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The Power of SILENCE

Here you are. Asked for, often. Unsolicited, sometimes too. And you always demand surrender from me. My mind finds that challenging because I still have so much to do. So often. Just finish this and then... Silence and peace have become a reward for us. Something we have to earn. I've seen it too often in my surroundings. I grew up with it. As if someone is chasing us with a broom. You can only rest for a while if you've... done it.

Forced Into Silence

In my life, I have developed a profound relationship with silence, whether I wanted to or not. I have witnessed silence in all its forms, and one still makes me sad. I only need to touch upon it, and I become emotional. As a teenager, I fell so ill twice that I could only stay in bed. When I wasn't sleeping, I lay still in bed. The hours and days passed by. I excelled in introspection and self-reflection. I was very much alone and lonely. I was also very hard on myself. Surrender was difficult for me; I hadn't learned that. The imaginary person with the broom kept chasing me, and those two years of my life were spent sleeping, introspecting, and surviving. Surviving to complete my school years, to be precise. It was a tremendous achievement, but mostly devoid of surrender. So, I know very well what it's like to fight against the silence and what it does to you.

Voluntary Silence

As a highly sensitive person, I truly needed silence in my life, so I actively sought it out. Somewhere deep down, I knew that if I didn't seek it myself, silence would still find me. When on a school trip in the bus, I preferred sitting alone, gazing outside at all the beauty along the way. The bus getting noisier meant I became calmer. I relished that tranquility. For a highly sensitive person, it's often challenging to distinguish your own energy, thoughts, feelings, and experiences from the surroundings. At least, that was the case for me. I would meld with my environment, and in doing so, you lose a bit or even all of yourself. Your uniqueness, your voice, your desires, and your experiences fade into the space of others. It's genuinely comforting to feel your own space again, to remember who you are and what you truly think and experience. I found that uniqueness in silence—a moment of peace with myself and no one around me.

The Silence of Nature

I found peace in nature. My most recent major crisis was a burnout around the age of 23. It was a significant eye-opener that introduced a new dimension of silence. Once again, it was imposed, but this time, I surrendered more willingly. That surrender brought me profound wisdom, truth, and spirituality that I had suppressed for years. It rose to the surface at a rapid pace. So fast, I even lost a part of myself in the process. That will likely come back with a calm flow.

Part of this experience was a sense of unity with nature. I walked the same route daily along the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal, near Strand Oog in Al. A specific corner there held something magical, and I could feel it intensely. All my worries disappeared, my emotions effortlessly surfaced. I could see my role in things. I began to write, or journal, as they call it nowadays—capturing everything I experienced. Finally, I found myself. On paper. Among the trees. By that magical water. It felt as if it was calling me. "Remember who you truly are. And why you're here." It felt like I was finally home. A feeling I could previously only sense as a yearning for a place I couldn't find on Earth. And there it was. On those few square meters along the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal. I accepted it with gratitude and went there as often as I could. The place and the silence brought me the healing I had long been unable to attain.

This is one of the magical slender ash trees, Sofia, near 'Strand Oog in Al' along the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal, with which I have a strong connection.

Lessons from that time

I also learned that many emotions can coexist as truths simultaneously. Amidst the tears, I felt frustration and anger, but within that, there was also wonder and pride, longing and deep love—all at the same time. My mind, at that time, still believed that you had to make a choice about how you felt. It could only be one thing. Very black and white. In the meantime, with my entire being, I now know that this is precisely the beauty of life. Everything can exist and be true simultaneously. The less you resist against it, the more beautiful and effortless life becomes.

Silence takes on many forms


Silence takes on so many impossible forms. It's about the experience, not how it sounds or looks. That's something I've come to learn. I find silence in dance as well. During those teenage years in bed, I had one weekly escape—my dance lessons. I held onto it with my life. And you might wonder, what? Silence in dance? Yes! I experience the deepest silence in dance. The moment I surrender to the music and allow my body to move as it wants, I find myself in my center. The world around me no longer matters. Only that profound, silent feeling. It's a kind of emptiness that brings fulfillment. I start to shine brightly and become joyful. The only things that exist at that moment are my center, the experience, my body, and the music. It's a series of moments, not a continuous thing, but it's so delightful. The enjoyment and the pleasure that this silence brings me are indescribable.

Podcast and the blog

Even as I embark on starting my podcast, it's the silence that provides me with the space to speak from my deepest core. The profound truth flows out as if it has never been absent. And even there, I draw my lessons. The fact that it's so quiet allows me to be completely present. My own voice, my own truth, my own space. The tranquility. I also find joy in everything that exists there. You might think, isn't that loud, not silent? Yes, even there, I find silence and draw strength from it. This also holds true for this blog, by the way. The blank page, that silence, gives me the power to use my own voice. I think I finally understand what it is with those artists who create beautiful things out of nothing.

