Sometimes, things are quiet. And that’s OK.

Last Tuesday’s women’s singing circle was a quiet one. A number in the group said their energy was low. A few are having a really tough time with personal or work circumstances. We spent a little longer before singing on gentle movement, breathing together, doing a circle check-in for everyone to share something about their day. At times the quiet felt pensive and restless. At times it felt peaceful and soft. 
I noticed my own response as a facilitator. Sometimes I relaxed into the quietness and responded to affirm and support it. At times I experienced some darts of self doubt – is this OK or is it my job to animate, energise, cheer the group? In Western city culture, the energy of excitement and ‘doing’ has higher status than the energy of relaxation, of letting go. Sometimes quiet means sitting with things that might feel uncomfortable. We stay busy, planning the next moment. A few times an anxiety about conforming to this norm swept over me – shouldn’t I be doing something about this quiet?
What helped was breathing out slowly and feeling my sitting bones on the chair and my feet on the floor. Noticing the sensations in the back of my body. And then sharing how I felt with the group, asking for anyone to share their observations. The response was interesting – 
‘I’m enjoying just being here’. 
‘I appreciate it to be honest.. this is the only group I go to where it feels OK to be a bit quiet sometimes’
‘I didn’t notice anything amiss, different sessions feel different and that’s just how it is’. 
As the group gently affirmed me and each other, a sort-of-melting occurred. We sang a very beautiful and energised Bread and Roses to finish to mark May Day and I went home feeling all jumbled up, in a good way.
Quietness has been a theme for me in recent months. I’ve spent more time in solitude and I’ve learnt to cherish it. A long spell in India over the winter gave more insight into family history and perspective, offering rich learning and healing. Losing a dear family member earlier this year needed time to reflect with gratitude on this short and wonderful life and relationships we have been graced with. I have spent less time with a computer (as you can tell from a lack of recent blog posts). And more time in nature and with loved ones.
A teacher at a recent meditation retreat offered a metaphor which captivated me. She spoke of water evaporating from the leaves of trees. It is the vacuum which draws up new water, new life, new energy into the tree through the roots and trunk. Perhaps when we let go, when we allow quiet, we create space for new energy and new life to flow in.
Sometimes, things are quiet. And that’s OK. For those of us wanting to build more peace, beauty, love and justice in the world, maybe we can experiment with stopping and emptying sometimes. There is beauty in struggle, and there is beauty in slowing and resting too.