Life Chez Dee Episode #71: Solace in Silence
I’ve been a little quiet publicly lately, for a variety of reasons, and it’s been a while since I sat to write a blog. I have of course still been writing, albeit not publicly, it’s something I don’t really ever stop doing. For me, writing and thinking go hand in hand, thoughts channelled and poured out onto paper, my mind emptied of things which don’t need to be in there anymore, leaving room and space for clarity.
I know there is a notion that when someone is quiet, that they’re sad, upset, or struggling; that there is emptiness, loneliness, sadness, even depression and desperation; and sadly that may be so for many, particularly in these virus times of the Covid pandemic. People who are shielding may feel lonely and isolated, there are rules about distancing and meeting up with family and friends, leaving people feeling lonely, cut off and rather down. A this time of year, as we head into the colder, wetter, damper months, dark nights, and dark mornings, we see a change in people, they’re not out and about in the fresh air, as much as during the summer months, and the weather, and indeed the light have a significant impact on people’s mood, as they shut themselves away even more.
There have been many times of late where there is disappointment at not being able to pop to see friends or family, either by following official government rules, or by taking a personal decision to be responsible for one’s own safety by not mixing outside the home; and a telephone conversation, or zoom call, or even a wave from the end of a driveway whilst out on a walk, is not the same as socially interacting, and just spending time with people. Spending time just being around people and in their company, not just by way of a chat and a catch up, but by a presence together, communicating in such a way that there is company without words.
Those who know me, know that I like my own company … always have. I’m comfortable in my own little bubble, busying myself with jobs and chores, as well as being both reflective and creative in my thoughts and writing. Allowing myself to be quiet, I find peace, calm, clarity, focus and direction; I find quiet space is of enormous benefit to my mental physical and emotional wellbeing; finding consolation and comfort in myself and my thoughts; there is solace in the silence.
What I don’t always find easy is allowing myself to find time for quiet, time to give myself space, to accept it, and embrace it; rather I find I there’s a tendency to think that any available space in time in our busy lives, is time wasted; a space which should be filled; and so when I am naturally able to slip into taking time to quieten my mind, I am conditioning myself to allow myself this time, without guilt, and without justification.
The experience of lockdown for me, enabled me to slow down, reflect, and prioritise what was important; and enabled me to have balance in my life. Throwing myself into working all hours of the day and night, every day, for no remuneration, was really taking its toll on my health and wellbeing. Being at home with Justin and the boys was quite frankly a privilege; and being with the family has to be my priority, along with looking after myself too.
Edward will always be a significant part of my life, and doing all the work of the charity in his name will always be important, but lockdown has enabled me to find some balance between focussing on this work, and spending time with Justin and the boys.
Allowing myself space has been rather enlightening; I have come to realise and accept that silence is a good thing, quieten my overactive mind, order my thoughts, reflect and process experiences and worries; there has been time for gentle reflection, rather than harsh analysis, which I certainly have a tendency to do. Constantly thinking, over thinking, over analysing, organising, reflecting, worrying is quite honestly exhausting, and so having given counsel to myself, have given myself permission to prioritise anything which is beneficial to my physical, mental and emotional wellbeing … and to be ok with that.
Being quiet and still in the silence has opened my mind on a spiritual level too. I’ve always listened to my inner voice and followed my gut. I have always physically felt a push or a pull in one direction or another, and trusted in those feelings, and being quiet I’m able to trust and be guided more by my true self. There’s nothing new about this … people for time immemorial have practiced meditation and/or yoga, and enjoyed the feeling of wellbeing this brings.
Silence isn’t actually that quiet; sometimes silence is so present it is incredibly loud. I remember a holiday in the Lake District some years ago, and well into the walk a fair height had been climbed and I came to a clearing, a flattening of the ground, yet still surrounded by hills which towered above. The sky was blue, so very blue, without a cloud to be seen, and there was no wind either, but more unusually so, there wasn’t a sight or sound of a bird. The air was completely still, nobody was around … the silence was overwhelmingly deafening. That memory, that moment, that experience has stayed with me all these years, and I have never experienced that since.
Sadly, another moment of overwhelmingly deafening silence I remember quite clearly was in the days after Edward died; the house was silent, it felt cold, empty, and without life. Edward was the noise, the energy, the presence in our house, and even without being physically present, his absence was so incredibly noticeable and loud. This was a silence which stopped me in my tracks.
There is a lot to be said, and a lot to be heard in silence. Not only is there time for inner reflection, but also time to notice what is going on around us. Quietening myself, I’ve noticed more in others … both their actions and words, and am sensitive to the vibrations of energy which I feel, both the positive and the negative.
My silence has been heard by someone; only one. One person out of the hundreds I know, heard my silence, and asked if I was ok. I am ok, and thankful that I am, but I wonder how many people are not, who are not making as much noise as they used to, who might really need that phone call, that message, that knock on the door; and I’m also thankful that I have a friend who was able to hear my silence.
Being silent allows you to focus on listening more … and that’s actually what life is about … listening, hearing, understanding … others, and indeed ourselves.
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