Extremely Still and Very Quiet

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Extremely Still and Very Quiet

The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind. – Albert Einstein

For the past couple of months and even now, I feel the intense need to get extremely still and be very quiet. It’s not that I don’t want to do or say anything. Instead, I find myself pulling back and that scares me. At first, I seriously questioned if resistance was playing a role. Was I avoiding doing the important? Was I pulling back out of fear?

It’s just that as I read and reread my writting, nothing feels “right.” Nothing “resonates.” When I look at the breadth and scope of what I’ve studied over the past two and a half years, I feel overwhelmed by the data and unclear how to organize and implement it. I worry that I’m once again retreating behind my well built walls. As I contemplated these things; however, I realized that it’s more that I’m really not sure what actions and words I want to put out into the world. I realized what I’m craving is rumination. I want to eliminate distractions. I’m tired of glossing over a lot of concepts. I want to go deep.

A couple of years ago I realized that I have to figure out how to turn down the noise in my life. I have too many inputs, too many moving parts, and too much commotion. The easy thing is to scrap it all and start fresh. However, when you have parts you love, parts you cherish, and parts you’re committed to, that’s just not an option. It’s never a good thing to toss the baby out with the bath water. So, I’ve trimmed here and cut there, but it’s still quite loud.

The task, I realized, is to discern the good from the bad from the ugly. The trick is to hang on to the good, while amending or eliminating the bad and the ugly. This is much easier said then done.

So, I’m making a plan. I’m clearing the decks. I preparing the way.

I’m giving myself the rest of this year to wrap projects, to eliminate distractions, and to achieve some short term goals. Then I’m kicking off 2013 with a week long silent retreat. I’m upping the ante on my mental/physical/spiritual health. I’m narrowing my focuses.

I have no idea how all this will work out. I just know that for the next bit I need quiet, I need still, and I need less. I know that I need to focus and see how I can deepen the habits, the work, the relationships, and the spiritual practices I most value.

Two and a half years ago, I opened myself up to discovery and to change. I opened myself up to new ideas and fresh perspectives. I’ve shifted my thinking and improved my life in so many ways. Now it’s time to narrow my focus on what I’ve found to be most useful and most beneficial. I know what kind of results I can get from casting the net wide, now I need to see what happens when I go deep and to go deep I need to get extremely still and be very quiet.



  1. Such retreat isn’t an option for me at this stage of my life, but I can certainly see how it might be beneficial. We will miss you and look forward to hearing about your discoveries.

    • Except for the days I retreat, I’m not disappearing , just scaling back the amount of input coming at me. I think my media fast is going to include television, fb, twitter, and extremely limited email. I’ll still text, call, and will have to use the internet for work. Great thing about is I get to decide the parameters. You, my friend, are not part of my fast.

  2. I’m in a season of pulling back and listening as well. I wish you well as you wrap up and press on. Still hoping to sneak in a trip to GA soon. With two stores opening and now the holidays fast upon us, it doesn’t look like I’ll be traveling until after the 1st of the year. I’ll have to be sure to get your email in case we do it in January… can’t hardly give you a shout out during a media fast!

    • A media fast does not include missing out on face to face time with friends. So, whenever you happen to show up in my area, I’ll clear the calendar for you. One one of the key components to a media fast is to have a “plan” in place so that nothing important is missed. I’m still working out the details, but suffice it to say, I will still be calling and texting.

  3. I so resonate with the need for peace, and quiet and solitude. It’s hard to really dig in when you have so much stuff flying at you al the time. I loved this post and it is a great reminder to me, to schedule some quiet into my life on a regular basis (as well as some extended periods with no media input). Thank you!

    • “so much stuff flying at you all the time” LOVE that as it’s exactly how I feel. I’m just trying to slow everything down so I can grab onto what counts as it whizzes by my head.

  4. Wow I love the idea of a week long retreat! I really get what you’re saying, I am finding the same thing, I am retreating more and more. Hearing you talk about it makes me realize that maybe it’s NECESSARY, and not such a bad thing. Enjoy the silence!

    • Karen, I’ve had several friends (http://surrenderingtothesigns.com/2012/09/silence-is-the-root-of-everything/) who’ve talked about doing silent retreats this past year and each of them felt it was extremely beneficial. As the overwhelm mounted, I was inspired by their example. The biggest issue for me was actually committing to taking the time and then actually putting it on the calendar. If you Google “silent retreat” you’ll not only get places but personal stories as well. Good luck if decide to try.

  5. I can’t wait to hear about your silent retreat!

    • Me too. Would have gone sooner if I could of worked it out. January is a nice fallow month. It’ll be good for my soul.

  6. Just reading this post felt like clearing my mind for a moment. I have been hearing alot about clearing clutter and negativity lately – I believe the Autumn Equinox gives us the desire to clear space in our minds, bodies and environments. Beautiful post, Denise.

  7. I am so there with you on this one, Denise. I have been in the exact same spot lately and I know it is my body and my psyche saying, “Stop, rest, retreat.” I’m even beginning to feel a great strain on my eyes. At first I thought it was related to the heat being turned on in the house for the first time in a long time but now I realize it’s TOO MANY HOURS in front of the computer. It’s also a metaphor for, “What am I not seeing here?”

    Thank you for putting into words what I am feeling. On so many occasions! Here’s to creating more spaciousness in our lives and in our hearts.

  8. Oh I’m so excited to hear about your experiences, so please do report back 🙂 I’m very familiar with the feeling of getting lost in my own thoughts and in the world around me. I’m curious to hear if silence is an effective tool to create order in the chaos. For now, my favorite “tool” is to move my body (dance, yoga, Intensati) – ironically enough getting a sweat on seems to be calming me down.

  9. ahhhhhh… my dearest Denise! I hear you! feel you! and seeeee you everywhere I look in nature! Yes. It’s allllll closing down. Dying, some call it. Pulling deep within to rest after such an ardent cycle of growth and harvest. Yes, yes.. the deep retreat serves. Thankfully we are forced into this necessity each night with sleep, though many even rail against that! Women are also called through our cycles, though most ignore it. I love to reflect on the ways of the Ancient wise ones who lived close to nature. They knew. And they didn’t exactly as you are! KNOWING that it served the larger deeper cycles of themselves as it did outward nature.

    Many are brought to this need for silence through illness or depression. It is the wise one who hears the call and responds.

    I personally am not a silent meditation type person. I LOVE my body who LOVES to participate in everything I do. And… I love to sound… perhaps only hummmmmsssssss or sighs. And I do find my silence and stillness in those places. It is a beautiful thing.

  10. Good of you to take care of yourself in this way and enter the silence, it is so healing!

    • Thanks for giving me the push by sharing your story.

  11. Loved this!


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