Creating Silence: A Lesson From Ice Fishing

This past weekend my best friends, both adventurers, graciously invited me alongside my better-half to go to Lake Simcoe for our very first ice fishing excursion.

It was glorious.

The image of the snow as it danced in the wind overtop the smooth sheet of black ice is an image I will never forget in my mind’s eye.  The elation feeling your line nibbled on by the first catch of cold-water perch is a feeling I wish I could capture in a box, and take take out for later use.  It was exhilarating being able to enjoy the steaming hot kamut-spelt pancakes cooked over an open flame and garnished with a dash of cinammon, fresh maple syrup and sliced bananas while ice fishing on the lake.  I felt like a child, looking up at the expansive dark sky and admiring the majestic stars, all of which cannot be seen in the city for all the lights.  I had not seen the stars since our last group excursion to Bobcaygeon with close friends in the September that just passed, and I enjoyed nostalgic-goodness from having enjoyed such a lovely, nature-grounding weekend trip.

One of my siblings recently moved up north, past Peterborough.  When I had initially heard of the move, for the life of me I could not fathom why on earth they would want to move from the hustle and bustle of the city, to a rural neighbourhood where water is drawn from a local well, homes are surrounded by dense forests and where there were only two lanes of roads: one for incoming traffic, and the other for outgoing traffic.  At the time, I was told it was peaceful. Quiet.  That the stillness of the surroundings become addictive.  I experienced a fleeting moment of what this actually meant this past weekend while ice fishing – looking out over the water, watching a lone goose cross the lake in the distance and listening to the quiet rumble of the ground as the ice shifted below our feet.  It was an opportunity for me to reflect on the creation of silence from all the noise, distraction, clutter and chaos of city living.  Though I am a blatant fan of the lights, large crowds and busyness of the city, it was in this silence that I found refuge.

Coming home, I am reminded it is necessary to make time for quiet moments such as these. It is a reminder that silence can be powerful and therapeutic.  If you are a person that is afraid of creating silence, perhaps it is time to take a hard look at yourself and understand why we are afraid of the silence.  Is it because silence forces you to perhaps notice the empty feeling you have been ignoring, perhaps it makes you feel unproductive, or perhaps it is a reprieve from much-needed contemplation?

It is no secret we live in what has been termed, “the age of distraction”. Everyday we are exposed to an onslaught of purveyors of distractions – iphones, ipods, social networks, dismal world news, alluring advertisements telling us we require products, tummy tucks, botox, clothes to attain inner beauty and happiness.  Today, I extend an invitation to you to tune out these distractors, quiet your mind, breathe and to try to create the much-needed silence for your health.

The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha is a book I keep in my office and enjoy flipping through to remind me to slow the whirlwind of thoughts that can enter my mind throughout the day.  I find it is one tool that can help rein in wayward thoughts, particularly on days it feels difficult, or more challenging, to choose to be happy (even as a Naturopathic Doctor, there are those days).

Being healthy and well takes work, even for the most grounded, optimistic and authentic persons.  The first step is increasing your awareness of your own set of internal rules, your own tendencies, the negative and positive scripts you tell yourself repeatedly each day.  Sometimes it helps to have someone guide you in the proverbial “right” direction, so you can facilitate the necessary changes for improved or sustained health and wellbeing.  For more ideas about how to achieve this balance, please feel free to contact us.  As your Naturopathic Doctor, I am here to help you.

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