Dear Friends,“Quiet is the new loud.” – Patrick StumpI came across this quote last night and no pun intended — it spoke volumes.
What is it about stillness that can be so unsettling? Why do we find ourselves filling up at the pump of life, filling our minds, hearts and stomachs with endless thoughts and experiences, with more, more, more?
Winter is often the season, in the cycle of change, that invites us to slow down. Weather may keep us in our homes, the bare trees and still earth, the shorter days invite us inside — to rest, to sleep, perchance to dream?
Years ago, my sister Kate gave me a birthday present. The gift was a deceptively simple book called The Art of Doing Nothing: Simple Ways to Make Time for Yourself. Some 18 years later, the book is still on my bathroom counter. I have to say, I am not sure I have cracked the book open in years. In some ways, I don’t really even see it as separate from the other objects that sit on the shelf — periodically moved for cleaning. I hadn’t really thought about it until I came across the quote last night.Quiet is the new loud.
I am thinking about it now.
My sister Kate knew exactly what she was offering me in this deceptively simple little book. She saw in me a person who lived in the loud, who filled up time, space, body and soul with otherness — with you-ness. And the invitation was to cultivate and reserve some time for “me-ness.”
In many ways, I’ve come light years in the the me-ness department. I’ve cultivated the space to rest and restore, to play and to be quiet. I know that many of you have as well. However, the topic of “self-care” has become so ubiquitous in the media, in the culture and in our 24/7 lives that I think it has become like that book on my bathroom shelf — it’s time to dust it off.I opened and read through the book this morning. I felt myself tense and exhale simultaneously as I read the art of creating with beauty, with light, with joy “the something’s of nothing.” I tense because, though comfortable with the stillness, the not-doing still brings up a sense of imbalance, a loss, a disequilibrium that is unsettling. Change does that.It is time to exhale into the stillness. To breathe into the quiet.
“Sit quietly, doing nothing,” instructs the zen master. “Spring comes and the grass grows of itself.”
Practice along with me during this season of rest and re-birth, the art of doing nothing, whether for a minute, an hour or a day. I’ve a hunch it will do us all, and the world, a great deal of good.
Here are a few simple tips to get us started.
–Listen to nothing. I guarantee, you’ll hear something new.
–Stretch your imagination. Notice pictures over words. They speak volumes.
–Empty your stomach. Skip a meal or a snack. Emptying the stomach IS emptying and quieting the mind.
Quiet is the new loud.
I can hear it already.
Namaste my friends,
Mary*Reprinted from Fresh Intuition NewsletterFebruary 2016
*It felt like a very important day to reflect on the impact of quiet, stillness and contemplation and the empowerment of actions — heartfelt and clear.