I’m at the tail end of a month-long writing sabbatical working on a new creative project. I’ve been in Western North Carolina (WNC) in the cool, misty Blue Ridge Mountains, an area that calls to my very essence. Known as the Appalachian temperate rain forest, WNC is perched atop one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world.

quiet mindfulness

Mornings and evenings were so serene at my in-town cottage in Brevard; the only noise I could hear was the refrigerator in the kitchen two rooms over (and I had to stretch to even hear this gentle hum). Coming from the 10th largest city in the US where the cacophony of daily noises are too endless to name, this quiet mountain environment took some getting used to. Mornings were odd at first but then I began to drink in the stillness like a puppy thirsty for water on a hot day. I loved having local peaches and goat cheese and green tea for breakfast!

quiet mindfulness

This level of quiet shifted how I experienced nature. Coming from a deeper level of stillness slowed me down and allowed me to take in sounds and sights on a much more nuanced level.

quiet mindfulness

quite mindfulness

I noticed the quiet made me more comfortable embracing the unknown and letting go of the need to know what is coming next.

quiet mindfulness

And in between stretches of writing and visioning, I would take breaks to meet creative, soulful people in this area, hear wonderful bluegrass/folk music, enjoy reading dates with my four year-old niece and of course soak up the amazing food in this region (check out this chocolate tort with raspberry sauce from The French Broad Chocolate Lounge in Asheville–every city needs one of these!!).

quiet mindfulness

Two weeks in to my writing retreat, I found myself sinking into my own preferred rhythms. I was more in touch with my body and what I needed and wanted. I was more spontaneous, joyful and relaxed. Every evening from about 7:30-9:00 I was drawn to the rich, magical dusk light; I loved bidding the day goodbye.

quiet mindfulness

Quiet was the antidote I needed to a very stressful spring; I began to not just embrace it, but to crave it. Even though I love community and connection and am a true-blue extrovert, I realized how much I missed my friend quiet and how deeply she feeds my soul.  “Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose.” Author, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Do you love or hate quiet? This week I encourage you to find some still moments and explore your relationship to her. Want to read more about this theme and how to tap the benefits that come from embracing stillness? Check out 3 Reasons to Take a Digital Detox and join me in MA at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health Sept. 21-23.



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Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by mindfulness coach/author/speaker Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women experience balance through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-renewal groups based on her award-winning self-care curriculum.  She is the author of three books on life balance and mindfulness including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 16-year-old son. More on her background here.