Updated: Aug 23, 2021
Responsibilities, work, traffic, getting pulled in so many different directions, so much to do, so little time. Conflicting thoughts, emotions, decisions to be made, money to consider, keeping up with the latest, trying to stay relevant, not wanting to be left behind, bills to pay. Noise.
I have come to realise that the noise wasn't just something I came to encounter in the hustle of a city, but it was very much also an internal dialogue, the stories I was telling myself. I was creating my own reality by getting caught up in it all. I would get agitated and not know why, worse still, I would ignore that uneasy feeling I would get from time to time.
I would react or ignore, but most importantly, I found myself just not listening. At that point, I didn’t even know that there was anything necessarily to listen to. I just went about my business, did the best I could and that was that. I mean, that’s just the way it is right? In many ways, I was my own worst enemy, shaped by my past, working for a better future, measuring my success by some standard I assumed was the only measure of success.
All still noise.
So what changed? How did I find silence amidst the noise? The answer eventually came to me; I needed to learn how to listen better. Becoming so aware that I could recognise how I was feeling at every second of every minute of everyday. I could now sense uneasiness as it first arose; instead of ignoring it and allowing it to fester, I could simply acknowledge it, watch it and rather than feeding it, I would try and let it go. I began to understand that a feeling, a hunch or intuition was me trying to communicate with myself. I could now at any point choose to acknowledge what it is I was feeling (trust it), or I could choose to ignore it (and go about my business).
There is also a physiological response to stress, our heart rates increase, our breathes shorten, we tense up, there are hormonal shifts within the body and vital organs begin to slow or shut down as we go into survival mode. These are all physical signs that something is not quite right.
So for me, it first began with learning to recognise some of those physiological signs as they arose. At any given point, I would take a conscious breath when I needed to; lengthening it in an attempt to slow down and tune in. I would recognise the uneasiness, without trying to understand it and without judging it. I guess it was just