“You know those things that you just need to hear sometimes? Like you’re doing great, and this is tough but you can do it, and you are totally, absolutely enough? You’re allowed to say those things to yourself.” Dr Rebecca Ray
Sometimes the strangest things can be overwhelming.
I have six children, all between the ages of 3 and 14. They live with me much of the time, but also spend blocks of time with their Dad each fortnight. When they’re here, all of us together in a relatively small space, it’s noisy and chaotic and generally pretty intense. When they’re not here it’s quiet. So very quiet.
Space to dream, to think, to plan, to just be me.
And you would think I would love that, right? I mean, for so long I dreamt of it, longed for it even (let’s be honest, I still do some days when they’re all here and tensions are high).
But sometimes the silence is overwhelming.
It holds so much possibility, so many opportunities, the freedom to choose between them. But some days it’s all just too much, and the overwhelm is paralysing. Where to start? What to do? How to do it?
It’s still so new, this arrangement where silence is a big part of my life. It hasn’t really been silent much at all in the last 14 years. Now there are whole days at a time. Regularly.
So I’m learning to pause. To disrupt the narrative that runs on a loop in my head. To show kindness to myself, and to breathe in the beauty that surrounds me – because it’s always there somewhere if I’m willing to take the time to seek it out.
I’m learning to acknowledge the pain, to allow myself to sit with the discomfort it brings, and to remind myself that I can, in fact, do hard things.
I’m learning to trust my intuition again, to feel what I’m feeling, rest when I can, work when I can, and know that it’s all ok.
I’m learning to listen to my inner mentor more than my inner critic, she sounds a little like an older, kinder, wiser version of me.
I’m giving myself permission to have days where nothing gets crossed off the never-ending to-do list that I’ve created for myself.
I’m even giving myself permission to crawl back under the blankets in the middle of the day, or wear the same clothes for longer than a day if that’s just where I’m up to (yes, really).
I’m giving myself permission to cherish and nurture the relationships in my life that bring joy and feed my soul.
I’m encouraging myself to ‘just start’ when the blank page and the silence both feel altogether too much, thoroughly overwhelming.
I’m letting go of perfect in new ways, and rediscovering what brings joy to my heart.
What can you give yourself permission for today beautiful friend? I promise you, your overwhelmed heart will thank you for it.
Such a great blog, Liss. Love this, ‘It holds so much possibility, so many opportunities, the freedom to choose between them. But some days it’s all just too much, and the overwhelm is paralysing. Where to start? What to do? How to do it?’
I too have long periods of being alone and in silence and have had to get used to the space. As you say, it’s all I longed for, but when I got I got the possibilities are often too overwhelming.
Thanks for sharing!
I love getting to know the lady behind the letters…
This “silence” and what I could learn, needed to learn from it, came a tad later for me. It’s more than a bit scary. It threatens to be as overwhelming as the crazy. Thank you for the words I needed to express myself about this new season of my life. I needed them to talk to myself about it more than to talk to another person; to get to know myself again. I am just so happy for you, Liss, that you have found this now….young enough to enjoy it and mature enough to know what to do with it. You are a joy to read…thanks for using some of your quiet to bless others, but especially me.
Great post Liss. I am writing this whilst my 3 children are with their Dad for a few days and yes its super quiet here. In the beginning it was deafening silence and I had no idea what to do with myself and I shed a lot of self pity tears but as time has gone on, I bloody love the quiet. Like anything it takes time to find your new normal.