Practicing the Quiet: A Conversation with Jen Lee

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Photo by Bella Cirovic of shetoldstories.com

I’m not sure when I first discovered Jen Lee’s work, but I’m grateful for that long forgotten source. When struggling in my practices, Jen’s writings, podcast and courses have often been a source of comfort, renewed inspiration and growth. Her new film, Indie Kindred, touches on the challenges of solitary artistic practice and offers encouragement to find kindreds and partners to enrich our journey. I am so grateful for her generosity in sharing her experiences with us and in offering gentle suggestions as I practice in new mediums. Our conversation on Quiet wandered to include moving forward without a map, the necessity of support, and the depth of experience and relationships that informs our work. Please enjoy this conversation, and share with us what it brings up for you.

“One way of practicing this is consciously letting the earth support my body, and the truth is, it’s holding me all the time, but I don’t receive that as a gift.” During this conversation, Jen mentions a lovely way of practicing quiet (at 14:09): allowing her body to be supported by the earth.

This is a simple practice and so incredibly soothing to our nervous systems. I invite you to try this with us, taking some time to settle into the stable external structures supporting your body. What is holding you up right now? Where is the support coming from? If you are seated, this could be from your chair. If you are standing, you could be receiving support from the floor or literally from the earth under your feet. If you are lying down, from the surface you are stretched out on. Get curious about the connection between your body and these surfaces.

Bring your attention sequentially to each point of contact between your body and the structure supporting you. How much you can allow yourself to receive this stable support? Our bodies do a lot of unconscious work to hold us up and carry us around – practice consciously acknowledging and releasing that effort. This can be far more challenging than it sounds. Go gently, give your body permission: let your sides know it’s ok to soften, tell your facial muscles they won’t betray you, your shoulders aren’t required to hold your body up, let them know you appreciate all they do for you and that they can rest for a moment. Let your body feel heavy and sink into the surfaces holding you up, into all those points of contact. Let your body weight descend from the highest point (your head if you’re seated or standing, the front of your body if you happen to be lying down) accumulating through the structure of your body and sinking into the lowest point – imagine your body making an impression in the surfaces around or underneath you. Breathe deeply and rest into this support for as long as you’re able.

Find more of Jen’s soulful work online at Jen Lee Productions and learn more about her movie at Indie Kindred. The post we referred to during our conversation, The Quiet Parts and the Hidden Places, lives here

How did you feel in this practice of allowing your body to receive support?

What questions, thoughts or insights did Jen’s words bring up for you?

How do YOU practice being in the quiet, and what does it feel like? What practices support you in your work?

8 comments on “Practicing the Quiet: A Conversation with Jen Lee

  1. Divine timing, Mel. I gathered so much from this exchange that I am struggling to put it all into words. The big one: giving myself permission. Permission to acknowledge that what I am doing and experiencing is hard and that doesn’t make me less grateful. Permission to be quiet and nourish myself. I’ll save the rest for my journal and maybe a discussion with you over a cup of tea. Still processing it all. Love to you and thanks to Jen.

    1. So glad to have you here Heather, and so glad that Jen’s words are finding their way to other people who need them. I needed this too, so much – Permission, yes. It is so reassuring to know that we are not alone in these practices and processes.

  2. So much of this interview spoke to me…grateful from the bottom of my heart for your work. I connected so much with attaching self worth to what I accomplish. My practice is releasing that connection…I just got an image of a ‘connect the dot’ picture in my mind…my practice is to scatter that preconceived notion like scattered stars across the sky. Disconnecting the all or nothing mentality – allowing myself to be in a moment in time. Full of grace…full of gratitude. Peace, love, blessings and gratitude, my friend.

    1. Donna, so grateful to have you here, and glad to take part somehow in sharing Jen’s words. Yes, let’s scatter that notion and create something beautiful from the disarray! What a wonderful image. Thank you for that.

  3. This conversation was so good to listen in on, especially when I’m scaling back from work into home. Jen’s voice feels like comfort to me, and her practices have been so influential in my self care routine. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you for being here Bella, and for your beautiful photo of Jen. I’m so glad to share this conversation – it shed much needed light on where I am ignoring some of my own needs. Her voice does feel like comfort.

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