I’m a person who always has a podcast playing in the background while I’m cooking or walking, and my favorite Spotify playlist constantly cycling while I am driving in the car. Music adds so much to my life, and there are a few podcasts out there that I count down the hours until a new one is released (Serial, This American Life, The Daily, to name a few). In the last few weeks however, I have noticed that I need more silence right now. I am in a moment where I am trying to make a lot of decisions about what my next steps are in my career path and in my personal life, and I want to feel as connected to my intuition as possible while I make those decisions.
I find when I am alone and when I am quiet is when those instinctual voices inside of me make themselves heard. Whether it is hiking the Sanitas Valley in Boulder, Colorado by myself on a weekday afternoon, or lying on my bedroom floor in my favorite yoga pose, legs up the wall, those are the moments when I feel most in touch with myself. I currently have all of these thoughts swirling around in my head about whether or not to go back to school, whether or not to give up my current businesses in pursuit of some new ideas, and whether or not to spend some money on travel or try to save, and it seems the best way to start to get clarity on those decisions is to just be silent and to hold the space for those decisions to settle on their own.
I have never been much of a meditator, honestly, it’s always been hard for me to establish a regular practice. I went on a meditation retreat for my sister’s thirtieth birthday about three years ago at the Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado. That was my first real introduction to meditation, and I found sitting for long periods of time tremendously challenging. Instead of clearing my mind and connecting to a higher power, my thoughts of back pain, thirst, boredom, and sleepiness, all crept right in. I remember after one of the morning meditation sessions, we wandered out into the mountains for a hike. I perched on a rock, there was still snow on the ground, and I felt so at peace with myself. I felt reassured in the decision that I had made to move back to Colorado from New York City, I felt clear about the place I wanted to live in Boulder and knew in my gut to commit to staying there for a while. Even though that meditation felt hard for me and I felt like I wasn’t even doing it “right,” it did allow me to see what felt true for me at that time.
Even though it can be challenging to get quiet, especially with my iPhone beeping when someone likes my latest Instagram post or when my calendar is popping up to tell me it’s time to leave my house for a meeting or I’ll be late, I am going to carve out time and space daily for silence. So far this has included a few minutes in the morning of stretching with my eyes closed to check in with my body, taking deep breaths as I inhale the scent of my morning Bhakti chai with coconut milk, and turning off the music while I drive the streets of Denver. These small additions of intentional silence, without a phone, a computer or a book in front of me, are now a daily priority, especially in a time when I need to hear myself most.