“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.” ― Harvey Fierstein
This week at work has been exceptionally busy, with meetings; deadlines and commitments that had to be met; and a major project coming to fruition. Outside of work; there were a number of major social crises that had to be dealt with and evenings spent constantly on the phone. It felt as if every waking moment was filled with “effort”.
We all get caught up in the patina of life. Rushing from one event to another. From one crisis to another. From one person’s issues to another. Work. Home. Social. A feeling as if it is all full-on and relentless. You might even feel that your sleep and dreams are full on as well as you replay the days events in your head.
Our reliance and use of technology does not help either. E:Mail, Facebook, WhatsApp, Tumblr, text messages, phone calls, LinkedIn, and anything else you might use. From the moment we wake up in the morning; to the time we go to bed; possibly even in bed; we are “connected” to the rest of our world.
It is becoming really difficult to find those moments of silence and peace in our daily lives. Some would say it is impossible, but I would disagree.
So how do you make time and space to experience silence and peace?
Resting the Technology tips: I am not suggesting that you throw away your technology, far from it. I would simply suggest that you put it down for a while.
- When the next notification that you have a “text, e:mail, SMS, or whatever come through” don’t immediately reach for your phone to see what it is. I have got into the habit recently of putting my phone on silent mode in the evening. That way, when I am with the family, I am not distracted by the constant “bleeping” of the “it’s arrived notifications”.
- When was the last time you left your phone at home when you went out? I did recently and after the initial panic attack of “where the hell have I left my phone”, it was a really refreshing experience to just leave it behind.
- Don’t have your phone, tablet or other technology device by your bedside. Leave it in the kitchen, as I do. That way, I am not disturbed by it “pinging” away at night. Too many people have got into the habit of having it by their bedside and then get worried and wake up in the middle of the night.
Resting time tips. Likewise, I am not advocating you take a wholesale “virtual knife” to your working and social life; cutting out chunks of time that you can then spend in silence. What I am saying is, that it is possible; even in today’s frantic world; to find moments of calm and peace. I tend to find the time by going for a short walk along the office between meetings. Also, I try to spend 5minutes after teleconferences, focusing on my breathing.
Space in the morning tips. I generally, get up early. Since taking up Mindfulness, I tend to get up 30 minutes earlier than what I used to. Why 30 minutes? To allow me to share the three things I do nearly every morning:
- A few minutes of yoga based stretching. I try to concentrate on the movement and the feedback feeling that I get from my body as I move. Followed by 5 to 10 minutes of cardio exercise, be it steps or plank exercises. Finally, 15 to 20 minutes of mindfulness practice. It is not always just 30 minutes. It depends on my mood, my thoughts and if I am at home working; going to be travelling to an office to work or in a hotel away from home.
- Can you get up slightly earlier in the morning? I tried to practice mindfulness at the end of the day, but kept falling asleep as I was so tired. That is why I take the time in the morning. If you are an evening person, fantastic. Do it in the evening. I even know someone who takes their 1 hour lunch break and goes to the first aid room to practice there.
During the workweek tips. When I travel to work or from work; I take a moment of peace during the drive, generally in the traffic jam. I will sit and not listen to the radio and practice a breathing meditation.
- During the day, I try to take moments to walk away from my desk, go outside and experience the world out of the “work bubble”. At lunch time, I’ll go for a walk. Even if it is round the office car park. Even the walk to the coffee machine, gives me an opportunity to just breath for a moment. Anything to break the cycle of “effort”.
Finally, the weekend arrives and we all suddenly slow down. The “effort” of the week becomes a distant memory. Well until Sunday evening, when you might start to think about revving up the engine of “effort” for the week ahead. Before you do, just remember, to find those moments of silence and peace in this frantic world we create for ourselves.
As we enter the summer holiday season, I hope you all have a pleasant and wonderful time off work, if you get a chance to. To recharge. To reflect. Possibly to even think and start the journey to a more peaceful world.
I leave you with the following quote:
“Quiet is peace. Tranquility. Quiet is turning down the volume knob on life. Silence is pushing the off button. Shutting it down. All of it.” ― Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner