Gosh, it feels like FOREVER since I’ve been here – and by ‘here’, I mean writing again, feeling like writing again, making time to write again, hearing the words within that are asking to be said.
I’ve been working on a full-time basis for three months now. This has been really good for me, and for my family, in a myriad of ways. There has been an element of my life before this change that I’ve been missing more and more though – and that element is Silence.
My friend Kim Manley Ort distributes an e-letter that arrives in my email inbox every Saturday. She shares her ‘something beautifuls’ – things that have given her pause in her day, insights that help her see life differently – with more colour, nuance and texture. I do this too – though not as often as I once did, such are my distractions at the moment. Or, I should say, such is my ability to be more easily distracted by other things at the moment. So I receive Kim’s letters with enthusiasm – seeing life through the eyes of beauty and appreciation all the while.
This week’s letter featured an artist-in-residence at the New York Public Library. This fascinating woman creates Conversation Portraits that are simply amazing. The one I watched this week was The Portrait of Silence in a Noisy World. In addition to being completely captured at Flash Rosenberg’s ability to draw images that reflect what is being said in the background, adding visual impact to audio content, the interview taking place about Silence and the increasing lack of it in today’s society held, for me, several Shining Sentences.
Shining Sentences is a phrase I learned from my friend Amy Oscar. These are strings of words that resonate immediately with something within you – arresting your attention and filled with a truth you knew, but hadn’t given much thought to for awhile, or maybe at all, until that moment.
Like this one –
Silence doesn’t just happen magically, it needs a space.
Silence is more than just going quiet – though quiet and stillness are healing practices too. As the conversation portrait unfolded – the two people speaking noted that we’re seldom, if ever, in a complete state of silence; there are always background noises all around us. From chattering birds, laughing children, rustling leaves, flying airplanes, tv in another room, and on and on – we tend to always be surrounded by sound.
For me, this is difficult. Solitude and quiet are as essential to my well-being as breathing ~ and while I’ve continued to breathe for the last three months, I’ve longed for an opportunity to reconnect with solitude and silence. Hearing that this wouldn’t just happen magically – and that I’d need to create a space for it made sense. I had to be creative though as chores needed to be done and the house held other occupants equally deserving of what THEY needed in those moments (music, tv, conversation, etc.).
As I loaded clothing into the washing machine, I noted how its filing with water, accompanied by the dryers steady hum, filtered out all other sounds in the house. I was close to Silence! I finished loading the machine, sat down and absorbed as best I could the white noise and peace in those moments. It really helped.
Silence is interrupted action.
Deepak Chopra speaks to infinity existing in ‘the gap’ – that very special place ‘in-between’; in-between one thought and the next, one word and the next, one action and the next. Silence exists there too. Sometimes it doesn’t ‘just emerge’ ~ but it will reveal itself if you consciously interrupt your focus on other things long enough for you to notice its presence. I was grateful to come to that realization this week, in the laundry room, alone in a house full of people – solitude and quiet are possible, anywhere, if given permission to come forward.
Silence has different depths, like fertilities of soil.
I, too, have different depths. The deeper I go within, the more balanced and peaceful I feel. The longer I spend close to the surface, the more disconnected I’ll begin to feel. Moving around each day, mindful of the layers within me and the need to nourish all of them and not just the ones dedicated to serving others is a practice I’ve committed to over the next little while. In fact, it’s one I’ll exercise always ~ but will need to ingrain with mindful practice for the next few months until it becomes as natural to me as breathing.
No man is an island – yet every now and then, it sure would be great to retreat to one, alone, until replenished and ready to return to full contribution once again …