A friend of mine told me she recently visited her daughter’s new flat (the daughter hadn’t quite moved in yet) and sat in silence for three hours.  Three hours! There was no TV, no WIFI, no radio. Just her breathing and no other sound.  No tasks for her to complete.  She could be still. And silent. She described it as blissful.

And yet, on her return home, she felt unable to admit to her husband what she had been doing. When he queried where she had been she said,   “The flat was very dirty, so I was cleaning”.

Oh. OK.

Why did she do that? Why did it have to be a secret? She hasn’t given me an answer, but I do have my own theories.

  1. We women find it exceedingly difficult to admit we need time for ourselves.  It’s also difficult to admit that sitting and seemingly doing nothing, in silence, is actually doing something rather there doing nothing.  Does that make sense? Read it again.
  2. We are programmed to always be “doing”: ticking off items on To-Do Lists, to be looking after people, feeding them, driving children around to activities, etc, etc. our programming tells us we must be doing something.  All the time.  Ahhhhhhhh!!!!

So, when – or should I say, if – we ever get a chance to sit down, be still, in silence, doing “nothing”, we have to either keep it secret like my friend, or find some justification for it.

I wonder if we agreed to allow ourselves this time, to give ourselves permission to be quiet, and still, even for a short time, what the impact would be? I’m interested to know.

Why not try it this weekend?  If only for 5 minutes? Find somewhere quiet if you can (the loo?? Although small children will still find you there!). Sit down.  Be still. Don’t read a book. Don’t look at your phone. Don’t listen to anything. What did it feel like? Did you feel uncomfortable for taking this time out?  Guilty, even?  Or was it, as my friend said “blissful”, even for a short amount of time?

I’d love to hear if you have been able to do this.  Let me know.

Remember, 5 minutes only.  We all have to start somewhere.