The Value of Silence

Sometimes when we are driving around town running errands, heading to my mum’s house for a visit, or picking up my husband from work my daughter will pipe up from her car seat in the back and say, “Mom, can we just have some quiet time right now, please?”

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At 5 years old this kid is already wise to how wonderful and necessary silence can be. Normally we’d have music or an audio story playing, but many times she’ll specifically request that I turn the radio off and keep my own mouth shut as well.

At my very first Reiki session as a professional practitioner years ago I had quiet, soothing music playing (as I still do with sessions today). Somewhere about three quarters of the way through the appointment my playlist ended and I may or may not have gone into full on panic mode. I immediately started overthinking the entire situation, convinced that the client noticed the sudden lack of Deuter filling the room and was therefore having a terrible time. I actually nervously said, “whoops, my music stopped! Let me just fix that…” and proceeded to fiddle with my phone DURING THE APPOINTMENT until the playlist restarted. Thinking back to this I can’t help but cringe and wonder why I placed such worth in music playing while I worked.

When I had someone in for a Reiki session earlier this year a similar situation happened. For whatever reason the music cut out during the appointment unexpectedly and the client and I were left with a starkly silent room.

I kept it that way.

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What a difference a few years and some perspective can make. Where I was once afraid of lacking sounds to fill a space, I now value that absence so greatly.

Seeing my daughter not only requesting but enjoying silence already brings me so much joy. As a kid I would often fall asleep with headphones on listening to music, the bus ride to school would be full of chattering students or whatever radio station the driver felt we deserved that day, and from homeroom to last bell I’d have the voices and sounds of classroom after classroom in my ears, followed by all the varying volumes of my family and home life.

I remember all of that as an accepted constant, but I also remember the small moments in time where the act of quiet mindfulness started wandering into my life: as a tween, looking out the window and watching the snow so intently after my mother told me that if I listened hard enough I could actually hear the snow fall, and later as a teenager in psychology class learning a brief meditation instructed by my teacher as she turned out the lights and had us all lay our heads down on our desks and close our eyes.

Now as an adult I am grateful for those initial introductions to silence as a sacred opportunity. We don’t need noise all the time! We get enough of that just simply existing in the modern world.

One of my favorite things to do, and as a stay at home mom to a 5 year old this is a very rare occurrence, is sit down with a cup of tea and a cozy blanket and just be in my home.  Literally just being there. Not folding laundry while listening to a podcast, or washing the dishes while my daughter asks for more water, or strawberries, or pretzels, etc. every 5 seconds, or yelling, “ALEXA! PLAY FROZEN TWO MUSIC!” Just sitting down and leaving the quiet as it is.

This is not to say that I don’t enjoy my home when it is full of noise (just so we’re clear, I love the Frozen II soundtrack and Lost in the Woods will never not be on repeat in my head) or that when I do have some quiet time it’s completely void of noise, but when I sip my tea on my couch next to my sleepy chihuahua I am reveling in my own version of silence.

It’s enough for me for now.

 

Let’s Talk About Self Worth

What do a Reiki Master/Yoga teacher and Personal Stylist have in common (aside from both being fabulous, I mean)? Unfortunately the answer is that in both professions the issue of low self worth is common in clients. Body image woes seem to plague people from the Yoga mat to the closet and everywhere in between.

Continue reading “Let’s Talk About Self Worth”

No Apology Necessary

On the afternoon of May 14th, 2014 I was laboring in a tub at The Birth Center in Beverly.

This was my first time doing the whole “pushing a human out of my body” thing, and despite all of the books I had read, mothers I had spoken to, and videos I had watched about what giving birth is actually like I was still completely (and I mean COMPLETELY) shocked by how painful the contractions were.

I was doing my best to handle everything as calmly as my body and mind were allowing, but I was also dealing with back labor (side note: back labor is the opposite of a good time) and getting fatigued. During all of this I had music playing on my phone from the playlist I’d compiled carefully weeks before. Continue reading “No Apology Necessary”

Space: Holding It

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One of the main aspects of being a Reiki and Yoga teacher I value, perhaps even treasure, is that people feel comfortable opening up to me. I have heard stories of anger, exhaustion, uncertainty, grief, hope, and joy. I have had folks come in and not say anything, but quietly permit some likely long overdue tears to fall.

