By Judith E. Lipson, M.A., LPC
The challenge: For generations we have run from the stillness and the silence. Though many of us have been able to enjoy the occasional “quiet” that nature can provide, the majority of people feel threatened when encountering any stillness or silence because of their own inner noise. This inner chatter can be deafening due to the quality of the chatter: There is an inordinate amount of judgment. The judgment towards other people is bad enough, especially for those who really do wish to be compassionate towards others, but the inner judgment that is directed to oneself is frightening and damaging.
Why is it that we condemn ourselves at every turn and with every possibility? Sometimes when you look back at your history you can see how the patterns were established within your family. You can also see the patterns that have been established and perpetuated from our society, including the belief that we live in a world of scarcity. We have each been led to believe that there truly is not enough to go around. We think that if you have something then I will not have enough. We think that if you have toilet paper (chuckle), then there won’t be enough for me. And it isn’t just the tangible items that we feel we need to collect. This also applies to the other aspects of our life that are so important, like freedom, power, comfort and love.
The opportunity: Production and movement have slowed. The world is quieter. News clips, from before re-opening, showed empty roads with a solitary pedestrian or car. Folks in faraway communities have been talking about the ability to see the sky and the land. I read that there’s a section of the Himalayas that is suddenly visible from a far away city, and multiple cities that had been beleaguered by pollution are now viewing clearer skies.
If you’ve been fortunate to recognize the good news during this pandemic, you can see and hear the signs of people who are transforming. The compassion for our fellow man is present. Like those before us who have been called to the front lines of a war to protect their families and community, our own front-liners have stepped forward. These are of course our healthcare workers and first-responders who put their families and their own lives on the line every day to protect each of us. But the lesser-known acts of service are also apparent: I read of an animal shelter that managed to find homes for every pet. There are people who are dealing with their own financial or food insecurity who are helping to support those who are less fortunate. I am also deeply moved by the various agencies and companies that are now collaborating together in an unprecedented way to find solutions and cures for us all.
When I see these stories I know I am witnessing the shift. Even if it may be slow, I am seeing evidence of those individuals and groups who recognize the abundance that is available for each of us, and the beauty that occurs when we place ourselves in a position to share. I realize that some of my readers are not feeling financially secure right now. And it’s hard to imagine giving anything when one is financially insecure. I encourage you to remember that not all giving need be financial. You can give time to another (even virtually). You can also give compassion, and love.
This time of stillness is providing many opportunities for change. If you are fortunate enough to have time that you didn’t previously have, look at your possibilities. What activities did you not have time for previously? I have regular video calls with my out-of-state friends and colleagues. Recently I received a call from an out-of-state cousin that I haven’t seen or spoken to for years. There’s even time to learn something that has always been of interest. (I have increased my yoga practice, and just started voice lessons). What are you longing to try? With whom do you want to (re)connect?
I also encourage you to use this time to evaluate who you are and what you desire. Realize that over the course of our lives it is natural to self-reflect, and thus determine what is important to us? We all did this as children and adolescents when we determined which of our parents’ and society’s beliefs were the ones that we wanted in our own lives rather than blindly following those messages that came from those before us. What we sometimes do not know or recognize is that you do this repeatedly as adults. What values, activities, and relationships reveal who you are? To assist this quest, you might try these questions by Deepak Chopra:
- Who am I?
- What do I want?
- What is my purpose?
- What am I grateful for?
Embrace the opportunity to review and reflect on who you are and who you want to be. Give it time, and make this a no-judgment-zone. Trusted mentors and professionals can assist you so as to not jump back into judgment, or to run back into the inner and outer noise, away from your potential. Learn how to embrace the inner stillness. Learn how to return to love.
Judy Lipson is a Licensed Professional Counselor and educational strategist in West Bloomfield, MI. She helps clients of all ages who have learning difficulties, work or school related anxiety, ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorders, and those who wish to Remember and Become ‘Who You Really Are’. Contact Judy at 248.568.8665 and email@example.com, and visit www.SpiralWisdom.net for more information.
This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to replace medical care.