On New Year’s Day I gave myself the gift of a day of silence. By this I mean a day of not speaking; which, for me, is a big departure from my usual day where I work and maintain many relationships on the telephone. I talk a lot!
It took some effort to protect this day as there were events and invitations that were hard to miss. Once I had the inspiration, though, I was a little surprised at how deeply I longed for it; to start off the New Year in silence. I wanted the relief of it, the space and time to simply befriend myself and rest in the quiet.
There were people around me at various times throughout the day so I carried an index card that said, “I’m observing a day of silence — Happy New Year” to show those who might notice my silence. I confess that I wrote “a grande extra hot cappuccino, please” on the back for my trip to Starbucks! Last week I again saw the lovely young woman who waited on me that day and she shared that my day of silence had inspired her, too.
The Sactuary Within
Now I want more. A day, a week or an hour a day, some time designated as my Sabbath; time to visit the sanctuary inside my own skin, my own heart. Giving myself that day of silence has me look more deeply at the benefit of experiencing connectedness. It really is possible to step out of the fray, no matter what the fray is, and connect with the place within myself where I can just listen and hear that ancient memory that knows that I am all right, that I have always been all right, and that I will always be all right.
Most religious traditions or spiritual practices include some form of listening for succor, guidance or answered prayer. Over 25 years ago I made the decision to live my life by allowing myself to be led by a power greater than my own best thinking. This came as a result of getting my PhD from the School of Hard Knocks! I already had a kinetic awareness of what my energy wanted to move toward, or away from, and I had come to trust my heart’s desires (vs. acting out of fear, avoidance, addictions, etc.)
I realized that the very guidance that I was seeking was right here within me and I was probably not going to get a booming voice or a burning bush! That still small voice comes to me as a thought, an idea, followed by a movement of energy, sometimes subtle, sometimes a resounding “Yes” or “Not that!”
The Wisdom Within
Over the years of my Life Coaching practice I have learned to recognize that expansion or contraction in my client’s voices, what their heart really wants to say yes or no to, and to help them learn to hear their own wisdom. One exercise that helps tune into this energy is to think of something that you really, unequivocally love. Close your eyes and slowly say “I love _________,” (that thing) at least ten times, really feeling your love for this person or thing. Then stop, keep your eyes closed and spend a moment feeling the truth of this statement in your body. Now, with your eyes still closed, slowly say the exact opposite at least ten times, i.e., “I hate ____________,” (that same thing you really love). Now stop, and with your eyes still closed, experience the feeling in your body when you are telling yourself a lie. That’s it!
I have come to identify that expansion, that movement of energy toward something; that feeling of juiciness, relief or excitement; my true heart’s desire, as Divine Guidance. In my own 62 years, and in the lives of hundreds of clients I have coached over the past fifteen years, I see over and over that steps taken with this awareness inevitably become a path that is in itself fulfilling as it moves toward visions and goals. This is how the journey or the process comes home to a sense of deep satisfaction in the moment, the now. Every step or misstep, problem or solution, becomes another opportunity to remember to return to the inspiration within us, our visceral connection with something greater than ourselves. Whatever name we call It, it is a connection that we can trust; an ever present sense of purpose.
The Confidence Within
I just started to write these are hard, scary times, and I experienced a big “No!” I don’t want to say that; there is more than enough of that news in every quarter. What I really want to say is that no matter what, there is always inspiration, grace and guidance within us, available every moment. In that moment, we can know peace, andwe can take action in trust and confidence. The trick is to learn to listen, to create some time out of the fray, and “be still and know…”