In today’s world there seems to be a glorification of the word “busy.” We get busy with work, school, family, hobbies, always documenting these events on different types of social media. While all those are wonderful things that we need in life, we also need to slow things down sometimes to find balance. We need silence.
City Silence is a growing international network of community gatherings founded by Stacy Sims, who also created the True Body Project. Sims is a Pilates educator, writer, and advocate for an all-around healthy lifestyle. Sims says “City Silence is slowing the world down and noticing what we smell, hear, taste and feel. It’s noticing our thoughts, the genius ones right along with the harebrained ones. It’s turning off our digital devices and turning on our capacity for stillness, wonder, creativity, compassion, focus, and awe.”
Cheryl McHugh, owner of Full Circle Yoga in Vienna, is bringing City Silence right to the MOV. From June 3 through July 9, there will be space held every Wednesday from 12:30-1:00 in the afternoon. There are three locations: Muskingum Park in Marietta, Point Park in Parkersburg, and College Green in Athens. (In Athens, the meditations will take place June 1st through July 30th, Monday through Thursday from 5:30-6:00pm.) Volunteers will be on hand in each designated space to answer any questions, hand out information, and assist if needed. The goal of these gatherings is to not only connect with each other in a space of silence, but to introduce people to the practice of mindfulness and meditation.
Many think that meditation is completely emptying the mind and not thinking about anything. However, meditation is more about focusing on one particular thought, feeling, or sensation, and letting everything else settle to the back of the mind for a while. It can be something as simple as focusing on the breath, feeling each inhale and exhale, and making a deliberate effort to control it in a nice, easy pace. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to meditate, and City Silence is an open invitation to come try whatever works for you. Meditation, even simply sitting in silence, has been proven to help people overcome anxiety, reduce stress, boost creativity, increase memory, and gain a positive view of their body, mind, and life.
If all of that sounds like something worth exploring, feel free to come to as few or many gatherings as you like. You can also stay for as long as you like, whether it be 3 or 30 minutes. Here are a few tips and guidelines:
- Get comfortable, whether that is lying on the grass, sitting on a bench, standing, even walking around!
- Respect the silence. Enter and exit the City Silence space quietly. If you have an electronic device to listen to a guided meditation, please use headphones.
- The volunteers will signal on the quarter hour with a bell or chime to let participants know how much time has passed.
For more information, visit www.citysilence.org.