When I was a teenager, my mother couldn’t get me to stay put in the house. I always had somewhere that I needed to be. Either Faith Panashe‘s house or Kennedy‘s. I was busy doing nothing. She would lock the gate but that didn’t help. Until one day she sat me down and said, “I hope you find the peace that you are looking for and finally be still.” She then stopped locking the gate because it needed to be a personal decision for me to stay home and not loiter.
A lot of people are struggling with this pandemic and the lockdown because they are extroverts or they are like me. They hate to have to deal with the silence.
Do you know why the silence sucks? The silence sucks because that’s the time your mind decides to call you out on all your poppycock.
So what do we do?
We drown out the silence by any means necessary. Any opportunity for us to be alone with our thoughts, we start endlessly scrolling through social media, we’re littering the streets like a paper bag on a windy day, we’re putting on earphones. Anything to distract us from the work that has been placed before us.
No one is coming
Inner work sucks because you can’t group-assignment it. Yes you can seek guidance on it here and there but you have to do the heavy lifting. Sometimes the inner work is so embarrassing that you are literally too ashamed to open up about it to someone else.
You can’t avoid it
It’s literally not going anywhere. It’s just sitting there piling up and stalking you. It’s looking for a chance to get in the ring with you and it will, at the most inconvenient time. You’ll be standing in the queue at the bank and all of a sudden tears start streaming down your face and you can’t hold them back. So you dash to the car to calm yourself down and the spillway gives way and now you’re sobbing inconsolably.
What should we do now?
Spend more time in peace and quiet. Let yourself discover the things that you need to work on and start working on them. Making peace with your ghosts will keep you from dreading that 3am insomnia. The trouble with 3am is that you are cornered. Where are you gonna go to run from the truth. Knowing you, you’ll probably grab your phone and start scrolling all the social media platforms on rotation.
Make a date with yourself. Whether it’s first thing in the morning or the last thing before bed, to check in with yourself and take stock if there are any arising issues. You can’t be self-aware if you are not aware of the issues troubling self. Some of the issues can be sorted out in your sleep and some of them have to be consciously done by you while you’re awake. The computer does some updates in the background but during the reboot, it only focuses on that specific task. Use these meetings with yourself to reflect, meditate, visualise, pray, affirm and be thankful.
I am a shy person by nature. People will fight me on this because I am so chatty. I am only chatty because I hate the sound of the silence. I start to blabber just to make that defeaning silence go away. I’m working on it now by taking regular vows of silence.
When I am not speaking, I start hearing more. I start paying attention more and appreciating the things around me at a higher frequency. Exactly like that Pocahontas song, “You’ll learn things you never knew, you never knew.” Speaking requires a lot of energy. Hearing the other person, fighting the urge to meander, restraining your concentration span, processing what the person is saying, pulling up mental files on the topic, preparing a response, structuring your sentence, picking your words and waiting for a pause. When you are actively listening, you make half of those processes redundant.
What happens if I don’t be still
Well, you’ll always have a void which is insatiable no matter what you throw at it. The healing work can’t begin so you’ll be lugging around all this baggage. You’ll be fighting smoke because you don’t know where the blows you’re getting are coming from. You’ll be coming undone on the regular and unable to keep it together. You’ll just be a hot mess in all aspects of your life. You’ll be busy, tired but achieving nothing of substance.
Next time you go out to the tuckshop or to take a bath, leave the phone behind and spend time with yourself. Make that time a special time. Speak blessings over yourself. Sort through your feelings. Get to know yourself all over again. Heal yourself from past issues. Celebrate your wins. Realign your mind, body and spirit.
When is the best time for you to have alone time with yourself?