I read a review of the book, Silence in the Age of Noise by Erling Kagge, in this week’s local Sunday paper. Mr. Kagge is a Norwegian explorer, author and publisher who’s been searching for the ultimate silence for many years. He trekked to the South Pole in 1993 and was alone there for fifty days and nights.
The newspaper article quoted him as saying, “When you start you have all the noise in your head,” and by journeys end, “you feel your brain is wider than the sky…To be alone and experience the silence feels very safe, very meaningful.”
That same day I had a massage with a wonderful masseuse friend with whom I spill my guts about my mental and physical state before we begin. That morning I was reeling from the overwhelming response to my book launch from local friends and acquaintances, family living clear across the continent, and New Jersey high school classmates spread far and wide. I’ve been getting emails, calls, requests for additional books that many want to sent to their friends and relatives. The outpouring of support and encouragement is at once humbling, exhilarating and exhausting! My head was like a bus full of screaming kids – yelling at me about how I wasn’t responding to emails or getting books to people quickly enough, and I was remiss in not ordering more so I wouldn’t run out, which I did before I filled all the requests people had made. Those notorious voices accused me of scheduling too many things – a DanceAbility performance for a local non-profit, Christmas cards and packages to finish and mail, on and on. As I lay on the massage table I felt like I just consumed a gallon of pure caffeine – me, a decaf coffee drinker! As Sadie methodically moved her experienced, healing hands over my flesh and reaching far down into my muscles and bones, I felt the reality of the quote seeping into my body and mind. Suddenly there was space, my cells had calmed down and time seemed endless.
The next day I met with Mary, my long time Authentic Movement partner, for our regular weekly practice. She’s a somatic practitioner and teacher experiencing a recent acceleration in requests for her time and wisdom. It seems the two of us are often moving with the unplanned intention of returning to ourselves and allowing our bodies to speak about what they need. My movement that day began with a deep, seated forward bend during which I covered my ears and was immediately transported deep inside myself. As the silent twenty minutes of movement unfolded I played a game with my moving self with the theme of reaching far outside my boundaries – exploring, searching, seeking – then coming back in to find a way to connect again to that deep place within. When my twenty minutes was up, I spoke about it with Mary as part of the movement practice, noticing how important it felt to return home to that deep place of silence, to never let myself get so far outside of that place that I feel I could lose control of who I am at the core. This is an ongoing challenge. I love being in the world – socializing, offering myself as a volunteer, doing my best as part of my work team and lately, responding to all the support, encouragement, praise and requests about my book. And, I need and love to slip into that place of silence, when my brain becomes “wider than the sky…and the silence feels safe and very meaningful,” in the words of Mr. Kagge.
And so – I’ll sign off with a promise to remember to re-member myself, lest I’m no good to anyone, anywhere, anytime.