When Silence Isn’t Serene

I talk a lot about the importance of silence and meditation in living a comfortable in your own skin life. Those ancient and modern spiritual teachers know what they are talking about. Only in silence can you truly listen. Only when you quiet chatter and incessant doing can you mine the depths of what is truly there inside you. And, sometimes what you find isn’t all butterflies and flowers.

My official last day of “day job” was Friday, September 7th. I felt really proud about completing it with class and heading into something new. As a way to truly honor the transition, I meditation.jpgdecided to clear my calendar and take 2-3 days to just “be”. No phone calls, appointments, business commitments, household chores, or obligations; only a time to spend many hours in silence, meditating, journaling, and reading contemplative text.

It all sounded like a good, nourishing time when I planned it. Yet after almost three days of doing this, I found more noise and discordant feelings than anything else.

Many people say to me things like “I can’t meditate.”, “I won’t like meditating.”, or “Where will that get me?” What I believe they are really saying is “I am afraid.” Afraid of what they will discover if they truly listen to the messages their body or soul has for them. What if it isn’t all bluebirds and roses?

I got a taste of this experience myself. In the past I have certainly experienced powerful emotions and dark feelings when I’ve done inner work. It’s OK in my book in that it is all part of the process of moving through what keeps us stuck and getting in touch with what is “really” at the core of our experience. Yet, I was not prepared for the roller coaster of feelings and discoveries over the last few days.

I’d like to blame the dreary weather earlier in the week, but I know my dreary mood and feelings had more to do with what I am experiencing right now than the barometric pressure. To transition from a known (even if miserable) reality of a corporate job to that of an entrepreneur is a big shift. No matter how much we want a change in our life, when the change is at our doorstep it is scary and emotional. What I found was that my biggest feelings of fears, expectations, and desires came down on me like a ton of bricks. Add to that a re-appearance of old, nagging foot problems just days before our trip to California and I ventured into the land of basket case; that state where you revert to about the age of four, cry like the kid across the street stole your favorite toy, and just want a hug and someone to make everything perfect.

Doing my own little retreat within the confines of my house was additionally challenging as any homeowner knows. As you sit it is hard not to notice a number of things you could or “should” be doing. I found this a fabulous reminder that the world is driven by constant doing and busyness but that it has little to do with what really matters sometimes.

On day three I opted for a trip to my favorite place to just wander, ponder, and be with spirit, Columcille. Lucky for me it was a glorious day of my favorite weather. That coupled with a surprise meeting with the founders’ new puppy and I suddenly realized the folly of it all. When I say folly I don’t mean that my feelings are any less valid or present for me than they were the day before. What I do mean is that at any moment you can dwell on what’s going on in your internal world and take up residence there or be grateful for a new awareness, honor what’s there, let it be, and see what’s great about what’s right in front of your eyes.

As for me, what’s next on my agenda is some good old R&R as I take a much needed break and enjoy some vacation. I’m sure the awareness and feelings I discovered will keep working away providing guidance and insight as I go. At the same time I can just kick back, enjoy time with my partner and good friends, and celebrate what has been and what is yet to come.

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