Halfway through writing my last post, I realised I had diluted the message. I was talking about two things. Part of me was perhaps a little worried to talk about stillness without balancing it out somehow. But it doesn’t need to be balanced all in the one post (just like our lives day-to-day aren’t balanced). Balance wasn’t important; focusing on the importance of quiet was, and then all I had to do was trust it would be received with common sense.
Here’s what I want to address here (that I had attempted to weave into the last post): embracing quiet isn’t about driving around in your car in complete silence (unless that feels good to you), or ditching Facebook or binning the TV (again, unless that feels good to you).
Music, TV, social media, friends, email subscriptions, books can all be a beautiful thing. Nothing’s actually wrong. There IS no wrong. It’s our approach and how we feel – our intention – that make all the difference.
Are you moving towards or running away? Here’s what I’ve noticed in me (and I know I’m not alone so I say ‘we’): we’re either accessing more of who we are or we’re using it to drown out our thoughts, our fears and our emotions. Think about it. Is that thing making you feel good, inspiring you, stirring something within you or are you just passing the time, filling the void?
I know what you’re thinking: can’t I just watch TV or sit on Facebook without having to think about whether I’m ‘accessing more of who I am’ or running away? Come on!
Well, it depends on what you want out of life. Are you content resisting life or do you want more of life to resonate? Can you feel the difference between resonance and resistance? I know how it feels when I resonate with something/someone on social media, for instance, and I look forward to sitting down with their words (Lissa Rankin’s page is a favourite). And I know how it feels when I’m just scrolling through, filling space in my day because I’m avoiding something.
I used to spend hours watching shows that had me feeling yuck at the end of the evening. This pattern went on for years until I decided it was up to me to make a choice. It’s either resonance or resistance and I can usually tell which camp I’m choosing to sit in. What’s happened over time is the less TV I watch, the less TV I want to watch, because that longing for resonance gets amplified. (Sitting down to watch Emma Thompson’s amazing performance in Saving Mr. Banks the other night reminded me that, yes, I do love a good film. It’s just that the effect it has on me is more felt nowadays because my wish is to only make room for what opens me up).
And this is what happens when you bring awareness to yourself, make time for stillness and hold the torch on the deeper parts of you… You end up bringing awareness to every part of your life, shining that torch everywhere you go. It’s a beautiful thing, really.
The more you create space and make time for those periods of quiet contemplation and exploration, the more discerning you are about how you fill your time and the more you can tell whether you’re actually lighting your soul on fire and feeding it, or numbing out and tuning out of you.
In a similar vein, you become much more perceptive to clutter. It’s the same with clutter in our homes – the more you declutter and only make room for the useful and the beautiful, the more obvious it becomes when something is actually clutter. And here’s the best bit: the less tolerance you have for it.
So be choosy. Be really, really choosy. About what floods your ears, passes before your eyes, enters your psyche, fills your inbox, lines your bookshelf. Create space by saying yes to that which makes you soar and tingle, and no to everything else. Say yes to quality, no to quantity.
Quiet isn’t the only way to hear the wind, to hear life’s subtle nudgings. You can hear that wind you long to hear by creating space and you do that by remembering what truly resonates.