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  • Writer's pictureRichard Safhill

Embrace the silence

Updated: Aug 11, 2021

It can be a really hard thing to stay with silence for a while, and from my own training and experience I've realised that everyone has a different relationship with silence. If you were to wind back fifteen years, I used to have my computer on, TV in the background, some music playing and quite possibly a pan on the boil in the kitchen. And who says men can't multi-task? Although I'm not sure how successful all of the elements were. One of the gifts that my experience of depression taught me (although I didn't see it as a gift at the time) was to slow life down and do things one at a time. This could be cooking a meal or baking, without the radio or music on in the background. It got me more in touch with the process and more in tune with the sounds, smells and textures of the cooking. I've also learnt as time has gone on to take more pauses - not to move straight from one activity to the next, but to process the end of one thing before moving on to the next task. I am by no means always successful in this, but I check myself at times and tell myself to take a moment. This could just be a cup of tea, a stare out of the window, or a short nap. I always used to envy smokers corner when I was at college - not for the smoking, but that they had a way of pausing their day's activities with a few minutes chat and fresh (kind of) air. If silence feels difficult, it could be worth exploring what comes up for you as you stay with it - what repeating thoughts, what 'shoulds' creep in, etc. It can be a useful, and sometimes difficult, way of checking in with yourself and what is going on in your inner and outer world.

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