Last week I was reading an article about how we take breaks. Random, I know.
In a nutshell, we’re often shifting from one brain stimulating task to another. We aren’t really giving our brains downtime from consuming, processing and articulating. (Here’s a link to the article on Medium’s Personal Growth Lab if you’re curious.)
Does this sound familiar? We get a break from doing chores around the house, our work tasks, mowing the lawn — or whatever — and we go watch a show on Netflix, scroll through our social media feeds or talk on the phone with a friend.
Engage, engage, engage!
You may be giving your body a physical break, but your brain is still going full speed ahead absorbing, filing, responding to and processing information.
So, how in the world do we take a true break? We do nothing. I mean nothing.
The Value of Sitting in Silence
As I started to write this, I was reminded of the time I was asked to stare at a rock, in silence. I was exploring new ways to meditate and joined a Mondo Zen meditation group one afternoon. We did some slow, mindful movement (tai chi), shared comforting greetings with others in the group, then we focused on sitting in silence.
It was brutal.
When you remove all outside stimuli, sit motionless in a quiet room and stare at an inanimate object, all you can hear are your thoughts processing.
At first the usual pops up. You recall your to-do list for the day, acknowledge that you need a snack, wonder why you’re sitting here ‘wasting time’ and question if anyone can hear your stomach growl.
Then you move past the obvious mental distractions and your brain works on resolving issues, problems or ideas you’ve been pondering. Your insight becomes astonishingly clear and relevant.
Sound amazing? It really is the magic behind meditation.
Unfortunately, my brain bubbled up fear and flashbacks. I’m in the process of healing from major trauma and my brain was like, “Thank you Angie for letting me finally work on this. Let’s make some new neuropathways and heal you! It won’t be easy, but it is worth it.”
And there I sat, in tears, staring at a rock.
Making Time for Reflection
In that moment, my brain was allowed to reflect and feel. I’m learning that many of us deal with the hard stuff by adopting unhealthy coping mechanisms or simply ignoring our reality.
But, if you stop and listen, your brain is pretty darn smart.
It will sort out the pain, confusion and questions. It will give you insight and clarity that magically morphs into acceptance and strength over time. All you have to do it sit and let it do its thing.
I hated staring at that rock. But, I needed it.
Everyone is dealing with something heavy, and as I work through my healing process, I see so many people around me also carrying old, aged burdens and worries that were never meant to land on their shoulders.
It’s time to put down the past, let the ruminating thoughts dissipate and enjoy emotional freedom again. It’s possible — one rock at a time.
Until next time,
PS: Visit me on Facebook at Cupcakes and Yoga Pants!
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