Are you scared of this as much as I am? Silence seems harmless but why on earth do we hang out with it so rarely? After all mindfulness and silence can help prevent stress, create calm and help us get a bigger understanding of our own thoughts.
Before diving into that I thought I’d share with you my relationship with silence. As you know I am a momma and moms don’t get much silence in the time when the kids are around, which is totally cool. But even when I don’t have the kids around I still don’t really experience silence. For a long time, I always listened to podcasts while walking in the forest, watched TV while doing a jigsaw, or listened to music while painting. And there is nothing wrong with podcasts, TV, or music. But we need silence too.
Why do we need silence?
To be able to hear ourselves we need to be able to listen. And that is just extremely hard if you have Survivor turned up full volume on the TV. Any original thought will just hurry away leaving room for the senses to be filled with something else. But why should we listen to ourselves? Well, there is plenty of reasons for that. But the most important to me is to be able to know what I am actually feeling about something. Am I happy? Am I sad? Do I want to do something different or should I continue? Quiet time is also the time where solutions land. If I am unsure about how to do something, just experiencing quiet will help with just that.
It’s quiet now, but why doesn’t it work?
Well, imagine you are at a concert. A really noisy one like ACDC or Britney Spears. And then suddenly they turn off the music. Then your ears will still be affected by the noise. You can almost still hear the sounds and tunes long after. When you turn down off the TV or go for a walk you’ll also have white noise for a while. This might be a song, the grocery list you are writing in your head, or something else. It takes time to get down and it takes practice – and I know you can do it!
3 tips on getting quiet
- This might be super obvious but try going somewhere quiet for 10min. We don’t need to go to silent retreats for weeks to be quiet. Go outside in your garden, sit in your car for 10min before picking up the kids, sit and draw something or paint intuitively on the page.
- Be present. Be in your senses. Feel the wind, hear the birds, watch how the paint just spreads slowly in the water. Now you are tuning into yourself in your invironment and you are already so much closer to silence. Can you feel how you are actually starting to shut down some of the senses for a little while? If you watch the paint flow you probably dont hear that many sounds and if you go for a walk feeling the wind you might not notice the crack of small branches.
- Now focus on your breathing. Real silence is what comes between your breaths. So try breathing in and holding it for a little while. Notice the stilness you experience when the body finds rest.
Now you can keep going as long as you like. Either being present in your activity or just breathing. I know you are super busy with your job, kids, pets, grocery, laundry, and so on. So you might not feel like doing this for hours. But I promise you that just a few minutes a day can make a big difference. But you don’t have to do this for that long to be very helpful.
I actually found out how helpful this is by getting my kids to sleep. I always sit with them until they are sleeping with the light turned off. This is perfect because my visual sense is low and I can purely focus on hearing their breaths and my own. I also practice this when painting, especially practice pieces. The time when I feel the freest and in flow with no exact motive in mind. Here I can purely focus on the process and be present. I actually think that is one of the biggest strengths of loose watercolor. If you are new to Loose watercolor you gotta try it! I have a free class on this if you are interested and you can see that HERE. Here you really get to just have fun with the free flow and when you get the hang of it, it’s the perfect time to experience silence. I actually kind of see it as meditation for painters. Love it!
Are you in need of a detox?
Before ending this blog post I have just one more tip for you. Declutter. If you are surrounded by a lot of stuff you actually surround yourself with a lot of noise. This can be unfinished projects, scrap pieces of paper you’d never use, or pens that are dried out. Diving into this and actually decluttering is the perfect detox for your mind. I do this at the beginning of the year and before starting something new. I love how it creates a blank canvas, white space, and silence. If you want a few tips on decluttering your art space then I have a blog post for you HERE.
So if you are either going for the daily small silence treat or an entire detox I recommend you go for it. It’s the best feeling afterwards and you will love it!