You’ve heard this before, but I’ll say it again:
You need quiet to find the voice inside you.
You need space for your body to guide and nudge you.
Silence. Solitude. Emptiness. All things our crazy culture just can’t handle. It makes us uncomfortable. It’s threatening, it can be painful and it makes us scared.
So we fill the gap. We fill it with noise, people, activities, mayhem, addictions, anything. Anything to fill it so we don’t have to face the truth. Our truth.
I’ve noticed it more and more over this past year. We are very good at filling gaps, but we need to practise feeling the emptiness.
Encourage and cultivate more stillness and space in your life and in your family’s life. Make peace with the uncomfortable. Transform ‘quiet time’ into this glorious delicious thing so you start to reframe it in everyone’s minds, including your own! Quiet time isn’t just for letting off steam, and in our house it’s not a place you go to be removed from the pack – quiet time isn’t punishment. To me, it’s as essential to wellbeing and quality of life as good food and clean, fresh air. It’s luxurious, yet a simple necessity.
Create rituals for yourself. Stillness and solitude needn’t look like formal meditation or the perfect yoga pose; find your version. It might be a guided relaxation in the bath, it could be a walk among the trees, it could be half an hour facing the waves. Light a candle and just sit with yourself. Have a good cry if that’s what you need (as I often do when it all builds up). Graeme, my husband and free diver, finds his stillness on the ocean floor – he just lies on the bottom and watches life around him. Turn it all off and make quiet a priority in your life.
And what about more quiet out there in the world? Yes, I hear you. Loud and clear. Many of us probably wouldn’t need to retreat as much as we do if quiet, or at least ‘quieter’, were embraced, if our inner lives were held sacred, if we all just honoured our divine selves.
So speak up when the you feel the urge. Ask the shopkeeper to turn the radio off (like I did last week, because frankly you don’t need ads yelling in your ear when you’ve got children in tow!). Stillness isn’t just something to schedule in after a day at work, or once the children are in bed. Why can’t we demand a sense of serenity and calm throughout the day, whether we’re browsing or waiting in line? Then we’d all learn to hear our own bodies, feel the goosebumps at that precise moment, feel a rush from deep in our bellies and maybe work out what that voice has been trying to tell us all along.
Let’s stop drowning it out. Let’s stop filling the empty spaces and crowding that blessed silence.
I want to hear the wind. Deep down, I think we all do.