Silence and stillness is such an important part of our lives, if you haven’t already noticed, much of our time in consumed by being in-transit, what I mean by this is that we spend most of our years striving towards a new goal/destination/habit etc, without truly living in the periods in between.
Most of this time is filled with stillness, yet we’d rather be anywhere else and busy.
There are hundreds upon hundreds of articles that list all the ways you can make use of ‘lost time’ because that’s essentially what we’ve been conditioned to believe, moments we spend eating, travelling, and sleeping are just times being lost to doing things that are seemingly unnecessary. But what could be more necessary than eating, travelling and sleeping, they’re moments we need to embrace for being, well, just still moments.
Yet living in such a productive-crazy society that values hard work and looks down upon everything else has really messed with our perceptions of stillness, we feel guilty every time we take a break because we’re losing time that could be spent working, we adjust our sleeping hours to make sure we’re sleeping well past midnight and still waking up at the crack of dawn because work calls, we can’t bear to eat in silence so we try and multi-task and get some low-level work like replying to emails done.
Slowly by slowly, that need to be constantly working towards something, anything takes over our lives and we become none the wiser.
But it wasn’t always this way, as children we had very little to concept of time, we played and played until we got tired, and when we tired we spent time in stillness, we approached everything our lives with a child-like wonder, and we didn’t care if we were being productive and there was no guilt for just being. There’s so much we can learn from our younger selves, from what we used to do before we were conditioned to believe and do so many things blindly, without consideration for ourselves.
Now I’m not saying we should abandon our work lives completely, though it sounds pretty tempting, but there are steps we can take to embrace the stillness, to just be and become content with being, without the shame and the guilt that comes with it.
How to Embrace Stillness in Self-Isolation
Self-isolation has somewhat become the norm over the past month, or even longer, depending on where you are in the world, and chances are you have quite a lot of time on your hands, like I mentioned on How to Glow Up During Self-Isolation, there are so many things you can whilst you’re at home (and if you’re key worker reading this, we appreciate you so much and everything you’re doing), to work on yourself, from expanding your knowledge to being creative, in any sense of the word.
Even if you have done all these things, you will most likely still have free time that could be filled up, and what better way than to embrace the silence, the gaps between living and working, to just exist. Instead of fighting with time, learning to work with it will help you not only grow and develop but become comfortable with doing nothing.
Step 1: Observe
Allow yourself to feel whatever you may be feeling without judgement, so many of us run away from trying to spend time alone because once we’re left alone with our thoughts negativity overrides us and we spiral into overthinking, so without judgement is key, despite our labelling of emotions, feeling is neither good nor bad, it just means we’re human.
Try and separate yourself from your thoughts, watch your thoughts and emotions without trying to change them, what can you learn about yourself?
Step 2: Awareness & Acceptance
All emotions are necessary to feel, else why would they exist? Be aware of whether these emotions are positive or negative and accept them anyway. Then begin to unpack these emotions, ask yourself where did these come from/any possible triggers? Why do I feel this way? Are these feelings coming from deep inside or are they surface-level deep?
Keep asking yourself ‘why’ to get closer and closer to the root of your feelings. Is there anything you can about it?
Step 3: Become Present
What can you do about the situation right now? What is happening at this present moment? and has it happened before? Could it happen again in the future? The answer to all questions won’t come at once, embracing stillness isn’t something you can experience once and become perfect at it, at its core it’s a ritual, a practice that needs to be perfected and experienced all throughout life.
How have you been embracing stillness during this time?
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