There is nothing on my intake forms suggesting clients need to share the personal details of their experiences with me, but more often than not, I do get blessed with the background of these souls. They are trusting me to listen, and I do. I listen, I empathize, I let them share whatever they want or need to.

I hear them.

I hold space for them.

Personally, I have been through ordeals in my life so intense, so weird, and/or so frightening that I absolutely had to release them in some way. I have needed someone to hold space for me.

I learned fairly quickly the person I chose to be my confidant had to have some qualifications: they had to possess the ability to refrain from passing judgment on me (though an occasional eyebrow raise might have been permitted if the story truly warranted it–they’re human), they had to grant me the freedom to express myself with any and all emotions (if they can’t handle me at my snot and tear stained face, they don’t deserve me at my glowing elated face), they had to listen without going rogue and trying to figure out a solution for me, because holding space is about providing support, not trying to “fix” things or find answers (those are my responsibility), and they had to allow me to talk (or not talk) without feeling expected to do anything else. Despite this laundry list of demands, I came to trust a few people with this role.

Why do we need an outlet like this? What is it about exposing our true selves to another that helps us abandon our internal narratives for a while? Maybe we are organically releasing some of the weight of our burdens, and maybe that release creates room for relief, however brief. Maybe sometimes we just want to feel heard.

Our problems or struggles may not vanish, but by sharing with someone willing to listen we are granting ourselves permission to let go a little. Sharing a small part of our genuine selves with confidence is priceless, and having someone willing to accompany you without judgment is a gift. Each time someone in my life graces me with the opportunity to free myself of my challenges for a short while,  I see them as a lighthouse in the middle of a storm. They are a beacon for me when things feel like they’re falling apart.

The act of holding space for someone is one of true kindness and compassion. Allowing a person to become vulnerable in your presence, whether they choose to actually speak their mind or not, is a significant responsibility.

Can you hear their words without injecting your own opinions? Can you sit with them and simply let them feel? Can you bear witness to a small piece of their journey without asking for anything in return?

Try. Someone will be grateful you did.

 

 

 

Quest for the Press

I am someone who enjoys a good challenge, and by “enjoy” I mean practically destroy myself in the process of trying to achieve success. Exhibit A: my brief but unbelievably intense obsession with press handstands.

If you’re not familiar with the term, a “press handstand” just means that rather than kicking up to get yourself vertical, you lift your lower body off the ground like magic using mainly core and arm strength. When I first discovered this practice, I quite literally thought I was witnessing some sort of dark sorcery. I could not fathom that it was possible for a human body to just float on up like that. Thus, my obsession began.

Continue reading “Quest for the Press”

Elderberry Syrup & Vegan Gummies

In early 2015 I was a stay at home mom to a beautiful 8 month old child, with a growing desire for some kind of creative outlet. Now that I’ve said that the nice way, let me rephrase that and tell you that I was practically ripping my hair out with wild, dangerous eyes searching for something, ANYTHING, to give me a connection to the outside world. It was a long winter spent mostly indoors; the snow that year was unbelievable and we were one of the lucky folks who had to deal with the aftermath of an ice dam on our roof. I was keeping myself busy with all the never-ending tasks that come with motherhood and homemaking, but I was desperate to do something for myself (it would be another 6 months before the opportunity to purchase The Healing Center came around). So I started a blog. Continue reading “Elderberry Syrup & Vegan Gummies”

Space: Creating It

At the end of last year (is it just me or does it always feel weird to call it “last year” when it was only a few days ago?) I felt the theme of “creating space” arrive in my life. Or, more accurately, I belatedly acknowledged its relentless presence. It had presented itself to me over and over in different ways for months, maybe even years, until I eventually managed to connect the dots (at which point the Universe was probably thinking “ugh, FINALLY.”)

Continue reading “Space: Creating It”