Yoga and Meditation

I have, of course, found silence in meditation and yoga for many years. However, I also see a significant pitfall in these practices. They are things you do. I am trained as a reader and have years of experience in guided meditations. Sometimes, when I sit down, a new guided meditation flows naturally, and I'm back at it again. Due to this, it's easy to skip the moments of pure silence and surrender. After many hours of work, you might still not have found your silence completely. Everyone is unique, and I'm expressing my own experiences here. Others may perceive it differently.

What I notice in truly seeking silence is that there always needs to be a bit of permission granted to yourself first. If you don't genuinely give yourself that permission, you'll remain restless, feeling resistance, discomfort, and incapacity. When I can truly give myself permission to be in silence, these moments become truly sacred and magical for me. I hear my inner voice guiding me on my daily path. I feel my body. My energy becomes fully mine again, and I rediscover the purpose for which I live. It's incredibly valuable and the primary reason I started incorporating it into my daily routine years ago.

The Power of Granting Yourself Permission

Granting yourself permission is indeed a significant aspect. I began this blog with the imagery of the person chasing you with a broom. I know from this side of the paper that you feel it as soon as I mention it. You just know! It's there. Not physically, but it is real. In you. You've learned nothing else in your upbringing, environment, society, and this era. You've become a good girl or boy. Suddenly giving yourself permission for rest, for that silence, can't happen so easily. Not when you "haven't earned it yet."

The beautiful thing is that it is possible. Adriene Mishler is my guiding angel in this area. With her Yoga With Adriene and her vision of Find What Feels Good, she has taught me a way in which that permission works instantly. At the beginning of some of her sessions, she says something like, "Put your to-do list on hold," "Land here on the mat," "Put the day thus far on the shelf." With this, she shows you that rest and silence are connected to a place—the mat—and a time—the duration of your session. You don't have to throw away everything you're busy with. You just need to pause it and temporarily store it in another place, outside your silence and peace. Later, you can pick it up again.

How do you do that, granting yourself permission?

Tips for experiencing your own permission for silence include choosing a specific place, time, and duration for the silence. Make an agreement with your immediate environment, such as your child, dog, or partner. It's not about them but about you.

When you know that others are aware of this, you'll find it easier to carve out that space for yourself. Others often find it easier to let you do your thing when they know what you're doing, when, and for how long, but most importantly, they find it easier than you do. Find a suitable time as well. Maybe wake up an hour earlier before everyone else is awake, or extend your break when everyone has left. Also, find your way. Perhaps a long walk is your way of finding silence and peace. Maybe it's dancing. Perhaps it's in a deep meditation on a yoga mat. It could be something entirely different. Conduct your own exploration and make your own choice. You determine what you need.


On Solo Retreat During the Darkest Days of the Year

In late 2021, I decided to treat myself to a personal silent retreat. Having previously heard about group silent retreats and feeling a strong desire to experience it myself, the only thing holding me back was that these retreats were often held with large groups and could be quite expensive. Having recently quit my job, I felt the adventurer within me awakening. Additionally, I realized how strong my connection to silence already was, and the only person I needed to share this experience with was myself.

And so, I made the arrangements with my partner and booked a three-day getaway. I aimed for a cozy cabin in the woods or a cottage in the countryside, surrounded by nature and offering a beautiful view, complete with all necessary amenities. I specifically chose to go during the quietest time of the year: midwinter, when the sun shines the fewest hours in our part of the world. It was also quite chilly, with temperatures reaching -6 degrees.

During those days, I engaged in daily meditation and yoga, carefully planning my schedule. I shopped for groceries and organized my meals. My routine consisted of morning yoga, a long afternoon walk, evening yoga, and a deep meditation. In between, I prepared my meals and took good care of myself. I stowed away my phone in a corner, only bringing it out when I wanted to capture a photo. In the evenings, I lit candles and relished the silence. After those few days, my nervous system had calmed more than it ever had before. It was an incredibly enjoyable experience.

During those days, I dreamt of combining an estate with nature and a food forest, featuring tiny houses serving as individual retreat spaces. I vividly envisioned people finding complete tranquility, surrounded by nature, with wellness, self-care, yoga, and meditation at their disposal, and relishing in local cuisine.

S I L E N C E Retreat Day - Two Years Later!

While typing this, I still find myself lost in the dream. My passion for this theme runs so deep. Last year, I had the pleasure of meeting Mirjam van Ruth, someone passionate about simplicity and connecting communities. I participated in her women's circle, and together, we conceived the idea of organizing a day of silence. In a beautiful natural setting, within a warm group atmosphere, built on simplicity and purity. Together, we strongly believe in the power of such a day. A day entirely for yourself, within the safe embrace of a group. The first edition took place on August 17, 2023, and it was fantastic. What stood out was the immense power of the group in the form of shared permission, making silence more accessible and enjoyable. It was truly remarkable. And the most beautiful part is that now, two years after my own silent retreat where I felt my dreams flowing, I get to organize this day again!

Don't just take my word for it; come and experience it for yourself. You can still sign up for the silent day on December 22, 2023, the day of midwinter. You can find all the details on this page.


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