There is a thickness to my breath that wasn’t there two weeks ago.
Thick with power. Like it’s taking up space in this confident, sure-of-itself sort of way.
It rushes into my body in mighty waves and then flows out with ease and achievement, knowing where it’s been and proud of the work it’s done.
I’ve been cultivating this space for my breath. For a string of 10 or 12 days I have abandoned the booming music and guided voices of my many trusted meditation tracks, and I’ve been sitting in the sweet silence peppered by only my breath.
It was time for a stripping back.
In a cacophonous explosion of energy, my heart burst wide open almost two weeks ago, and I saw all the ways I had been looking outside of myself for answers. All the ways I had been pushing and striving. All the ways I had been cramming more and more noise into the precious space of my silent heart.
It makes me laugh now, this faithful, repetitive cycle of looking without to realize yet again that the answer is still sitting right there within. But at the time it was not funny. It was deeply devastating.
And I despaired that here I was again. Even me. Who has journeyed so far. And who has been shown so much. Dragged back to the silence to find herself yet again.
And so I’ve been sitting. With myself. Quietly.
Yes, in meditation. But also throughout my day.
At loud parties with friends. And during crowded street festivals. Amidst conversations. And throughout action.
I’ve been witnessing the silence in all the spaces in between. The pause that you can slip into for even just a moment. The buffer around the heart that you can crawl into even amidst the most chaotic of environments.
And what I’m realizing is that the silence is more vibrant than the noise we’ve created to drown it out. It is alive and enchanting. And its healing glow is like the warmest, deepest hug.
On silent hikes, I’ve heard the symphonic chirps of nature and the magical shimmying of the wind through the trees and felt so seen by Mother Earth.
In silent meditation, I’ve become entranced in the oceanic wash of my own life-giving breath and the layers of frequency stacked around my body and felt so incredibly protected by this Universe.
Lying in the silence of sunrise, I’ve listened to the melodic sound of peace wafting from my daughter’s room and the trickle of morning light seemingly announcing itself with crooning trumpets and felt completely mystified by the magic and wonder of life.
I’ve realized that silence is absolutely saturated with vitality, and we’re mostly missing it.
The angels have shown me how we are nurtured and balanced by the gifts of silence. And I have seen and felt the essence of a physical scale that sits at the level of our heart. When we are in the sweet rhythm of love and the frequency of connection, it gently rocks back and forth, in this perpetual sway of giving and receiving, of awareness and allowing.
It feels like a soft, tickling massage on the heart. Like the bubbling of energetic champagne all over this most sacred center.
But when we become saturated by the noise - the noise of the world, of our own minds - the balance is lost and the scale hangs from our chest, heavy with all that we are trying to shove in. Consumption weighs us down and we feel overstuffed and overstimulated.
Likewise when we give and give and give of ourselves without care for our own energetic sustenance we feel empty and drained. Lost. Overwhelmed. Confused.
But the clarity is right there. In the balance of the silence.
It helps weave space back into our tightest corners, and it offers light where we've crammed in the darkness. It is a helpmate and friend, and it is the patient canvas we paint our lives on again and again, only to wipe it off and realize the beauty of the blank page.
It is the giant hand faithfully holding us.
Silence has been a sweet reprieve for me these past weeks, and I offer these silent practices to you in love and compassion. May you find yourself in the space in between.
1. Set a timer on your phone for 15 or 20 minutes (while it’s on airplane mode), close your eyes, and sit in silence.
Simply focus your attention on your breath. There’s nothing to solve. No insight to force. No agenda to accomplish. You don’t even have to focus on relaxing. Just give yourself a chunk of time to sit in silence.
If your thoughts are particularly bothersome, remind yourself that thoughts are natural. Invite them to stay, but ask that they try to keep it down. Sometimes I practice watching my thoughts and then see if I can bask in the silent spot just between them.
2. Lie in bed in the morning for 60-90 seconds before getting up and breathe in the quiet before beginning your day.
When I wake up I like to smile, offer myself a kindness (“Kayla, you are so loved”), say something positive in my mind about life (“Everything always works out for me” or “Today is a wonderful day to be alive; I’m so grateful for my life”) and then simply relish in the silence.
I often do this with my eyes open gazing at that gauzy quality of morning light and marveling at the feelings of newness that morning brings.
3. Take a walk in nature without your phone. No headphones. No music.
Silent walking can be one of the most enchanting and soul-filling experiences. Just like the silent seated meditation, see if you can detach even a bit from the chatter of the mind and find quiet within.
Allow your steps to be the metronome to your practice staying with each step the same way you would stay with your breath. Open your heart and ears to the sounds of nature, and see if you can slip into the silence even between them.
4. Create a self-help, silence-inducing trigger.
I like to tap on my heart. Physically. With my fingers.
The practice started naturally for me. Whenever someone would tell me something from their heart or share a vulnerability, I would tap on my heart to remind myself to be present, to receive the energy and to offer compassion. This habit has morphed into a presence-inducing ritual not just for interactions with others, but also with myself.
If it felt good, you could develop your own little physical reminder to take a breath, find the space of silence and receive the goodness of that moment.