Silence needs a space to emerge ….

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 …


  1. Shelly

    Hi1 Happy New Year –

    I’m glad you’re back and I love that you had/took the time for yourself

    I’m getting myself re-engaged this year too:)



  2. Oh, what joy to see your post in my inbox. I have missed your words, my friend, and I am missing silence a lot. I need to start hoarding quiet time, because once the TV goes on, it goes. Love you, T


  3. Beth

    Boy, am I glad to see you are back! Believe it or not, some of us were worried about you! (that would be your fan club, you know.) But you raise a very good point, one that I was thinking of just tonight. When I was a child, I had to have music on all the time, or so it seemed. And as much as I love music, I miss quiet so much that when I can get it, I grab it with both hands. I treasure alone time, and it that makes it difficult to relate to my father’s grumblings about how lonely he is (since he lives alone.) I would give a bit to get alone time. So perhaps it is what we don’t always get enough of that the soul needs the most. Nice to see you back and I’m glad you are happy in your new job.


  4. Sally! How exciting for ME to see your name in my inbox. Isn’t it great when we look forward to getting those emails? I have missed you, yet completely understand that it must have been quite a shock to the system to be working outside of the home full time.

    How serendipitous that I saw you tweeting today, sent you a message, and here I have a blog post from you, all in the same day. Yes, silence is so hard to come by, but I think what you are getting at here is that presence or stillness that can be experienced even in the midst of sound. Sometimes for me, it’s just tuning into the ambient sounds that we usually ignore – like the hum of the washing machine, or the songs of the birds.

    I’m so glad that Flash Rosenberg resonated with you and that her conversation portrait on silence prompted you to write this post. I was enthralled with her work as you could probably tell.

    Nice to hear your voice. <3


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