(2 min read on beginnings, transitions, and silence) This week was the first week of the term in many places across the UK, for my university, my local primary school, my children’s schools and colleges, and no matter how many times I’ve done it, the beginning reminds me of holding your nose and jumping into the water. Sometimes it’s beautifully warm, sometimes shockingly cold, then there’s the first time you jump off the side of a boat or a pontoon into the sea and realise it’s salty. You don’t know what it will be like until you’re in it.
(Image CC BY-NC-ND by Elvis Kennedy)
I knew what the summer was like. I developed a routine of study, writing, reflection, and stillness. Yes, my routine included slowing down to silence. In fact I found balance so that several times in the day I could put my finger on just the thought I wanted, like having a clearly tuned radio. Now I jumped into the water and am swimming in the stream of the new semester. It is refreshing, there are great people, but there are new things to balance – a current to navigate. I wonder if there is a secret to managing change and maintaining the balance and stillness.
Today is Saturday, and although it is grey and slightly drizzly, I can still taste the summer. There are raspberries in the garden to pick and the magnolia and the rose are still blossoming. If I let myself, I can feel that stillness, but today it took time to find it. I had to physically lie still and then let the mental static go before I could see through the noise. The noise isn’t bad. It isn’t actually noise at all. It is all the important things – every week has challenges…
I had a special sort of day last week where the shower door fell off, the loo (toilet) broke, and my car clutch went. When I went to start the car it sounded like 22 mid-sized chicks having a squabble in there, along with some metallic grinding noises… Good thing I cycle.I did say it was a special sort of day, and there were plenty of things to think about and it made my brain look like this: (Image CC BY-NC-ND by Jason Hunter)
Bizarrely though, it was a good day. There will always be everyday things that float into our worlds and minds like puffy clouds in the sky. Maybe it is when we allow them to block the view or rain on the picnic that they become noise.
For me it’s learning balance and developing skills of switching between one task and the next. Blowing away the clouds that shouldn’t be in the front row of the theatre of my mind, and allowing the spotlight to shine where it should.
Slowing down to stillness? Yes.
It is not about how long it takes, but about always remembering that it is an ongoing process, and it is only when I forget to listen and push back the distractions that the noise clouds my vision. Here’s to focus and finding the groove.
Image CC BY-NC-ND by Josh N