Sitting here, on the couch, listening to the clock tick, makes me wonder if I am afraid of silence; of being idle; of stillness. I always encourage others to cultivate that empty space – that quiet well – for themselves, but do I do it for myself? The pull to constantly be reading or figuring out a problem or checking for a message or writing a blog post (*ahem) or vacuuming or making something better, or cleaner, or more worthwhile…the pull to be productive in some form – to be doing something, always – is strong.
Sometimes almost always, it’s too strong, and I give in to the pull; the allure of constant engagement or stimulation or growth or value creation. The desire to always have something to show for how I am spending my time. Proof of worth. Validation that I am thinking or doing important things that matter. Ensuring I am making something of myself. Being the one who always knows the answer or who can figure it out, or refer you to someone who can.
Turns out I don’t need to be the one who knows the answer all the time. Vulnerability is an essential part of being a well rounded human, but being truly vulnerable is harder in practice than just writing about how important it is to be vulnerable. And it turns out that sitting in stillness and embracing the silence of being idle takes practice, and when something that seems so simple is so challenging, it’s harder to keep practicing it. So perhaps it is time to refocus on what matters: To be okay with not always being okay. To not have everything figured out. To exist as an imperfect, flawed being. To seek out practice wisdom in all of its messy and uncomfortable nuances, and to ensure I keep hold of my priorities so those old temptresses of constant growth, productivity, and worthiness don’t run away with my peace. Sometimes parts of an old, tired story need to fade so new chapters that feel better can have room to bloom.
It is easy to forget that I am already whole, even in my brokenness and imperfection. All of those little imperfections create holes, and those holes are wells for goodness and love and acceptance and the beauty that resides in our shadows when we don’t try to blind them with too much light. Perhaps I – we all – need those holes to be whole, after all. We can all be silence keepers. It just takes a little practice.
As rupi kaur writes,
in order to bloom