The Sweet Sounds of Silence! Why we all need to turn down the volume.
I have visited three blogs recently in which the most recent post was devoted to the rare but coveted luxury of silence. No doubt this has something to do with the overwhelming NOISE of the holidays. It’s only Thanksgiving, and we’re all starting to feel it.
The stores are noisy, the relatives are noisy, the kids are noisy, and the spouse is noisy. Even the dog is noisy. Although, mine actually decided to bust through our fence today which I am convinced was an attempt to escape the noise inside the house. He was returned to us this evening by a caring neighbor who received a very nice bottle of wine as a gesture of our most sincere and heartfelt thanks.
Even for the dog, the noise can easily become incredibly overwhelming, triggering an animalistic instinct to eat as much as possible, find a quiet cave and hibernate until peace and sanity have returned. A more productive idea might be to launch into a pre or post-Holiday detox diet, get some exercise, and do something more productive like “take a quiet rest”.
Daily quiet time was an institution in my childhood instilled by one very wise woman—my mother. In honor of this, I am recycling an old post from a former blog I wrote for a few months before launching the confabulicious.com blog.
Here goes… (As written by yours truly in January, 2009)
Silence…the complete absence of sound or noise. Stillness in all its glory! Often, it is silence that allows our mind to open to new possibilities and discoveries. Silence is an important part of life and is much welcomed, needed and easily tolerated. There is no such thing as uncomfortable silence in our home and I often wish I had my own personal “cone of silence” like Maxwell Smart on the old Get Smart series.
My family is winding down from a prolonged period of noise of the most intolerable kind. You see, recently, gigantic yellow earth-moving equipment stormed our property (per direction of the hubby). For the last 10 days, these big yellow beasts have been droning along mercilessly from sunrise to sunset as we re-grade our yard. My husband seems to be immune to this noise. He grew up in a loud family. That’s for another blog.
The outcome of this noise might (I emphasize might) be worth it, for in the end, we’ll have slightly more usable yard space. In the meantime, the noise is taking a toll on us. Couple the relentless noise with the occasional outburst of sibling rivalry, the continual background music meant to drown out the noise, piano practice, the drone of the television, and PMS and it’s a recipe for mom to have a mini meltdown or two.
But it has made me think about my own childhood and the multitude of embarrassing “silence inducing techniques” conceived of by my very own, forward thinking mother. I now realize that what she was really doing was coveting and promoting opportunities for silence. She was protecting us from the noise of the outside world. Her “silence based rules” were totally unappreciated by us kids. Now that I am an adult, I realize the simple brilliance behind them, and I think it’s too bad there aren’t more silence focused moms like her.
Let me tell you about Linda…
Linda was ahead of her time in many ways. She reduced, reused and recycled. She conserved and composted before it was cool to be “green”. She fed us whole wheat flour, made us grow and eat our own veggies, and forced us to try a little of everything on our plates even though we protested dramatically. Chores were mandatory and she often “white glove tested” us.
We ate three meals as a family per day, and we all had to sit quietly at the table and hold polite conversation through the entire meal. Meal times were not to be interrupted by the “noise” of outsiders. To insure silence, she made signs that said “come back later, we are eating”. My siblings and I had the embarrassing task of hanging these on the door to ward off unwanted visitors (i.e. neighborhood kids) while we were eating.
The same practice applied during our afternoon nap appropriately named our “quiet rest”. Each day at 4:30, we begrudgingly hung out a sign that said “come back later we are resting”. Our “quiet rest” was a period of 30-45 minutes in which my siblings and I were banished to our rooms to engage in silent activities. Oh, how she must have relished that time. Secretly, I did too!
I think my mom, in her own way, was forcing us to “turn down the noise” in all areas of our lives so we could spend some quiet time completely free of distractions to think, ponder, explore, and assimilate the vast potential of our minds. She remained unwavering in her commitment to this practice throughout my childhood. I am trying to assimilate this into our family routine with moderate success. The practice is phenomenal. My discipline is lacking. The bottom line is that we need silence to explore our potential and grow as human beings.
So go ahead, grab the remote and turn down the volume on your life!
What do you think? Are you overwhelmed by the noise of your life? What do you do to decompress?