For some, silence is more of a curse than a gift. Many of us have to have some form of stimulation, auditory or otherwise, bombarding us all of the time – we simply cannot exist in a silent world. We jog with ear-buds, walk with cell phones (sometimes with a child in the stroller), communicate incessantly without taking a breath and run the flat screens without interruption. Where is the break? Where are the intercessions?
Most recently I had a gentleman stop at my curbside and decide to pick up a lawn sweeper that I was setting out free to anyone who wanted it – I wasn’t using it anymore. Since I was standing in my driveway managing another task, I observed him pulling up next to the item, so I introduced myself. He said to me that he knew who I was from others who have seen the gardens on my property and since he took my street frequently, he had always wanted to see them. Being in the now moment, I offered to take him in the back to look around. He asked me what it meant to have “peaceful gardens”, and I told him that I designed spaces for people to meditate and quiet their minds. Now I wish to say that this man, at first glance did not appear to be a meditator straight off, but to my surprise he said that in his line of work he often had to deal with individuals that could be very difficult to get along with. He went on to say, that to put his mind in a position of calm, he had established an empty room in his house that only had a chair in it. He would go and sit in that chair with the door closed and bring healthy, peaceful and positive thoughts to his mind for 15 – 20 minutes each day. Wow, who knew? Is that using silence?….absolutely.
I love the synonyms of silence: quietness, quiet, quietude, stillness, hush, tranquility, noiselessness, soundlessness, peace, peacefulness……. Honestly, when and where do we use these anymore? What are we teaching ourselves, our children, when it comes to silence?
During the post-suicide grieving period, our mind often struggles with the non-stop bombardment of Things and Thoughts. Things that we are doing, have done, must do; an endless list perpetuated out of daily necessity. At times it involves Things that others are doing and how it affects us from the standpoint of good and not-so-good. And then the Thoughts of how to accomplish it all, moves in and takes over the prioritizing, categorizing and organization. Just like beautifully thin tracing paper, we overlay this Doing-ness over the ever-present emotional connection to loss. Recovery and survivorship is often and easily pushed down and buried under tons of Things and Thoughts’ To-Do Lists. And being honest, it’s sometimes just easier than coping with grief. Let’s consider interrupting the Doing-ness and embrace the Being-ness that comes with silence.
Most of us do not put silence anywhere in our daily routine. We will declare that we don’t really know how to quiet our minds and environment, it’s complicated, and frankly, we don’t have the time. But, let’s be honest – we are not shooting for Nirvana here. What we really want to do is give our minds and bodies a chance to have a voice – from the inside out. Most of the voices we receive are bombarding us from the outside in. Let’s change that and start listening to ourselves and our inner guidance, instead of simply reacting to all the noise from everywhere else.
For those of you who work in stressful situations, ones that can be a trigger for your anxiety, PTSB, sadness or other symptoms – Stop, shut your door (any door), and get silent. Everyone gets a break somewhere in their working hours, and you can find a spot that allows you to exercise your right to be still. Lean back, close your eyes, deep breathe and welcome the stillness. If your thoughts intrude, gently put them aside for consultation later. Take a walk without any electronics of any kind, not even a music playlist. Give your brain 20 minutes off.
Just choose silence as one of your treatments to health and you will always find the WHEN and the WHERE.
Excerpt from Let GO and Let LOVE: Survivors of Suicide Loss Healing Handbook, published by CreateSpace, $12.87, paperback and e-book available 09/2015.
CONTACT: Gabrielle Doucet firstname.lastname@example.org