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Time, Space and the Language of Love
Time love and space
Silence is golden, as they say. But what does that really mean?

Have you ever listened to the sound of silence? 

A long pause inside a conversation, the peace after a prayer, the hush between your breaths or the hum of nothingness in the middle of your thoughts…

How did it make you feel? 

Relaxed? Uncomfortable? Spacious? 

What happened in the silence? 

Right now, take a moment to remember.

Notice what happens in the space of your memory.

Silence is a form of communication. It can be a way to create and hold space, highlight what is to come, or accentuate what came before. Think about space as silence when it’s used in fine art, literature or music. Silence can be deafening, profound or healing. It can speak volumes, and it is just as important as what can fill it. How much time passes in silence can add to its intensity.

Sample the skills of silence 

Being quiet is commensurate with being patient. Here are some ways you can practice:

  1. Take a silent morning retreat. For the first few hours of the day, vow to be quiet — do not even allow a whisper. Enlist others in your household to respect your need for silence, and go about your tasks and daily routines without saying a word. You might extend this time for a full day, or even an entire weekend. During that time, find ways to practice self-care.  
  2. Allow yourself to be alone. Deliberately make time to go solo as part of your healing journey. Read a book, cook a healthy meal, dance around your room, take a nap or walk through nature.
  3. Practice “do nothing” meditation. Put down the phone, turn off the TV and close your eyes (or stare out the window, keeping your gaze unfocused). Let your mind wander, wonder, drift into nothingness, and do what it wants. Allow your emotions and thoughts to roll around in your head without needing to engage, criticize, judge or control them. Be tolerant. If you fall asleep, it simply means your body needs deeper rest. Devote at least three to five minutes for this practice. For more meditation tips, learn from meditation teacher Lorin Roche by visiting www.lorinroche.com.
  4. Be early for everything. When you find yourself waiting, practice the above technique. Standing in line at the supermarket or sitting in the doctor’s office can become opportunities to quiet your mind.
  5. Slow down your breath. Practice this four-second meditation: inhale deeply through your nose; exhale slowly with an open mouth; and sigh, lingering at the end of the breath. Teach yourself how to be gradual.
  6. Notice space. Practice the art of holding something in spacious awareness. Sing a song and hold a note; fix your gaze on a sunset or someone beautiful; hold your breath softly; hold a yoga pose without gripping; hold someone’s hand tenderly; hug someone; hold a baby; palm a precious antique; put your hands over your heart. Consider the space within you and all around you as benevolent and nourishing. 

In the silence, notice other kinds of language — thoughts, emotions, body language. Let the quiet space help you peel away layers of anger, hurt or mistrust to allow you to become intentional and responsive, rather than reactive. 

Create personal affirmations

In ancient traditions, a mantra is a set of words that raise consciousness. Repeating a mantra is a form of meditation that can lower blood pressure, slow the heart rate, relax muscles and activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which invites the body to rest. Try deepening your meditative practice with a mantra.

  1. Choose positive words for your mantra, and keep it in your mind all day long. Think of your mantra like a beacon that finds you when you are lost. 
  2. Connect with simple phrases — I am safe. I love myself. Strength is within me. Peace is all around me
  3. Write your affirmations on sticky notes and place them around the house, in your car, on your desk at work or on the refrigerator. Pick some secret places, too, like your wallet or inside your medicine cabinet. You could even use it as a bookmark. 
  4. Use your mantra as an opportunity to pause — whisper, speak or sing it, and let it help you cultivate a sense of ease.

Write about it 

Keeping a journal can be a good coping mechanism for those with cancer. Journaling reduces stress and improves mindset. Write without censoring yourself. Get started with these two prompts:

  1. Write down five things that are stressing you out. You can make this specific to your experience with cancer, or not. For each one, write some possible positive solutions.

  1. Write down five positive aspects of your life currently — people that you’ve met through the cancer community, life lessons that you’ve gleaned, things that make you feel uplifted and things for which you have a newfound gratitude. For each one, write a few ways that you can increase opportunities for positive outcomes.

You do not have to be positive all the time, but give yourself more opportunities to see the good. Cultivate PMA — positive mental attitude (it’s a great mantra) — and share it with others.

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