A moment of silence. Wherever you are, stop. Turn off the television, turn off your music. Just sit in silence.
After a break, how does your brain feel? How do your thoughts feel? Does your whole system maybe feel a little less excited? Perhaps there is a little more room for change?
I was inspired by a (relatively) recent Huffington Post Article on the potential benefits of silence for the brain to examine the level of silence present in my own life. With the flurry of world events, the bustle of spring/summer, and living in a major city in full swing, I was finding my life and my work cluttered, and wasn't getting the same benefit from my self care (especially active rest) as I was used to. Upon examination, I realized I had developed some habits that were designed to increase the presence of noise in my life--listening to music and podcasts, constant checks of social media, etc. I found that I actually resisted letting go of the noise, but the moment I made a commitment to creating space, I experienced a flood of relief and ease.
The resistance to silence is part of my addiction to activity--something may of us experience. We like to feel that we are accomplishing, doing, engaged. However, being in a constant state of 'doing' keeps us from the many theorized benefits of 'non-doing' cataloged in the various studies mentioned in the article--information processing, formation of memory, restoration of our mental resources, and possibly even the growth of new brain cells. I am reminded of Tracy Lett's speech at Chicago Ideas Week in which he posits that one of the most important factors in living a creative life is allowing yourself to be bored--without that vacuum, there is no space to allow something new.
All of this connects with the essential Alexandrian concept of Inhibition--allowing yourself not to react to the stimulus to 'do' something immediately so you can exercise choice in your actions. When this principle is applied in lessons, students often observe that their movement feels 'quieter', and that the world seems to come into sharper focus. I believe this sharper focus is because there is less noise to block us from perceiving the world around us fully.
So I've made some changes. I have stopped listening to music during lie downs. I have tried to limit social media and email times to a couple checks a day. And I have tried to bring more silence to my work with students, so they can better hear the still small voice of ease inside themselves.
I challenge you this summer to find some opportunities to let silence into your life and to reap the benefits.
Thoughts on what is going on in the work and the world right now. Many posts to come.