Sunday, August 23, 2009

Unplugged, Recharged and Re-Oriented

Just back from a fabulous trip to Belize .... one of my favorite vacations yet. Why was this vacation so fantastic? Well, first of all I was with my wonderful boyfriend and when L-O-V-E is in the mix things are always better. Not only did I have great company, I also took this time as an opportunity to really unplug. Aside from a couple "I made it here and am alive and well" emails, I did no work, no phone calls, no blogging.... no nothing. What I did instead was swim, rest, snorkel, bike ride, sight see, eat good food and get plenty of vitamin D. The place we staid had no tv, no radio, no computer ..... no noise period! And while in theory this sounds very zen (people pay BIG bucks to go to noise-less places) it was a bit intimidating. I'm accustomed to having background noise on or around me at almost all times. In fact, more than I'd realized. The quietness created a calmness in me that I only sporadically experience. I also noticed how present I was throughout the vacation. I was really there - not distracted with noise or watching TV while my boyfriend was talking to me. I was there with myself and him.

This experience made me ponder - why is it so difficult for me (and others) to be with silence? Is it because it is more comfortable to be partially distracted? Is it because it's incredibly vulnerable to be in silence with someone else? Is it because I'm insecure that I wont be enough if there isn't some kind of distraction to entertain me/us? Is it because I'm afraid of what I might find about myself/him if there isn't 'something else' to focus on? I think to some extent, all of the above. Apparently, I've been subscribing to these myths for years without realizing it. And, walking through this experience liberated me from these fears (at least temporarily). I realized that the silence actually creates a special intimacy that isn't available with distraction/s. I was present with myself and my boyfriend in ways that I'd not been before.... it was eye-opening and illuminating - in good ways.

Similar to when I clear physical clutter and feel more 'spacious' and light - that is what silence seems to give. Our world seems to condone and promote filling space with 'stuff' - cars, homes, boats, nik-naks, clothing, accessories, etc..... and, it seems we make this 'stuff' to symbolize 'success'. It seems the more stuff I/you have, the more 'successful' you must be. Or maybe this is only the myth that I've made up (although, I suspect that others have or do subscribe to this mindset). I do believe that this myth is sneaky and inconspicuous - some (including myself) am not always aware when I'm 'under the spell' of more stuff = success. What I've become increasingly aware of is that when I have more 'stuff' I seem to be more stressed, overwhelmed and anxious. It's as though my brain cannot contain it all. Too much content = overwhelm.

Just last night I helped a friend re-organize and clear her dining room out. A room that hadn't been evaluated in years. It took 2.5 hours of laborious work, we cleared, cleaned, swept, organized and filled many garbage bags of un-needed 'stuff'. She texted me this morning saying "I LOVE IT". I'm guessing she loved it because she felt to breathe, let her creativity flow again and watch possibilities open up. Obviously, I'm simplifying this process a bit here - the truth is that it was important that I was there to help her release the 'stuff' that she'd be holding onto - many of which held memories for her and many of which were simply taking up physical space with NO useful purpose but to clog the energy flow. She is now filling up with ideas on how to shift things in other areas of her home. Funny how that happens.... you start to shift the energy in ONE area of your home, your life, you job .... and other energy starts to shift as well.

Whether it's creating physical space OR simply turning down the volume around you, I strongly encourage you to create some space for yourself. As humans we're not meant to have stimulation around us 24/7. We need time to reflect, recharge, unwind, breathe, use our creativity, and feel relaxed in order to keep the energy moving through us, which gives a sense of balance and possibility. So, if you're finding yourself bogged down or feeling heavy about an area of your life - I STRONGLY urge you to take time away from it. Give yourself some space. And I guarantee if you do this you WILL come back in a new 'space' with new insight that wasn't there before.

You definitely do not have to go to Belize to give yourself 'space', but if you have the chance, DO IT! San Pedro Island to be specific..... as Madonna puts it, "La Isla Bonita".

Here's to some breathing room,

1 comment:

  1. You're right Nikki: clutter-freedom in any domain is absolutely worth the work. it may not feel urgent, but it is so important. I've been practicing "inbox zero" which came out of Dave Allen's Getting Things Done philosophy and it's great.