The still, small voice of calm
“Oh still small voice of calm” was a line from a hymn which I remember from my school days and has often led to a thought - when are we still? When do we stop being productive and simply be? Do we feel lazy if we take time just to do nothing?
We can often feel that we have to keep busy all the time – we commit to work, to helping others, to hobbies, to family and friends, until there is no time left. Even then, we believe that we need to keep going, that it is weak or a sign of failure if we stop, even when we are weary. It is then that we can feel overwhelmed and in turn become anxious or depressed.
Being busy can be a way of distracting ourselves from thoughts or feelings that perhaps we do not want to face. To be still or to be silent can scare us in case our darkest thoughts or fears surface and consume us. It is useful to say “I would do it but I am too busy”. Tasks may temporarily distract us from what is making us feel anxious or depressed but we continue to feel exhausted and unsettled.
When we are hurrying, or task driven, or over-committed, we are not listening to that small voice within us - the voice that yearns for us to stop for just a moment, the part of us that would love to have time to pick the daisies, just for a while.
This is the voice that says “I wish everything would just stop so that I could think”. So what would it feel like at these times to allow ourselves to be still? What would it be like to give ourselves permission to, every now and then, do nothing?
It takes practice to let ourselves simply be. As adults we can forget to take a moment to perhaps feel the sun on our face, to notice the birdsong outside our window, or to simply stand and stare. When we are still, our thoughts are probably at their most creative and productive. If we give time to our thinking, long lost memories, plans or desires find space to surface and be considered.
We can daydream and play around with new ideas, and we can notice and connect with our surroundings. What can we see? What can we hear? What can we smell? What can we feel? When we feel depressed or anxious we can feel pressured to be “doing” something to “fix” it, when often the deepest repair or understanding can come when we are not “doing”, but quietly listening to that still, small voice of calm that we all have within us. By simply being rather than doing.
Therapy is unique in that it offers a space where we can be allowed leave the outside world at the door and just be ourselves. We can amble through our thoughts without judgement or prejudice, and we can sit and think for as long as we need.
It is quiet, it is calm, it is still.
When we are given this time to process what is going on inside in our own time it can feel soothing, restful and liberating. Our thoughts and feelings can begin to untangle. The sound of silence can be golden.