Our kids have been with family out of town for the last ten days and I have to admit, it’s been a nice break. No running from one activity to another, having only one person to get ready in the morning and the nights seemed a lot longer. It’s been a chance to relax and do a couple things I haven’t been able to do in a while. What’s weird though is that it is so quiet in the house. You never realize how the background chatter, playing, and even arguing, blends into what becomes “normal”. So normal in fact that when it’s not there the silence is magnified.
What is it about silence that is so uncomfortable? Think about that for a minute. Why is it that we feel that we have to fill every moment with sound? What’s do when you get in the car? Turn on the radio or switch the channel to a song you want to listen to. Why is it that driving in silence is rarely, if ever, considered as an option?
Leaders across all disciplines and walks of life talk about the importance of these quiet moments. The CEO of Whole Foods, hip hop mogul Russell Simmons and Oprah, just to name a few, talk about how quiet moments in their day are key to their ability to succeed and achieve. Some call it meditation, some call it prayer and some go out into nature for some quiet time. Regardless of what you call it the message is the same - in order to maintain a mentally healthy, balanced life, you need to take those moments to just sit. You need to put the phone down, step away from the computer, and just sit and breathe. Chances are your thoughts will start racing thinking about all the things you could or should be doing instead of just sitting there. That’s normal. The next step is to try to let some that go. Many people recommend focusing on your breath, counting every inhale and exhale to quiet your thoughts.
At first I thought it was something for people to do who weren’t busy, that didn’t work or have kids. I don’t have time is an easy thing to say, but actually it’s the busiest people who need these quiet moments the most. Once you start to make the time, you realize how helpful it can be. It could be 30 seconds in between meetings to take a deep breath or driving in silence with the radio off. It’s giving yourself that brief moment to stop running from one thing to the next, refocus and remember what is important.
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