There is nothing like an earthquake to shake things up in life. Two days before the start of 2016, a quake measuring 4.8 rippled through the southwest coast of B.C. It shook my bed and jolted me awake. At first I thought it was the cat pulling something large down but then I realized it was much more. The shaking continued for at least another 7 seconds.
At the time, I was on the 9th floor of a condo caring for my friends’ cat. In the dark of the night, the building trembled, the walls heaved and the curtains jangled. My heart quickened as my mind raced ahead and body trembled in unison with the building. And then suddenly the shaking stopped. A calm stillness settled in my surroundings. I opened my eyes to see the tall evergreen trees still standing outside the window. I listened for sirens. There were none. I listened for activity in the building. There were no sounds. Only silence.
When the world is silent, it seems to only amplify the noisy chatter within. Whirling thoughts about the quake reverberated through my mind. I wondered where the epicentre was, how far the quake reached and whether there was any damage. I also wondered whether it was safe for me to leave the building, whether it was even necessary to run down 9 flights of stairs to plant my feet on seemingly solid ground. And then I caught myself. I realized the discord.
Everything around me was still except my mind. My mind had been caught in the aftershocks of the quake, not from the physical shaking but from the chaos in my mind! I decided then and there that I needed to ground myself mentally, to settle my racing thoughts and meet mother earth exactly where she was in that moment … in silence.