Saturday morning. A day full of relaxation and rejuvenation. Except on this particular Saturday morning, they were gutting the apartment above me. Literally. They must have dragged out every appliance, floor board, and tile. I can’t confirm this for certain but with all the scraping, clunking, pounding, and drilling I can’t imagine there is even an apartment still left up there. It’s now a very big skylight. My cat was terrified. I had a headache. Oh, and did I mention this all started at 8:30am? So that nixed the catching up on sleep part of my weekend agenda.
I had just bought the audio book of Kyle Cease’s The Illusion of Money. Kyle is a very funny comic who now speaks on the topics of spirituality and self-help. He uses humor to point out the insanity we bring to our daily lives through our thinking, which is right up my alley! Both because I love humor and have crazy thinking, like if I don’t hoard every last penny I have I will definitely be homeless. In my pursuit of creating more abundant thoughts and, therefore a more abundant life, my plan for this Saturday morning was to sit down and do the exercise he suggested. I had already previewed the chapter in the car and knew that it culminated in a dreaded one hour of sitting in silence.
First of all, one hour?!? When he had first said this I thought he had to be kidding. Surely, twenty minutes was enough. And to be honest, I rarely even managed that. What kind of crazy person sat in silence for one hour??? Well, besides the millions of people who do it daily watching TV. I instantly recognized my resistance as an important opportunity for growth. I decided to make a commitment to myself to sit in silence for one hour Saturday morning.
Then, of course, the wrath of the terrible construction gods rained down on me like a hundred breaking dishes, blocks of concrete, and drilling directly into the center of my brain. I guess I’ll have to reschedule this hour of silence, I thought. There is NO WAY I can meditate in this noise. It’s hard enough when it’s absolutely silent and I have the baby soft voice of Deepak Chopra guiding my way. I told myself I’d do it the next day, it was fine.
But this nagging voice inside of me kept urging me to do it anyway. What was I going to do if I didn’t try meditating? Watch TV? Unless I turned it up to full volume, blowing out my speakers, there was no way I could hear it. Write? Ummm, remember the pounding headache? Nap? I sometimes joke I could sleep though anything, but even a post-surgery patient dosed on morphine couldn’t sleep through this racket. So I set the timer on my phone and sat down for my hour of silence, which felt laughable given the current circumstances.
Right away a realization came to me. These outside noises were the same as the screaming of my inner thoughts. If I could learn to love them and get to a place of joy despite the circumstances of chatter, maybe I could find real peace. So I loved the crap out of each thump, clunk, and yell of one worker to the other at such high decibels they probably heard it from space. I experienced an intense feeling of gratitude to God and the universe for giving me the exact right circumstance to practice and learn what I needed to. The funny thing is that because it was so loud (seriously I wish I could play you a recording), I could actually concentrate more. It was so extremely, mind-curdlingly noisy that my normal limiting thoughts weren’t able to emerge. And when they did come, the whole loud scenario was so ridiculous I had no choice but to laugh.
Something magical happened around the forty minute mark. I sat there long enough that the voices got tired. They came at me for sixteen straight rounds of crazy making but failed to get a KO. Suddenly, a brightness broke open in the center of my body. I felt unconditional love for myself and the circumstances around me. I felt a lightness and energy that I had always heard could be accessed within meditation but never actually experienced. I felt warm, tingly and ALIVE. Inspiration started to come to me, like the theme for this article. I felt so revved up that when my alarm went off at the one hour mark I couldn’t believe it. I had done the impossible! I sat in silence for one whole hour and I had loved it! I even decided that, despite the noise, I COULD write and this article (hopefully with not too many typos because, come on, there IS an insane amount of killing of appliances happening above me).
My point is, that sometimes the crappy things that happen outside of us are not only out of our control, but they could actually be helping us. I really think that if I had perfect silence this morning I would not have had the same high quality experience I ended up having. By embracing the disruption, literally as I type this the pounding is so intense I’m surprised I still have a ceiling, we actually can move above and beyond what we ever imagined possible. By surrendering and loving the now we can help ourselves become un-stuck. Oh yeah, and having a sense of humor about it all along the way definitely helps.