I’ve craved silence as a mom.
Don’t we all? We live in constant movement, constant doing, constant noise.
Oh silence. I’ve written about it, joked about it, spoken in front of hundreds about just that – that silence, that stillness, that nothingness – that freedom.
Yet, today, I had that moment.
Listen to me. It was total silence – like a scene from a movie where the hero is sitting in a room staring out the window and there isn’t a sound around. It was me. Sitting there, on the bench in my dining room, staring out the window, waiting for the bus to round the corner, wondering why there was no wind and then realizing that there was no noise.
Just me and my thoughts.
At first, at first I thought it would be awesome. After all, it was only fifteen minutes or so until the yellow bus drove by my front door and my two loud and energetic boys would return.
The silence scared me.
I sat there and wanted to not sit there. I wanted to pick up my phone and aimlessly scroll through Facebook. I wanted to turn on Hulu or Pandora. I wanted to fill the very space I thought I craved. I wanted to just not think, to not sit, to just get back to being, well, busy.
I didn’t give in to the uncomfortable. I made myself sit.
I sat there with my hands clenched tight, willing myself to keep my eyes closed, and just attempted to feel the stillness.
Then, then I realized the reason for the uncomfortable – silence allowed me to think. And in that space of realization I felt my breathing. Short, shallow, tight.
That was how I live.
Short with my patience, short with my schedule, short with the to-do list, short with sleep.
Shallow. Afraid to pursue deep friendships for fear they won’t last.
Tight. Always waiting, in a way, to deal with the next thing.
I clenched my fists tighter and made myself breathe.
At first, the breath was small, little, forced. The lack of breath surprised me. Yet, again and again and again I made myself breathe. And gradually, gradually air was forced deeper into the lungs of mine. Lungs equipped for a whole bunch of oxygen that I was denying them. Not the world, not circumstances, but rather, me.
I was the one afraid to be still.
I was afraid to listen to the thoughts. To the needs of my heart.
Instead, I filled life with busy and issues and to-do lists in an effort to stop myself from looking at the reflection in the mirror of a girl desperately in need of a breath. In need of a friend. In need of a break. In need of joy. And most importantly, in need of one thing.
Permission to breathe.
Permission to fail. To try. To let go. To not get everything done. To be okay with taking a break. To not see the failures. To see all the tries. To focus on the good. To love myself again.
I don’t know if you’re like me. Living on shallow breaths, living tight, living short, but my friend, I am writing you today giving you one thing.
Permission to love you for you in this journey.
Permission to let tears fall at times too.
Permission to breathe deep in the rare moments of silence.
Permission to stumble.
Permission to excel.
Permission to be you.
Yes, that. You for you.
Breathe deep, right now. Breathe that deep, full breath of life again.