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  • James Bartlett

Communicating Silence

Saturday 9th May 2020


With time becoming something much more plentiful and less of a luxury, I’ve done as many seem to be doing. I’ve dived deep into the swirling thoughts that up until now I’ve mostly been able to dismiss, or that have been subject to so much daily change that I’ve never been able to keep up with them anyway. This global situation has made them impossible to ignore, and instead of succumbing to an endless barrage of ‘what to dos,’ and ‘who am I’s,’ I’ve searched for an outlet to get them organised, or at least out of the space in my head. Up until now I’ve been working three jobs. One as a full time bar manager in Soho, London, job two as a DJ in a few clubs and bars dotted around the city. A few years ago, after years of treatments that are subject of a future post, I began to study the ancient tradition of Five Element Acupuncture. I went into practice at the beginning of this year, and was slowly, but surely building my practice and third job. I explored the usual social media avenues, and was happy to ‘tick along’ and talk about how I could possibly help people that needed it, or wanted to know more. In the pursuit of this, I realised that this is where I want to be, and what I want to be doing.


When disaster struck during the early months of 2020, and whisperings of a silent killer were creeping their way towards our little island, everything changed. You probably know the story, but by March 23rd 2020 the bar that I worked in had closed for the foreseeable future, there was nowhere left to DJ and the treatment space I had been using every Friday to practice my new craft had understandably closed. At least in my case, and for millions of others, time had almost stopped, and uncertainty lingered. For the first couple of weeks I tried to adjust to the new landscape. I created a schedule of the most mundane events to make sure I didn’t end up consumed by the anxiety and confusion that was splurged across the tabloids. Once this was in place, I picked up the books and re-immersed myself in my passion of Five Element Acupuncture. Revisiting my training and reading books on the subject began to reignite my desire to pick up the needle as soon as possible and get out there and help people. Which in turn lead me back to the trusty social media platforms that I has started to take advantage of. I wanted to get out there and talk to people about how they felt, what they were experiencing and if at all possible I could assist when the time came. This morning when writing a far too lengthy caption for a post, I came to a realisation that I was familiarly aware of, but hadn’t necessarily seen as a bad thing. It was only Instagram’s word count limitations that allowed that realisation to resurface.


That realisation was that I like to talk. A lot. Any of my dear friends or people that have worked with me will know that I normally don’t shut up. I talk passionately about the things that I love to anyone that will listen. I like to communicate. I’m a Gemini, ruled by Mercury, the planet of communication. This realisation then bought up a flurry of other questions. Do I listen as much as I need to? Do I articulate as well as I should? Am I talking about the right things? These are the questions that have come up during this time in isolation. Of course I’ve talked to friends over FaceTime etc but for the best time I’ve pondered my own balance of silence and communication.


This pause that we’re all in has got me thinking about my future, and my business and what is in store for the world. As usual I’ve made lists, drawn up plans, sought advice, panicked, despaired and grown excited about the future ahead. I think that’s the beauty in uncertainty. Not knowing what lies ahead can be terrifying and exhilarating in sometime unequal measure. The thoughts running around in my mind can lead me to no where and to becoming confused about the message that I want to put across. What do people want to know about? How can I tell them? How should I phrase it? Do they want to know? Am I boring them? What and when is appropriate to communicate?


This brain dump was born out of a challenge to myself to communicate more. To talk about my passion of Five Element Acupuncture and of Chinese medicine. I started with a post about the Elements, which ended up being about the Five Seasons, which then became a post about Balance and Harmony, and now this. This seemed a good place to start. The balance between communication and of silence. I know from my own mind, that balance can be tricky to negotiate. Meditation helps, and often ideas pop up during these times. But then off goes my mind again, making lists and to organise everything. Can you relate to this?


But how can I use this balance to communicate better? How can this balance help me to benefit my patients, and to guide their treatments? How can I find the balance to still my crazy mind that is always pulling me in the direction to ‘get something done?’ We’re taught that we need to be ‘busy,’ to ‘achieve’ and to be ‘successful.’ But rarely are we encouraged to be silent, and to go inwards. I think ultimately these are the qualities that are of better use to others, to the world and to ourselves. In order to heal others, we should start with ourselves.


I truly believe this is a time a of reflection, introspection and of stillness. I think nature is trying to tell us to think about who we want to be, how we currently behave and what changes we could make. This solitary time has bought with it a degree of awareness of this polarity in our minds. The Yin aspect, the quiet and the still energy. And the Yang, the active and upward rising energy.


I told you I liked to talk!

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