“Silence is a true friend who never betrays.” Confucius
Silence and the power of this was an unknown to me for many years. I was fully immersed in the busyness of life and allowed life to dictate who I needed to be and what to do using this as a covering for who I was. Noise prevailed and silence went missing! What came into my life overtime was the importance of practicing silence as a key to self-care.
I wore many hats: stay at home mom to 4 sons under the age of 11, wife of a never home music producer and an online business owner. “silence and being still” wasn’t even on the radar of my being at a time when “silence” was most needed at the very depth of who I was and how I was l being asked to live.
I didn’t realize it then but my constant state of doing and supervising and talking and thinking and “resting” in front of the noise of a few fav TV shows was slowly wearing on my emotional well being. How quickly I fell into victim thinking mode and being easily frustrated when something happened to me or in our household that was out of the normal. My son missing the bus sent me spinning and blaming because now I had to get in the car and drive him to school spending an additional 25 minutes. I was involved in the noise, not the beauty of what could have been – a connecting time in the car alone with my son simply being an understanding mom!
I guess the simple answer is I didn’t know what I didn’t know and as a result kept going at my life receiving the same results in ever increasing amounts of frustration, fatigue and constant state of emotional chatter of would’ve, should’ve, why me thinking. I was reacting and moving mindlessly in those early days. The chatter in my mind only increased and outwardly I appeared nervous/edgy.
I recall my loving mom who worked for years as an elementary school teacher, now retired, telling me I looked tired and acted agitated as if always “on.”
I’ll never forget her words: “ Sit and do nothing, just be quiet, it’s ok” Nothing is going to happen when you take a much-needed break to rest. It will all be here waiting for you whether you’re calm or chaotic and nervous.”
Initially, her words actually had the opposite effect on me that now I need to cover up and actually do more so I could relax in my frenzied accomplishments to look as if I had it all together on the outside!
Overnight (not really!) …… change happened. I was introduced to what has now become a cornerstone of my life – silence and the beginning of mindfulness.
As a first-time yoga class taker I was introduced to “savasana” – a simple state of resting once class has come to its natural ending – done seated or lying on the mat)
The moment wasn’t initially transformative or life-changing. However, I went back to that class many more times and in each class at the end, I was given permission to just to be still and silent.
silent life takeaways:
It was in being silent and still that change had a chance to occur and the door opened for me to step forward into more felt and authentic self-care. using silence as a foundation of learning and growth! The simple care act of being silent and still was a teacher of a life practice – mindfulness.
Now almost daily I practice silence/stillness and quiet at the beginning of each day. I can’t imagine my morning routine without this key care piece. I’m calmer and focused. The frustration and state of agitation always present within are gone for the most part and I’m more relaxed, at ease and present to all that is happening in the day to day of my life and world.
Why practice silence for self-care?
- Silence relieves stress and tension and helps you refresh and refocus.
- Silence replenishes our mental resources
- Silence is healing to both body and mind. Silence can be learned and practiced by everyone no matter how busy, stressed or your personality type!
How do I start if I’ve never truly done this?
Start little by little easing into this! The easiest way is to simply sit in a comfortable place that is noise free/distraction free and give yourself permission to be where you are at this moment. – quietly. Although it seems counter-intuitive – you can set a timer on your smartphone for at least 3- 5 minutes and gradually increase the time. Next – open up to what I call “kind space” allowing yourself to be still and quiet. Notice what comes up without becoming wrapped up in that thought – move through it back into quiet. Notice and focus on your felt breathing pattern – actual inhalations and exhalations. That’s it. No need to overthink, just be present where you are and what you are becoming: – a student of learning and mastering the life skill of being silent.