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Four Ways to Create Space for Silence

Dear friends,

Welcome to my weekly blog!

Let’s face it, we are living in times of great distraction and sensory overload; noise.
Here’s a startling fact, writes Dr. Jay Kumar in his book Brain, Body, and Being. In our modern, 24/7 high tech world, the average person is bombarded with the equivalent of 174 newspapers of data every day! That’s  five times the amount of sensory information a person received just 30 years ago.” No wonder we feel exhausted, overwhelmed and stressed.  ( excerpt from Gedalia’s book ” Enough Drugs! I am A Woman and Can Heal Naturally- a practical guide to feeling your best).

Taking quiet time for reflection and contemplation is often looked upon as unproductive. After all, you might say” I could be cleaning something, or running that errand I need”. In other words, accomplishing something. However, taking time to just “be”, whether it’s having coffee on your deck looking at beautiful trees and flowers, or the luxury of a retreat restores and refreshes body, mind, and spirit.

 Taking time for silence and rejuvenation is a key practice of “self-care”. Nature too restores herself in deep silence. 
The French philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote, “All of humanity’s problems stem from a person’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone” (Pensees, 139).

 In silence we are forced to hear the things we so often drown out. The cries of the soul. The existential solitude. The questions of our purpose, existence and deep longing for union.

When our children were younger I’d often take time away on a yoga retreat or painting excursion to reconnect with myself and rediscover who I am. It was before they came home from school that I would come home and sit for about 45 minutes to put my feet up with some tea, meditate and put on some of my favorite essential oils. I cherished this time before the nighttime activities began- homework, dinner, baths, and bedtime rituals. As an empath, I still find that having alone time is when I get rejuvenated and more ready to give of myself after; from a more “whole” place. I also find when I cook I access the silence within myself that brings new and inspiring insights.

With children getting back to school, it’s an opportune time to reflect on yourSelf again and what’s important to you. And if you don’t have children and may be single or a couple, connecting inside to your uniqueness and gifts is a valuable healing practice. It might too be that you are in between jobs, relationships or a place to live. This is a wonderful time to reflect in silence.

Here are four ways to create space for silence:

1. My friend Meg, a psychotherapist in Atlanta, schedules a few silent retreats with her husband in different parts of the country. She says it’s key for both herself and the relationship to spend time in silence and to listen within, especially with her work in listening to others. What a wonderful way to literally see what’s on your mind.
Some key benefits of silence are:

  • You Become Calmer. 
  • Boost Your Intuition. 
  • Understand Yourself Better. 
  • Improve Awareness. 
  • Taps Into Your Creativity. 
  • Lower Your Stress and Pressure. 
  • Mental Detoxification. 
  • Have Better Patience.

One resource for silent retreats is The Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. I’ve been there for other courses and enjoyed the environment.

If you can’t get to a retreat, try your backyard or a nearby park, Botanical Gardens, to remember the beauty of life.

2. Quiet time reinforces your sense of place in the universe. 
Since you are human and not a robot, you have the ability to put things into perspective. This is difficult when you’re crashing to meet a deadline or attempting to multitask. You need quiet time to do that. It’s when you’re able to think about where you are in the universe, your purpose, and your inner voice that you begin to feel happy to be alive.

Taking as little as ten minutes to meditate or journal allows the mind to unravel so it can ultimately rest in its source; peace. One of many great teachers has said to look at the consciousness behind the thoughts and to notice the witness of the mind- as the mind is always fluctuating with thoughts, emotions, and scenarios, while the witness is pure, steady consciousness. Cleaning the mirror of consciousness through silence is a profound healing practice.

3. Walking in nature ( without a phone) can be a time to reflect, set intentions, take in the full spectrum of light ( great for mental/emotional and physical health) and receive inner guidance. Yes, getting outside is different than working a treadmill in the gym. The benefits are immense.

4. Working full time? Getting home late? or working and taking care of children after work? Aim to put some downtime into your schedule. Like art, if it’s not scheduled most likely it will be bypassed with “to do” lists.

For more tips on thriving through these times as an empath, I recommend Judith Orloff’s book, ” The Empath’s Survival Guide”. and also The book the Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron  which offers two key practices that lead to accessing the more creative you underneath the pile of overlays and responsibilities miring the vision of the true Self.

I’d love to hear about what you do to deepen into sacred silence!

” To heal is to acquire the strength to focus on your gifts, not your weaknesses”.Gedalia

Stay tuned for an Ayurvedic series of articles in Natural Awakenings Magazine Sept, Oct., Nov.

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