Up until now, I have coped with stress by adding more layers of noise and distraction on top. Now I want to work to break myself of that habit. While always wanting to enjoy and feed on silence, I couldn't bring myself to deal with the fear that bubbled up with it.
This first week has been about learning to just sit in quiet. Not to master it, or feel confident in it, or even to sit with it long. Eventually I want to learn to dwell in it -- to soak it up and bleed it out -- but first I want to acclimate myself. I want to dip my toes in, and then my knees and elbows before I put my head under. I want it to become a habit strengthened by practice.
My first step has been to listen to records.
Not a continuous radio program or The West Wing (my previous soothers), but a physical, finite record; a record that will end on its own after playing quietly in the background without providing me with thoughts to think.
Now just the movements of pulling a record out of its sleeve, setting the needle on the edge, and watching the first rotations settles my heart. The music will play and the familiar rhythms and lyrics will sink into the background, all the while preparing me for when the needle will reach the center and the music will stop. By then my mind is prepared. I'm acclimated to the idea of quiet and can soak it in.
How do you encourage stillness in your life? Join the conversation over on facebook.