Well my friends over at Affluent Magazine have done it again. The latest issue of Affluent is gorgeous. I have said it before that this magazine feels so fabulous to hold. The cover is velvety soft, the content is varied and wonderful and the photos are always stunning. Below is my article in this issue that appears in my regular column. Be sure to click the cover image to enjoy Affluent as an online flip book and see my article on pages 50 and 51.
The Case for Quiet
More than a decade into the new millennium it is clear that time for silence in our daily lives is becoming more elusive. Our easy access to technology, information and entertainment overtakes our ability to tune out, shut off, and dare I say, silence it all.
You are in good company if the comfort of your smart phone ear buds has become just as important as the comfort of your shoes—if not more so. After all, it seems that our attachment to our continuous stream of information has moved from the nice-to-have category to the must-have. This truth has us accessing information while at the gym, during our commute and doing other activities.
Perhaps this is not you. Maybe you are among those who do not bring your phone along when walking your dog or heading into the bathroom. Maybe you do not reach over to your bedside table to check Facebook even before stepping out of bed in the morning and the last thing in the evening.
There is still a contingent of people who spend the final moments of each day before settling for bed reading, sitting quietly in meditation or journaling the day’s events. This same contingent likely also prefers to keep the TV off at bedtime choosing not to invite the outside world into that sacred space. If you are among this group you know a significant truth.
Silence can re-align and re-calibrate your life.
Quiet, defined simply, is the absence of noise. However a truer and more expansive definition tells us that it is more than this. Quiet is where we can access truth, inspiration, clarity and insight. True silence offers a pregnant pause from our fast forwarded lives. This pause allows us to become aware of our breath, our intentions and our connection to virtually everything we share our existence with.
Human beings need moments of quiet to reflect on what we allow to shape our days and our lives. Reversing over-stimulation, stepping outside of our plans and schedules and allowing blocks of time to be inaccessible offers us a beautiful opportunity. This opportunity can create a revolution in life with transformational effects. It allows a deeper awareness of Divine nudges streaming to us 24/7 and creates the space to ask the big and little questions that direct our lives. So how do we do it? How do we invite the quiet into our lives without feeling like it is a burden or a must-do?
IDEAS to SOLVE the QUIET CONUNDRUM
Invite Sounds Mindfully
Right now, notice the sounds you hear. Which ones have you invited intentionally? Which sounds are beyond your control? While you may not be able to silence the ambulance sirens as they wail past you or the jet engines flying overhead, surely there is something you can choose. A few easy examples of this are to mute your phone, silence your computer or turn the TV off while you cook dinner.
Wake Up Wonderful
Do you know how delicious a morning can be when you awaken, not because of an alarm or sunlight in your eyes, but simply because your body signaled you that it was fully rested? If the opportunity to awaken like this is rare for you, try this post-alarm-clock exercise. Before rising, focus on your nourishing life-giving breath. Gradually move your awareness from your toes, to your calves, knees and so on, until you move up your body to your eyes and top of your head. Visualize each breath waking up, fueling and appreciating each body part as you focus your breath there.
Intentionally drive with the radio off and your phone turned off and stored away from reach. This will also mean you have no use for your hands-free earpiece as well. Whether your drive is two minutes or two hours it will offer you a contemplative opportunity that few other activities offer. For the same reason that people instinctively turn the radio down when they are lost, quiet offers clarity and direction.
Back to Nature
Enjoying silence does not have to take place while seated on a meditation cushion while alone in a room. Enjoy a walk (again with no media or phone) and try this challenge. Find a spot on your walk where you can sit or stand where there is not one manmade object within your 180-degree view. Enjoy that spot and consider the beauty of nature there and your connection to it.
Create an opportunity to have a quiet moment with your body. While standing, sitting or laying down ask yourself this,” What would my body have me know and act on? What does it need from me?” You may be surprised to learn that you will get a spot-on answer that could range from guidance that you need more vitamin C, to moisturize more or drink less coffee, to bigger things like quitting your job that overwhelms you with exhaustion. Your body knows, so ask!
Quiet creates an energetic space. Since we know that nature abhors a vacuum, that quiet space is certain to be filled with something non-sensory. That allows a different kind of “hearing” to step in, intuition. It allows for another kind of vision, insight. This quiet allows us to access our Divine GPS which utilizes our physical body for feedback, to speak to us of our connection to nature, our health, each other and our life purpose.
Silence offers us the opportunity to be present. Real presence and awareness shines the light on the good available to us every day of our lives. And on those days when there is tumult, confusion or a situation that seems impossible—silence can offer tranquility unmatched by anything sold, bottled or brewed.
As printed in the March/April issue of Affluent Magazine)
Rena M Reese is the founder of Soul Salon International, an inspirational multimedia company that also offers coaching and consulting to help people find their “happy place.” She is the author of several titles, a professional speaker and the host of a weekly radio program, The Soul Salon. Please visit SoulSalonInternational.com on the web, on Facebook and on twitter @TheSoulSalon.