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Try promising you’ll keep your mouth shut. I recently caused a mini stir on my personal fb page when I announced that I would not be speaking until midday on any weekday and enjoying a whole day of silence once a week.
This is not a new practice to me, and the benefits I get, which I will share with you later, are stunning and energizing. I have to admit though, I had let it go from my life.
I’d just like to tell you that if this all gets a bit too much for you at any point: Scroll down to the bottom for my family friendly fun alternative!
A few years back I got into a relationship (a great one!). He seemed to be okay with my silences, but then I let it go for a few months so we could interact on my silent weekend day (my choice!). When I announced I was bringing it back, he said “I’ll go find someone else to hang out with on Sundays then”.
Gahhhhh! Okay, interpret how you wish. My own personal interpretation was distorted by trust issues (guys cheating in previous relationships), attachment to this fella (oh no, what is he spends it with another woman) and a an obvious underlying low self-esteem. So you know what I did? I missed my silences. NB: It’s ME who perceived a threat and decided to modify myself. Be true to yourself sisters, or there will be suffering!
The relationship ending feet great in many ways. I was happier, he was happier. Yes there were painful moments, when my buried insecurities about fellas sneaking around rose up in my head. When he started moving on within weeks (seems callous to a chick, is this a guy thing?).
I’m very lucky that in my work I teach women just how to deal with stressful and emotional times like this (more on that another day). FRIENDS, Yoga, mindfulness, sleep and supplements are all very helpful. I had some really great opportunities to put all this into play during my expected ‘crisis’. That never arrived.
In yoga, true silence is called Mouna. It’s part of pratyahara, sense withdrawal. Turning away from the intensity of daily external stimulants. And then using that space to watch, acknowledge and quieten your own internal thoughts and sensations. But I’m adapting it, to suit my lifestyle. True Mouna could involve
- Silence verbally
- Non-interaction (no eye contact)
- Dedicating the time to yoga (meditation, postures, connection to higher self/God/Universe and service
- Definitely no computers, phones, books, TV, DVDs and certainly no internet.
My version of Mouna:
- No talking before midday on weekdays
- One complete day of silence (Sundays seem to be good for this)
- I’m still working, using the computer
- I will talk - to a client or colleague about work related matters
- Phone on airplane – no personal calls/messages
- No personal emails or fb
- I still gesture, smile when appropriate
- At least one half day with no internet, interaction, books (not even for work).
Obviously if you have small kids, you’re going to need the family, fun, friendly suggestion at the end. Stay with me!
The Benefits I get, you could get them too:
After a few self-set days of silence, and then a few at yoga training’s years back, I knew this was for me.
- I don’t know the science but I’d say 50% energy (mental and physical) goes into talking
- So I have tons more focus and energy for work, study, tasks, service and movement.
- I can notice my urges to talk and question ‘is it really going to be helpful for anyone?”
- I get more perspective on how much talking is inane BS
- Believe it or not, silence seems to increase sexual energy (yes you may get all tingly down there!)
- It gives heaps more creativity, as thinking is not clouded by conversations or thought processes about what you will say.
- It gives space to notice your thoughts and the quality of them (mindfulness).
Your inner Struggle
I am blessed to enjoy this. Plenty of people struggle with it. Their jaws just want to keep moving. If you’ve been speaking speaking speaking for all of your verbal life, then this will be strange. Many people get very uncomfortable…because they cannot explain their actions. For instance, you’re in silence and a shop assistant asks you if they can help? You shake your head, smile and look away but they hover and ask more questions. The need to explain ‘actually I’m in silence I’ll speak to you later”. Can you resist? Do we really need to be explaining ourselves constantly? Why is this? What difference does it make? And that’s when it becomes contemplation too.
Why you won’t be able to do this:
- You have family and cannot imagine they’d let you have this much peace
- You don’t have the discipline to keep the jaw shut
- When you’re silent (no radio, TV, internet etc.) you cannot sit with yourself and thoughts
- You have a constant need for stimulation outside of yourself
Why you’ll try it anyway:
- You’d like to experiment, even for an hour
- You’d like the extra physical and sexual energy
- Any excuse to get the kids to leave you alone for a WHOLE MORNING!
- You are over the BS conversations at work
- You know you write/think/paint/study much better without the blah blah.
If You want to try this:you don’t have to be silent. Instead secretly choose to be extra mindful before your open your mouth. Ask yourself if it’s necessary? Really? Does it add value to anyone’s life? Is it helpful or not? Will it cause any harm? And then you naturally become quieter.
Go on, I dare you to try ‘mouth mindfulness’ for a day! How do you get on? Please let me know!
family friendly fun alternative!
And if you want something totally different but still fun to do with the family: SINGING MORNING! No speaking allowed. Everything you want to say MUST be sung! Any style you like…country and western, opera, Britney style, rap (but only if you rhyme).