When I was in the trauma therapist’s office last month, she asked me to think of something that brought me peace. Something I could focus on to calm my breathing and use during somatic healing.
Sitting there in the middle of Los Angeles on a sunny 70 degree December afternoon, all I could think about was snow and how quiet everything is right after a snowfall. At our home in Portland we live above a noisy freeway. Pretty much 24 hours a day there is noise coming from the cars and trucks on I-5, a sort of droning noise. It’s not like the city sounds of say, NYC, where honking horns and sirens dominate an already crowded and brash city. Portland is located in one big forest, so there are very peaceful spots within the city at all times. I wanted to envision something special.
Portland, Oregon doesn’t actually get much snow, but a few years ago we had a snowstorm arrive, completely unpredicted, in the early hours of a Sunday morning. When I woke, there was complete silence. It was actually really eerie, that level of quiet. At first it freaked me out and I couldn’t quite understand why. Then I realized that level of silence was disorienting. Once I opened the shades and saw all the snow and not a single car on the road directly below us or on the highway further below, I embraced the silence with a sort of awe and wonder. I went outside and just stood in the stillness.
“In the moments after a snowstorm concludes, leaving behind a landscape shrouded in white, the great outdoors often becomes noticeably quieter. As it turns out, there’s a scientific reason behind the calming silence, with the characteristics of snow playing a big role in how sound can travel. When light, fluffy snowflakes accumulate on the ground, they act as a sound absorber, dampening sound waves.” (accuweather.com)
That silence was what I was going for, all the sounds of the city, gone. In the quiet of the therapist’s office, I pictured a gorgeous winter landscape and the kind of silence only big, fluffy snowflakes can create. This is the level of calm I seek during my daily meditation ritual.
We may not get a lot of snow in Portland, but there are mountains all around us. As I welcome in 2020, and am still struggling with moments of blah after a holiday bout of the flu, as a gift to myself, I am going to seek out a cabin in the snowy woods to spend a weekend in silence. No phone, no TV, no outside noise. I’ll probably take Blue Eyes with me and he can practice his Noble Silence (or at least I hope he will 😉 ).
Last year was both wonderful and horrible. I’m still not right. I’m still working back to myself. I have lots of plans and goals for 2020. Topping the list is taking care of myself and maybe upping those antidepressants I never wanted to have to take. I think it’s time.
The therapist sent me an email with inspirational quotes. This one spoke to me today.
Right now I would settle for what gives my soul enough energy to get out of the frickin’ bed in the morning, but I do aspire for more.
2020 GOAL: SETTING MY SOUL ON FIRE, AGAIN.