The Struggle To Get Quiet


I’m a woman of many ideas. It’s part of why I’m so deeply loved and why I love being me. And it’s also exhausting: for me and for everyone in my inner circle. I fall in love with a subset of my ideas and I run after them as if I’m summoning my speed for the last mile of a 10K.

There’s a funny look I get from my people when I’m in this mode. A half smile of fear inquiring, “We’re doing this again?”

Twinkle in my eye. Flurry of new to-do’s. Optimism. Busyness. Hope. “Yes, yes we are. Thank you.”

Yet, as I’ve stepped out of my routine in the past few weeks, to be part of a Rural Retreat Weekend and to participate in a week-long professional development training, one theme has been charging at me from all directions.

In order to move forward, I must get quiet.

I’ve been resisting this in every way I know how. Including adding more ideas to my world.

While I cherish a weekly writing practice as my way of going inward, it’s a practice with a business purpose. It’s a way to be in conversation with all of you, to connect on topics that are important to all of us. When I use this time, it’s creative and introspective and yet it’s still goal-oriented.

As the body of research connecting a daily mindfulness or meditation practice to wellbeing grows, it becomes harder to ignore the potential benefits for me in my life. I wouldn’t say I have ignored them altogether.

I’ve downloaded the apps. I use them on occasion.

I’ve taken the walks in the park. When weather conditions are optimal.

I’ve become present in the moment, noticing a butterfly on a building and the emerging buds of spring. When I’m not listening to a podcast or staring at my phone.

Fleeting moments are helpful, but a practice they are not. What I’ve recently acknowledged is that while a quiet practice may come more easily to some (including my clients), it runs counter to the way I’m currently wired. And that’s exactly why I need to have one. Building this muscle will help me refuel, focus and drown out the noise calling me in multiple directions.

Last week an insightful coach and colleague held up a metaphorical mirror (as we coaches often do) for me to see—this is important, but I need to find my own way. There is not one right way to do it.

For me, a place to start and experiment will be with something I already enjoy: writing. I will take 15 minutes each morning to journal about anything. My perfectionism has already had a few thoughts on the subject. “It should be 30 minutes. There should be writing prompts. I should write at least three pages.” Part of this practice is shutting down that voice in order to reinforce that the lack of structure is exactly what I need. I don’t like limits, so when I give myself the time to take it wherever it will go, it is truly freeing.

While it’s still early days in my practice, there’s an ease in it that I have not felt in any other pathway to quiet. There’s freedom to let my mind go anywhere, which given the number of ideas I have a day is exactly where my mind wants to go. Instead of fighting all of the ideas, I’ve created a welcoming home for them to live so I can move on and feel the lightness of who I’m meant to be.