Quiet…is a thing I’m trying to get better at lately. I’m really trying to find some time each day to be completely “still” (mentally, at least) – maybe relaxing by reading or cross-stitching, maybe going for a slow walk outside with no music or podcast in my ears, or maybe just lying on my yoga mat and breathing.
For a relative introvert, quiet is not actually thing I’m particularly good at. I’ve joined a new Yin Yoga class lately – specifically, “Yin Yoga for Happiness”. It’s a lovely, sleepy, peaceful early morning half hour where the instructor guides us through some positive ways of thinking to set us up for the day ahead, and yet about every 2 minutes I have to remind myself to stop pondering my to do list for the day and just focus on the class. My current goal for 2020 is to make it to a full 10 minutes on the mat without wondering what I should make for breakfast or whether I’ve got any meetings to prepare for.
Anyway, sometimes quiet is hard. Quiet means sitting with all of your own thoughts and feelings instead of distracting yourself from them. Daily life may still be on the slow side, but the outside is changing constantly, even more now than ever, and that part of my brain that just wants to cling onto something and stay still for a while is spending a lot of time shouting at me! Sitting and listening to those thoughts means dealing with worry about the future, and sadness that some things from my past have changed. It means acknowledging that I can’t control everything, and accepting that life can’t necessarily be exactly where I want it to be right this second, even if I try really hard to make it happen!
With that said (I promise this is going somewhere more positive than that last paragraph!), if I don’t sit and work through these kinds of thoughts, they won’t go away. That tiny, panicked version of myself that’s sitting in my head yelling might quieten down for a while if I go running, or bake a cake, or clean my flat, or phone someone for a chat; but she’ll soon pop back up again the moment there’s nothing to keep me busy. This is why quiet is necessary.
Quiet is necessary to let all of the thoughts I mentioned above – all the slightly miserable-sounding worrying and sadness and acceptance – just stay there for a while, and to give them some attention. It’s not always very comfortable or enjoyable, but allowing them some time is the only way I can work my way through them, re-frame them and find the positive stuff hidden amongst them.
“Can’t find a new place to live? Well I guess I’ll just enjoy some unexpected bonus time living alone!”
“Lost touch with some people? We all just have other wonderful things going on in our lives, keeping us busy.”
“Outside world scary? Well, let’s face it, I’ve always quite liked staying home anyway so let’s embrace some lazy nights in!”
So this is why I’ll keep practising being quiet, even though I’m bad at it. Because for me, being constantly busy is basically the mental equivalent of putting my hands over my ears and running away. Which probably isn’t the best way to do life…at least, it isn’t for me!