First 30 Days Blog

03 may

Making Peace with the Peace

Your true traveler finds boredom rather agreeable than painful. It is the symbol of his liberty – his excessive freedom. He accepts his boredom, when it comes, not merely philosophically, but almost with pleasure.- Aldous Huxley

When difficult times and people leave our lives, we often find the void almost too much to bear. We feel as if there is this huge gaping hole in our lives and in our heart. We are not quite sure what to do with ourselves.

After leaving a dramatic and chaotic marriage, I knocked around the house bored to tears. I couldn’t quite get a hold of anything to keep my attention. Nothing was exciting or compelling. My therapist told me simply to “make peace with the peace.” The sound I heard was the wonderful sound of silence, of no one yelling for no reason, of no one criticizing me, of no one staying out all night and telling me it was my fault.

It was not easy to “make peace with the peace.” Sometimes I was clear out of my mind from lack of stimulation. Over the years I had to learn to balance filling the boredom with things I’ve always wanted to do (books I’ve wanted to read, hobbies I’ve wanted to take up, things I’ve wanted to learn) and with nothing, just the peace and quiet of being in my own skin and in my own life.

To this day, over twenty years later, I still have peaceful hours each day. I turn off the cell phone and any other device that makes me reachable and just allow myself to “be.” To sit and relax and not worry about being “on” for anyone or anything. Without that solitude I don’t operate as well. The inability to turn everything and everyone off for a while each day is a problem. You need the peace and quiet to heal and to be whole.

A truly healthy person knows how to “just be” and just be okay with nothing going on. Boredom is really a wonderful thing. It means you have the freedom to do nothing. In this technology-driven day and age people find it hard to be unplugged or unreachable or not just surfing mindlessly on the computer. But you need to learn to control your habits, not let them control you. The way to do it is to find some unplugged, unreachable time each and every day.

When my kids were little I did not rush to fill their boredom with games or videos or activities. Sometimes I let them be bored and let them know that being bored was a good thing. To this day they all take time out, quiet time, for themselves. I didn’t intentionally teach them to do that but when they would tell me they were bored I often said, “good” because it gave them time to figure things out for themselves. Sometimes they annoyed each other out of boredom but eventually they learned to go off on their own and fill the boredom (or not). There is joy in laying on your bed staring at the ceiling and kids can find that joy on their own. My kids learned to sit in the car and look out the window. They learned to sit in a room and not need to talk or be busy. The four of us can be in a room and don’t find silence uncomfortable (though non of us are really non-talkative). It all comes from not being afraid of boredom and of quiet.

Welcome the boredom and don’t rush to fill it. Spend some quiet time with yourself each and every day. It’s not boredom, it’s peace and quiet. It’s the sound of your own life working.

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Posted by Susan J. Elliott on May 3rd, 2010 in New Directions, Personal Stories, Uncategorized | 0 comments Read related posts in

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