Starting on a Silent Note
I love quiet first thing in the morning, the silence broken only by the whirring of the ceiling fans and the purring of a cat who sits on my desk waiting patiently while I write my morning pages.
When my daughters were young, I’d insist on a minimum of babble, claiming I needed time to wake up before I heard a lot of voices. It’s more than that. I realize now I need the time between sleeping and going full tilt into my day to just be. It’s a time when I don’t want the radio or TV going for background noise. I don’t need the distraction from one, the mindless chatter from the other. It’s the one time of day I want my mind to go wherever it might without having one piece or another held fast by any outside influences.
Moments of Silence are Rare and Precious
Living alone as I do, it would be easy to go either way with silence. I know some people feel the need to fill it with anything just so they won’t have to listen to their own thoughts. Others become mired in it and fear the cacophony of a world of a zillion opinions. I appreciate the opportunity to hear what my inner self has to say.
As my awareness of the beauty of silence increases, I notice other things as well. I no longer run to catch the phone, a text, or an IM. I know anyone who is trying to reach me is, like me, not always available. They’ll wait, as I would for them, until I’m free and can give them my full attention.
Clearing our Lives of Noise
We live in a world where a million and three things are always vying for our attention. We’re left with the often cumbersome task of weeding through the mess and noise to determine what is and is not important. I’ve learned once we do the initial weeding, we’re usually still left with too many demands and too little time. At that point I usually get on what my daughter likes to call my de-cluttering kick.
I know she finds it amusing that I need to, at times, clear some more space, be it physically, energetically, mentally, or emotionally. I think as we grow older and the years seem to flash by at warp speed, we become less patient with the weeding, and seek to simplify our lives more and more.
Some go to extremes and ditch almost everything for a tiny house or a nomadic existence. I know I’ll never be that minimalistic, if for no other reasons than, well, books and cats. I’m not willing to give up either because when the world becomes too much for me to deal with, they are my refuge, and my tune-up. My cats are my loves, my children, and my serenity. My books are old friends, even the ones I’ve yet to read. I could never toss away those relationships.
We Choose Our Surroundings to Suit Our Nature
This may make me sound rather weird, preferring books and fur-babies to relationships with humans. Don’t get me wrong. There are people in my life I wouldn’t consider tossing away either, but most of them understand and relate to my need for space and non-human time. Most of them also appreciate the value of silence.
There’s a lot to be found in silence. It isn’t, as some might think, an absence of sound. Instead, it’s an absence of the overlay of sounds which mask what lies beneath, if you stop to listen.
Often when I meditate, I’ll listen to the silence, and soon, begin to hear what is so often masked; the chirping of birds, the wind rustling the leaves in the tree outside my window, the snuffling sound one of my cats makes when he sleeps, even the settling sounds the house makes.
If my meditation takes me outside my own four walls, I might hear the slosh and crash as the ocean’s waves meet the shore, the sea birds scavenging for a forgotten sandwich, a gentle breeze murmuring under it’s breath, the words indecipherable, but the tune, soothing.
When we sit in silence, we can hear the sounds beneath the sounds, Nature humming along when it’s not obstructed by the innovations of humanity. Most of all, we can, if we allow it, hear the flow of energy which connects us all, oblivious to artificial lines of race, religion, politics, culture, or opinion.
Using Silence to Figure Ourselves Out
Lately, I’ve been feeling queasy rather more often than can be attributed to anticipation, worry, or stress (not to mention, eating crap instead of my usual healthy meals). The silence helps me get in touch with the source of my discomfort. I may not find solutions, but what I find is better. I find peace of mind, not that everything is going to be all hunky dory, but that everything is as it is supposed to be. Things may feel out of whack right now, and the world may seem like a cesspool of contrasting agendas and opinions, but I know it’s only a moment in time.
In the silence, I hear the turning of the wheel which reminds me everything is temporary. What is true today will be a memory tomorrow. Universal guidance will ultimately help us find a place of balance. It might not be the same place we found balance before because there have been changes, even upheavals. Instead, we’ll find a new order, a new balance which is better suited to where and who we are when the dust settles.
I see a great deal of conflict, even with people I love and respect lately. Silence is teaching me there’s a time to voice my opinion, and a time to step away before the conversation escalates into an antagonistic maelstrom of words spoken in anger, never to be retracted. My voice alone will not change people’s attitudes or beliefs. I can offer tools but I can’t force anyone to use them. Getting angry because they choose to follow a belief I “know” is wrong only makes me angry, and to what purpose?
Leaving Space for Others to Think
I’m no different. If someone voices an opinion for which I’m emotionally attached to the opposing side, whether I mean to or not, I tune out all logical arguments they might offer on the subject. But if someone merely plants a seed, then leaves me alone to think it through, I’m more likely to do some investigation and perhaps even alter my opinion. Trying to shove a point of view down someone’s throat is a straight shot to resistance. Remaining silent, while often difficult gives them a chance to process ideas contrary to their own. Maybe they’ll consider the other side and make an effort to educate themselves. Maybe they won’t. But finding common ground or at least agreeing to disagree is more likely within a cushion of silence.
My blogs have become my personal forum. People may read or not, agree or disagree. I’m not here to change anyone. If my words make someone think, if it brings something to light I wasn’t aware of, if a lively but respectful discussion ensues, all the better.
Many times, I feel I’m writing for no one but myself. Then a friend or acquaintance will comment on one of my posts and I realize my audience might be small, but that isn’t such a bad thing.
A Time and Place for A Smaller Audience
When I was in high school, we had a small theater in the “A” building. It was part of the first phase of construction and was suited to both the general and campus populations at the time. It was small and intimate, lending itself well to the productions performed there.
As the school grew, a multi-purpose building was erected, and became the theater. By then, it was better suited to a population which had exploded in a handful of years. It wasn’t long before all performances were sold out in the larger theater. Yet memories from those early years in the smaller theater, as well as the outdoor production of Sound of Music in an amphitheater which didn’t survive when the population increased even further bring a smile to my face and warmth to my heart.
What I’m trying to say is there is great value in a smaller audience which can’t always be achieved when the numbers and size of the room and stage increase. For now, I’m happy being a production in the “A” building, though I know in time, I’ll become dissatisfied and make plans for a larger stage. Until then, thank you to everyone who reads my words, often, occasionally, or even a single time. You’re all special to me.
Grateful for All Experiences
My gratitudes today are:
- I am grateful for the choices I’ve made. Not all have brought great success, but they’ve brought wisdom which I find more valuable.
- I am grateful for inspiration. No matter what I’m doing, ideas pop up like thought bubbles in a cartoon strip.
- I am grateful for my cats. Even when they’re shoving their head into my mouse hand, sending the cursor all over the screen, or shoving the mouse off the desk, they are pure love. They remind me to stop and listen, even when I think I’m too busy to take a needed moment.
- I am grateful I’ve learned to take a step back, at least some of the time, rather than pushing an argument and a friend to the limit.
- I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, knowledge, fact-checking sources, contradictions, experiences, and wonderful, beautiful words.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She specializes in creating content that helps entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author