Finding space for the moments – doesn’t that sound lovely? The moments where we feel our true self resonate, we connect purely with loved ones, or experience mother nature at her finest. Those moments are the priceless currency we bank into our “life well-lived” account. Yet it doesn’t take long to fill days with jobs, raising kids, taking care of households and more and never find the space. But what I promise is that space finds us, just not always where we are looking.
Perhaps there are practices that have allowed this space to be created in our lives, like meditation or prayer practices. The most crystal clear space I have ever found is in practiced silence. It just took me more than a decade to seek or remotely begin to practice silence. But trust me, silence had long since found me. God (Universe or whatever name you see fit) knows we need the space of silence to be open to experiencing life fully and so finds us.
Sometimes silence finds us when a total bomb goes off in our life. Major disruption to the family, illness, and trauma can be loud and raucous events but often lead to a period of intense silence (the creation of space in our mind and thoughts). My first intense experience with silence came after experiencing a serious car accident. I have never been so quiet in my life. The people in my life were all around me but I was internally silent. I was not thinking through the nuances of the accident. There was no mental processing of the changes that my future held. I was silent.
Many critical things happened in that silence – quite honestly without me even recognizing it until much later – like complete forgiveness of the person who hit me and sheer gratitude for another day to breathe and experience life. Life threw me a huge curveball but in that same experience gave me silence and space to recognize the important things in my life and reveal a more true version of myself. The explosions life throws our way are a door to a whole new experience.
Life doesn’t always throw us into disarray to find space but does offer the usual transitions of growing to give us a (sometimes uncomfortable) nudge. Think back to the first few years after high school or college as we tiptoed into “real life”. Those aren’t always the most comfortable experiences when we move to a new place and are isolated or take our first job as the low man on the totem pole. We are quiet during those times more out of necessity than choice.
The same could be said for becoming parents. I mean parenthood knocks our socks off, right?! Even if we fall into parenting with great ease and joy, it is still a huge life shift and transition. And man, those babies don’t say much for a long time! The early part of parenting is so quiet – even when a baby is screaming at the top of its lungs, there is little space for cognition on our part. So we meet another opportunity to recognize space, create space to appreciate what is right in front of us, embrace a pure love, and experience silence.
The last stop on our tour of the silent spaces of life is the intentional one. The experience of silence when it is intentional is more intense and penetrating – transformative not just on our thoughts but on our being. The beauty I’ve experienced in the practices of silence personally have been tremendous but the most precious gift at this time of my life is that the practices have allowed me to create the space to intentionally experience my family.
The saying is “the days are long but the years are short”. I found that phrase to be especially true while raising infants and toddlers, but I also did not yet have the practices of silence and making space. Yes, my kids are now a bit older, but my experience now is that the days are too short. The opportunity to soak it all up is right there and with it I’ve become a sponge that never fills – just taking it all in. Practicing silence has allowed for a transformation of thought and totality of my being.
Embracing the Space of Silence
Regardless of how we meet the silent spaces of life, the opportunity to embrace them and grow from them is a choice we can make. It isn’t going to be an exercise in perfection – we are human. Not everyday is going to be sunshine and rainbows and a perfectly even temperament. But when we can experience life from a more enriched and authentic space, the possibilities are endless. The space of silence reveals to us our true nature and therefore our own individual awesomeness. The potential that exists inside the vacuum of space is exceptional. And we will be exceptional when we step inside it. We then can bring that more refined self into a space of connection with our spouse and intentional experiences with our children. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving.
Cole is a wife and mom of three. She has been a Registered Dietitian since 2005. Her journey through self-mastery and anchoring herself in her family has been the most important and on-going practice of her life. Cole loves being active with her family, yoga, cooking, and spending time in nature.