Maybe being back in a school environment, among kids who seem to be constantly plugged into music, their phones, the drama of teenage life, that prompted this post. I’m sometimes not sure what drives a certain topic to the forefront when I fully expected to write about something else, but I learned a long time ago to listen to that inner voice.
It sometimes gets drowned out by all the other noise.
I’m not even sure if this post would have been possible to write until now... when the rest of my family is fast asleep, the clock is getting closer to striking midnight and I have moved beyond the panic of everything that needs to get done before I get on a plane Saturday morning.
There is very little noise in my world right now other than the tapping of my fingers as they race across the keyboard, trying to keep up with my scattered thoughts, and the faint sounds of the plows out clearing driveways now that the latest snowfall is done. All is calm, all is quiet.
How often do we allow ourselves to just listen to nothing anymore?
Moments of stillness and silence are sometimes very needed when the world rushes around us at a dizzying speed. Sometimes, instead of finding a fanfare of ideas or rushing about in a firework burst of activity, we need to just listen for the little whispers of our innermost soul... and for that, it must usually be quiet.
Don’t be afraid of the silences in your life... they are the rests and pauses in the song.
INHALE: Some people fear silence more than others. My grandmother kept a police scanner in her bedroom after my grandfather died so that she could not only hear what was going on in her little community, but there were other voices to fill the void after his cheerful whistling about the house was silenced. Nick often keeps the TV on in the background while he gets work done and both my girls love having music blaring in their rooms, listening to playlists that seldom sync with each other. I absolutely LOVE moments when I can hear nothing but the world around me or the sound of my own breathing. Today was a reminder of how much I need to have that quiet reflection time to keep myself in balance.
EXHALE: This will be harder for some of you than others. Find a quiet spot and just sit to listen and think for at least 15 minutes. Pay attention to the random thoughts that pop into your head, but try to turn off the “to do” lists. Listen to the sound of your own breathing. If you find it hard to have your hands empty, you can pick up needles to stitch or knit, doodle something or twiddle your thumbs... but just listen to the silence which is full of other sounds. How comfortable are you with the quiet? What thoughts or ideas scurry through your head most often? What inner truths about your life right now have you been trying to keep from hearing? This is what quiet contemplation can be all about. Turn down the other noise and turn up the quiet... it might just spark something unexpected!