Every now and then, it’s important to wipe the slate of your mind clean for a while, and then see what appears on it while you revel in silence.
In this busy world we live in, we’re constantly bombarded with sound, visuals, information, responsibilities – we’re in a permanent state of “available” to essentially whatever chooses to assault our senses. Most of the time this doesn’t really register for me(to a certain extent I thrive on the challenge of filtering all that), until suddenly I realize I’m twitchy, and my brain feels so full it might explode, and I actually can’t stop the thoughts from processing, or even concentrate on just one thing at a time.
When I get to that stage, it means I’ve been neglecting the things I do for myself that settle my brain. A walk by water, a soak in a warm bath, getting a massage, writing, a morning in bed where I read an entire romance novel before getting up… these are all essential parts of balancing out the wide variety of challenges and demands I place on my mind and body on a daily basis. The busier I am in some times, the quieter I need to be in others.
As a birthday escape, I went to the Scandinave Spa in Whistler for the day with some friends. It was snowy, isolated, beautiful – and eerily quiet. They have a policy of no talking in the relaxation area, which felt a little strange for the first few minutes – but after that was glorious.
Think about it – when was the last time you were really quiet for any length of time? When did you give yourself permission to think about nothing, and to simply relax into the sensations of the present. Hot water lapping against my skin, beads of sweat forming in the steam room, the near-painful, but refreshing plunge into the arctic bath… a complete shift from the cognitive to the sensual.
We were there for about 5 hours. A couple hours alternating between the hot spots (eucalyptus steam room, hot pools, sauna), the cold pools (arctic shower, arctic plunge baths) and the relaxation areas, then a one hour deep tissue massage, and then another couple hours of the hot/cold/relaxation cycle to finish off the day.
I came home calm, refreshed, relaxed, happy – and more clear in my mind than I had been in weeks. I slept well, I felt great and I was really feeling motivated and balanced for weeks following that. I also had an influx of creative ideas, and found myself thinking about things with fresh perspective. It really brought home the importance of carving out those quiet times on a more regular basis.
Even though the hot pools and spa day aren’t something that can be repeated on an overly regular basis, there are elements that can be held onto that are more readily accessible. To that end, I’ve set a goal (that I’d like to turn into a habit) for the coming few months.
At least one hour per week of “silence” – just me, no reading, no music, no phone, no tv, no email… It might be in a bath or on a walk or just lying in bed quietly.
I challenge you to join me and see if you can discover the power of silence in your own life. Let me know how you do with it!