For years, I’ve taken refuge in quiet moments sitting in darkness.
We live in such a fast-paced world. Between the traffic, newsfeeds, and text messages, it sometimes feels like we’re surrounded by everyone except ourselves. Sometimes we need that. The distractions offered by daily living can be fun and sometimes even healing in their own right on a temporary basis. But true growth comes from not just putting a band-aid on things. It comes from confronting them directly.
Whether it’s a traumatic memory, an insecurity, or an anxious reel running in our minds, we need to acknowledge their presence before we can truly heal. Of course, those are all pretty “dark” – and maybe that’s why whenever I sit alone, I prefer a dark setting. It seems fitting and comfortable. It makes the discomfort slightly more tolerable.
When I reflect in these moments, I allow myself to experience whatever comes up. I cry as much as I need to cry. I don’t exile the distorted thought patterns. I let them be. I let them work themselves through me.
In therapy, they say that “you have to feel before you can heal,” and ultimately, that’s what this experience of being in solitude helps me to achieve. By not attaching a negative value to the scary thoughts inside our heads, by not identifying with our unwelcome emotions, by not running away from our true selves in favour of the avatar we create for others to parade around as ourselves, we become closer to our actual selves. These thoughts and feelings – regardless of how unfounded they so often are – NEED to be heard instead of resisted. We need to validate their presence and admit that in our wholeness, we have some parts that are messy. They aren’t “wrong” or “broken”, but they aren’t neat and tidy, either. And that’s okay.
…If you haven’t done something like this before, I recognize how challenging it can be. You might want to reach for your phone when an unpleasant sensation washes over you. In the beginning, you might need to end these sessions early. I would recommend starting small – even 5 minutes a day is great to start. Over time, you might notice that you don’t track the time at all, anymore.
Also, while I enjoy doing this at night, it may be a good practice to use at the start of your day before the noise of the world settles in over you. In fact, I remember once reading a story of a man who said that with meditation (what this basically is, despite my reluctance to use the term – a post for another time), he always finds it to be a great way of setting the tone for the day ahead. He said he’ll wake up with a giant to-do list in mind of all things he “needs” to get done, but after sitting peacefully in quiet for some time, he often recognizes he doesn’t need to do half of what he thought he did… So, if nothing else, try this out. You might just cross some things off your list.