THE SEASON OF SILENCE
When I think of spring, I am reminded of the bare branches shooting off a myriad of beautiful green buds. Summer reminds me of exotic flowers blooming with endless days to spend outdoors and cooking barbecues. Fall moves me into a transitional season of windy days with a warm pallet of orange, yellow and red leaves covering the ground. And so the days begin to get shorter and we tend to slow down. Winter brings on hibernation-like moods while surrounded by cold breezes and silvery, shades of white and grey. Life seems to quickly escape us like sand between our fingers. Or is it nature's cycle of life inviting us to slow down? Is winter the season of silence?
Like animals in the wild, they naturally find the winter season to lower their energy levels for survival, including slowing down their respiration and heartbeat. Similarly, the human race transitions from warm seasons into winter by withdrawing and spending more time indoors.
Along with motionlessness and repose, winter can also bring on silence. It's ideal to explore the inner silence for deeper soul connection. If we are open to connect with the changes of the season and better align ourselves with the outer universe, we will find it is easier to live in harmony with our environment.
CAN SILENCE BE LONELY?
Walking on fresh fallen snow has a sound. But the outdoors, the atmosphere, the fresh, crisp air, also has a sound. I call it the sound of silence. Close your eyes and feel the silence everywhere. Allow it to gravitate into your pores; it’s effortless and a free gate to solitude. There is something magical when we connect to nature and the season of silence.
A few years ago, I had the courage to ski downhill for the first time on the beginner’s slopes in Mont Tremblant Ski Resort. With snowflakes dancing and falling from the sky, I prayed as I skied my way down. Surprisingly, I found it to be the perfect moment to find silence! The white landscape was perfect; the voices of the skiers in the background echoed softly; the gentle clangs of the skies swishing by; the calming sound of cascading running water. Nature’s surroundings helped me find soothing silence within.
Did you know that a human brain has at least 80,000 thoughts a day? And many of these thoughts are like looped tapes of the same conversations. The human brain is constantly producing ideas with an endless inner dialog; finding time to draw silence within is necessary and might be therapeutic too.
Silence can be lonely but it is necessary. Silence creates the space to observe your thinking patterns and it opens your minds to be with your thoughts without interference, freeing your mind. Silence gives you the opportunity to observe your unnurturing behaviours. Silence helps you make healthy and sensible choices to align yourself with what you want to attract in your life. Some may confuse silence with loneliness or isolation, instead choose its meaning to be “time in solitude”. You deserve to enjoy your own company; become your best friend when you willingly give time to yourself.
IDEAS TO EXPLORE TIME IN SOLITUDE
Research and sign up for a one-day or a weekend Silent Retreat, if it's possible. During a pandemic, the alternative is an online event to enjoy from the comfort of your home.
Communicate to your friends and family that you will need to spend time alone to take care of your mental health. Find a self-care practice that normally you would like to do but can’t find time for, such as a facial mask, a yoga class, a spiritual reading, or journaling. Choose whatever you can enjoy on your own.
Begin with little steps to work towards an hour of silence. For example, plan as little as half an hour in a bath with mineral salts and aromatherapy oils. Start your first baths with doing nothing, just resting. Work towards a one-hour bath and you can read or meditate.
Avoid watching the news and social media interactions when practicing silence. Fully disconnect from social media by scheduling time away from your phone or laptop, including turning off all your alerts. Schedule your time away from your internet community by selecting which day of the week works best and enter it in your calendar.
Use your time in silence to scan your belongings. Assess what is necessary and let go of your unused items. Consider donating to friends and family or a local shelter in need. \
Start the day with a routine, such as a beautiful nature walk. Consider taking a hike at sunrise or sunset and surround yourself with nature’s noises.
THERAPY OF SILENCE
Silence can be beneficial in many ways. Your first signs of positive changes is your stress starts to diminish including space and creativity in your mind is increased. Other benefits may include an increase of self-regulation and toughness of the mind. Simple living is also a positive side effect of incorporating silence in your life.
Weekly silence practice and increasing it to daily can bring a sense of lightness and a more pleasant state of mind plus it can empower you to start something new in your life, like a new sport or studying something new. Consider silence for many body, mind and soul benefits. How will you practice silence?
“Move gently into silence, don't force it; instead surrender with open arms.”
Connect with Monica and share your insights or new learnings. Stay tuned for next month’s topic! Monica specializes in mindfulness and mind-body self-care therapy. Find out more by visiting:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: Yogafymylife
Resources: Mindfulness, Meditation and Mind Fitness. Joel Level & Michelle Level
Reviewed by Jessica Caceres