“Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak.” I’ve always connected with Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati’s insightful phrase. I thought I understood what it meant. But I truly did not until recently.
For those of you who know me, “quiet” is probably not a word you’d use to describe my personality! Similar to other extroverts, stillness and silence do not come naturally. Colorful conversation, intellectual stimulation, and lively interaction feeds our minds and fuels us. A friend recently said it best: “I get energy from other positive, interesting people.”
I nodded like a puppy about to be fed! Yes! Me, too! I get it! However, as I shared in last week’s post “Yield, Slow Down, and Brake,” my body is telling me otherwise. I am finally listening. I want to open my heart to you. I hope you connect with what I’ve learned and will share whether you are an introvert, extrovert, or somewhere in between.
I’ve seen a massage therapist, acupuncturist, chiropractor, and also tried other healing modalities. This past episode of my physical body shouting “NO MORE” was the worst I’ve ever experienced. I have profound compassion for those souls who live with chronic conditions or pain. And I also know we must be active participants in our own healing.
Today I am writing with such deep appreciation because I am once again sitting upright. I danced yesterday at a friend’s party for her son. I was thrilled to move and groove!! After the joyous and high-energy celebration, I heeded my body’s signals. I got in bed to rest and reboot.
I used to perceive resting as non-productive, a waste of time, and with guilt-tinged feelings. After the past year, as I shared last week, I am listening to the “yellow lights.” The warnings, hints, and nudges have become bolder.
And what I’ve realized is the value of being quiet. I love capturing moments; my favorite subjects are nature, faces, hands, and children. I went outside on Monday for over an hour. I turned off my phone. I took deep breaths, which frankly was physically difficult at that time.
A delicate, dainty dragonfly landed on the wide green leaf in front of me. I stood there observing its wings blow in the breeze. I grabbed my camera and took at least 40 photos. The sun highlighted intricate parts of this tiny creature. Similar to extroverted souls, dragonflies rarely stay still for more than a few seconds.
I smiled as the dragonfly remained poised on the fan-shaped leaf. This continued for at least six minutes. Thank you for the affirmation! The remorse I had for postponing meetings morphed into gratitude.
A moment of frenzy last Tuesday turned into peaceful fascination. I was at home. My daughter was at tennis. My son was at school. The afternoon skies scowled and became ominous. It didn’t appear to be just a typical Florida spring storm. I felt uneasy because I wanted to pick up my children. But my daughter’s coach hadn’t decided yet if the scheduled match was going to be canceled.
The air felt thick, and the temperature dropped. My dogs tails were down. We all sensed a shift in the atmosphere, and it’s quite unusual in April! I watched the clouds darken and separate. I observed the palm trees leaning. I saw birds flying sideways. Then my friend texted and said, “Enough with being present and taking photos. Get inside before you end up in a funnel cloud!”
I laughed at her. But I heard just minutes later that a tornado was actually spotted not far from my house. Those few minutes outside of being present and silent centered me. (Although I was glad I listened to my wise friend!)
The moments of quiet were grounding. This is a relatively new concept for me. I’ve understood the power of mindfulness. But actively and consciously integrating it into my daily life is new. Rather than receiving energy from “doing,” I am craving silence.
I even said the other day to my husband, “Honey, I have to tell you something. I think I’m a closet introvert!” After he was done laughing, he raised his eyebrows and said, “YOU? That’s hilarious. I don’t think so!”
As I reconnect with my life’s purpose and passion, I know quiet time is essential to nourishing my mind and spirit. This morning I’ve been writing while sipping coffee and watching the wind-swept water on the lake. I haven’t uttered a word to anyone for hours.
Here’s what I now know to be true: We must go inward to give outwardly. The quieter I become, the more my heart opens like a lotus flower. My mind moves more fluidly, creatively, and clearly.
I need the quiet to heal my physical body. And I am yearning for more tranquility with every passing week. I do not only mean quiet as in no music or talking. Certainly that is part of establishing a serene space in which to create, heal, and expand.
I also mean calming the mind. This can be done in a formal setting such as yoga, exercise, or meditation. I’ve learned that to be my best self, I must intentionally weave quiet spaces throughout my day.
Even if you work full time, are in the depths of parenting, or any other phase of life, you can carve time to calm your mind. How? Leave early for a meeting or appointment. Sit in the car and shut off your phone and anything else that turns on. Breathe and see what happens. Or in the evening? Take a bath. Light a candle. Unplug, disconnect, and be still for a few minutes.
In a world that is progressively busier, we all need to learn how to “BE.” We are not human “doings,” though many of us are in perpetual motion. We are human “BEings.” I know it is easier said than done. But it is absolutely possible.
As you sit in the stillness, you may be uncomfortable. I certainly was. Some of us have buzzed for years to perhaps avoid sadness or other negative feelings. I am realizing that is what I have done. This awareness and insight didn’t even occur to me until recently. Once I stopped constantly moving and doing, feelings surfaced that had been shoved down deep.
My eyes moisten, and sometimes I cry. Mountains of energy move through me. And quite frankly? I sometimes feel depleted and drained. After I have a brief breakdown, I always have a breakthrough. And I am ok. I am actually more than ok! You will be, too. The space that’s created after these mindful moments of release open us to receive with ease.
Stick with it. Allow yourself to feel. The discomfort will gradually become a soothing exhale. Your neck and shoulders will relax as you surrender. Your senses will sharpen. You will be filled with inner peace. When you stop running from the hurt and pain, wounds that perhaps never formed scabs will begin to heal themselves.
Your body will thank you. You will feel and see the shifts. And your performance, productivity, and overall health will improve dramatically. As you let go of what no longer serves you, people will enter your life who match your vibe. It’s happening to me. I am so grateful. There is huge, healing power in the pause.