling to them because they are familiar.  We know that this is not going to bring us the results that we seek, the growth that we seek and that calls to us from the deep midst of our being, yet we are afraid to take those steps. 

The first step – and a very important step – is for us to realize and accept that they way we have been doing things isn’t working.  Most of us have already done this work.  The next step is to realize that our actions come from our beliefs, and that these beliefs need to evolve.  This is tricky, because in order to do this, we need to become really clear about what our beliefs actually are.  This can be difficult because these are beliefs that we have internalized and are imbedded so deeply many of them are not even conscious beliefs.  When we make a decision, we run our ideas through a filter that includes these beliefs that we are largely unaware of.  We see their unfavorable results, but the contents filter are so automatic and hidden from us that we don’t see how they are impacting our experience.  It is hard for us to change our experience because we don’t know exactly where it is coming from.  It seems to be outside us, but really, it is happening inside us at a very deep level. We may feel powerless to change, but we are not.  if we can identify those beliefs, we can see their impact, AND we can question them, AND we can change them.  When we change our beliefs, we change our experiences.

From the Daily Om: The Most Fulfilling Road

I liked this one! It’s from today’s Daily Om (7/15/2011)

Our lives are made up of a complex network of pathways that we can use to move from one phase of life to the next. For some of us, our paths are wide, smooth, and clearly marked. Many people, however, find that they have a difficult time figuring out where they need to go next. Determining which “next step” will land you on the most direct route to fulfillment and the realization of your life purpose may not seem easy.

There are many ways to discover what the next step on your life path should be. If you are someone who seeks to satisfy your soul, it is vital that you make this inquiry. Often, your inner voice will counsel you that it’s time for a change, and it is very important to trust yourself because only you know what is best for you. Personal growth always results when you let yourself expand beyond the farthest borders of what your life has been so far. When figuring out what your next step will be, you may want to review your life experiences. The choices you’ve made and the dreams you’ve held onto can give you an idea of what you don’t want to do anymore and what you might like to do next. It is also a good idea to think about creative ways you can use your skills and satisfy your passions. Visualizing your perfect future and making a list of ways to manifest that future can help you choose a logical next step that’s in harmony with your desires. Meditation, journal writing, ta! king a class, and other creative activities may inspire you and provide insight regarding the next step in life that will bring you the most satisfaction.

It is when you are willing to listen to yourself and be fearless that figuring out your next step becomes easy. Beneath the fear and hesitation and uncertainty lies your inner knowing that always knows which step you need to take next. If you can allow the taking of your next step to be as easy as putting one foot in front of the next, you’ll notice that your next step is always the one that is right in front of you. All you have to do is put one foot forward and on the ground.

First Hours in Habanero, DR

copyright 2011 Avalon Yoga & Wellness, LLC

In the relative cool of early morning, I am in bed contemplating the number of mosquitoes plastered against the mosquito netting, longing to sink their beaks into me and add to the multitude of welts I have already accumulated.  I didn’t sleep much again last night, it was too hot, too humid, too noisy, and I had too many thoughts to process.   I know that I won’t have the time that I need to process them until I have been back home in the US for a while.

Life here is different.  From the moment we arrived in Habanero, this was clear.  The house we are staying in is a cinderblock house with a cement floor that was built by the government.  It is surrounded by a number of other houses exactly the same as this one.  The floor is lumpy and not level, and the doors do not fit properly, having been made with green wood that changed shape as it was dried while in the shape of a door.  The house is small, probably the same size as the first floor of the modest house I own in the US; consisting of 3 bedrooms, one bathroom, a living area, tiny eating area, and tiny kitchen. There are metal louvers over the window openings, like in Hawaii.  There are no screens, and the bugs enter freely and abundantly.  The floor in the shower is not level; there is a broom in it and sign in there that reminds you to sweep the water to the drain when you are done showering.  Water flows here from a cistern that sets on the roof and has to be filled with a pump from the cistern underground next to the house, and in order to do that, you have to place the pump into the lower cistern and run a hose up to the rooftop cistern, and you can only do this when there is electricity, which is not all the time. 

There is a small refrigerator, but you’ve got to put the things you really want to keep cool in the cooler next to it because of the spotty power situation.  In this house, we’re lucky enough to have an inverter which charges five car battery sized boxes mounted under the eaves at the back door, but the batteries only run the lights and the fans and not the fridge, it draws too much. 

Across the street is a big shade tree under which a number of townspeople sit at all times of day, waiting out the heat.  There is birthday party across the street the night we arrive, music blares from who knows where, and people are gathered around.  People come by to meet us, the latest Americans to visit the town they live in. 

After applying the first of many coats of DEET, we take a stroll around the town with one of our hosts, walking past several cows that roam the streets seeming to belong either to everyone or no one. Our first stop is a banana grove, but a couple of the townspeople motion us back to the town before we go too far down the path, a couple of men on a motorcycle have just rode past us, the guy on the back is holding a big rock in his hand.  We head one block to the church where a service is being held in Spanish. We go in and sit down, the floor is loose dirt, rocky, and dusty, and uneven under my sandals.  The man at the pulpit is delivering a sermon to a small crowd of people who periodically shout “Amen!”  and “Glory to God!” in Spanish.  The woman nearest me swats at flies with a piece of cloth.  After a short time, we leave and go to the school, a tidy cinderblock building painted two contrasting shades of tan.  By now, a handful of children have begun to tag along, and three or four of them pay duck, duck, goose as we look at the school grounds, covered in weeds, plant debris, and garbage.  We move to the front of the school where one of the children looks up and reads the name of the school painted above the front door, he seems pleased.  We move on to the poorer part of town where the houses are built with sticks and have dirt floors.  Here a group of people are gathered under a coconut tree, opening coconuts that they have knocked out of the trees with long sticks and cut into with machetes, so that they can drink the coconut water. The machetes make me nervous, particularly because they are in the hands of kids that seem to young to be handling them, in my US perspective.  They ask us if we want some coconut water too, and some kids scamper off to another tree with their long stick to knock down coconuts from another tree that they think is better.  Once the coconuts come back, one of the adults uses his machete to peel it so that there is a drinking hole in one end, and I am nervous that he will slice off the end of one of his fingers, but he is practiced at this.  Soon, some other children show up with some kind of fruit in their hands that they give to us.  It tastes like a natural sour patch candy and is delicious.  We eventually make our way back to the house where dinner is almost ready.   More people come by to introduce themselves, and have trouble pronouncing our names.  I decide to call myself Lynda while I am here so that it might be easier for people to remember and pronounce my name. 

Eventually night falls and I expect it to get cooler, but it doesn’t really.  Thunder and lightening booms and flashes in the distance.  We head out for a walk with the food that is left over from dinner, meeting other townspeople along the way as we deliver it to one of the families that lives in one of the shacks.  Eventually, it starts raining, and I think “Oh good, this will cool things off,” but it doesn’t it only adds to the humidity. Eventually I go to bed under this mosquito net that I am now staring at, there are bugs, dogs barking, music playing, and the voices of children and adults at the birthday party.  It’s noisy and hard to sleep, even with earplugs in, but eventually the people noise outside dies down, and sometime in the night I manage to fall into interrupted sleep.