As I sat on a rock on the Pemigewasset River while my fella was back at the Airbnb updating the software on his mini-drone, I closed my eyes and felt the sun kiss my skin. The sunlight sank deep into my bones while I breathed slowly and deeply. While I let my feet and legs acclimate to the cold water, I marveled at how beautifully clean and clear the river was, and the incredible surrounding mountains filled with lush, green forests.
Before I submerged myself among the rocks in the river, I had a flash of a realization that I had not experienced this level of silence in quite some time. For this moment, I was truly alone. Truly alone…because even when we’re “alone” we often aren’t.
Depending on your location and occupation, the proximity of neighbors, customers, and co-workers in our day to day life can make it challenging to find genuine time alone. We’re generally in the company of other commuters on the train; or among shoppers at a grocery store. Even when we’re alone with our cats and dogs, we are not truly alone. Or, we interrupt our own alone time by checking the news, social media, emails, or text messages.
In this moment of being truly alone with nothing more than the sound of the river rushing over the rocks, I found myself exhaling deeply, releasing some of the heaviness I had been carrying in these past weeks during this time of grieving for our beloved family matriarch, Dora (my grandma). Being alone brought silence — a gift I’ve learned to recognize and feel through my yoga practice. As I continued to release (some) of my worries, anxiety, and sadness with each breath, I let gratitude fill that space — and gratitude is a sensation you can feel. To paraphrase a teaching from one of my yoga teachers, Matthew Sanford, in the silence, I allowed myself feel the sensation of gratitude. Not for anything in particular. Just grateful.
And, although, I was sitting what looked like a postcard or tourism billboard for New Hampshire, recalling warm memories of my grandma and papa, the gratitude I was experiencing felt more like a conduit to something bigger than any of us. The power of silence and moments of being truly alone. There’s healing to be found in the silence.
After awhile, my fella made his way down to the river bank, ready to take his little drone to the skies. By then, I felt lighter, grounded, and ready to once again have company. But that moment of being truly alone, will stay with me and be a reminder of why it’s important to listen closely in the moments of silence.