Where did the silence go?

Living life is much like writing. We shuffle through thoughts in our mind waiting for a hook, something inspiring enough to make us pick up the pen and write. What makes you get up every day? What makes your life worth living? What gets you excited? Many of us have given up on putting our pen to paper, on living with purpose, because we have trouble slowing our mind down enough to grab hold of a worthy idea. Instead of catching one of our thoughts in a net and letting it quietly sustain us, our thinking runs wild, and at best, serves as a temporary distraction. 

I have a good friend who regularly reminds me how our ability to be silent directly correlates to how satisfied we feel with life. But by silence, I don’t think he means lack of noise. While the essence of silence is a difficult concept for me to grasp, once in a while I gain glimpses of true silence, even when listening, and especially when listening to my most recent playlist of SYML songs

During the pandemic, silence has become elusive, especially for those with housemates or families, but even for those who live alone. While I do not miss my commute, I do miss the silence it afforded me. By silence, I don’t mean that I drove to work with no music. By silence, I don’t mean that I didn’t talk to myself or God out loud on my drive in. But commuting was my only time to enjoy silence, the unintentional benefit of being alone with no pressure to be socially aware, emotionally on point, or cleverly diplomatic. 

This was the first week in the span of eight months that I was able to admit to myself that I miss something about the old way of living. I miss the time in my car, the time away from children, co-workers, expectations, mounting laundry, and noisy reality. 

Silence is spiritual and has motion. It’s a sense of no permission needed, pure and unplanned moments in time where our mind isn’t held accountable for producing coherent thoughts.

Some replace moments of silence with a few more drinks or ethereal songs on loop. Sometimes, we drink to quiet a part of ourselves that thinks too loud, reasons too long, believes in disappointment, and runs from problems. Other times, we listen to music so we can shut out the noise, putting a literal sound barrier between ourselves and little ones who know no boundaries. Music artfully drowns out the noise of our circumstances. Music elevates us to a plane where only the quiet ambiance of hopeful tomorrows exists.  

What circumstance or vice has become your new silence? What song replaced your commute? Are you tired of the noise? Silence is essential to mental health. 

I hope we can all find healthy ways to enjoy silence once again.  Even if you’re not a writer, finding your hook is still essential. If you want to enjoy silence regardless of your surroundings, discover the wellspring of quiet expression unique to you.

Here is a link to SYML: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1Qq0TRax_pgbnunNdQ_BpQ

Photo by Hassan OUAJBIR from Pexels

#selfhelp #pandemic #WFH #commuting #career #parenting #mentalhealth #growthmindset

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Jay says:

    White noise. Like the whir of a air purifier in the bedroom, or an air conditioner window unit. That can also be the type of pseudo-silence that encourages relaxation and mental and spiritual reboot.

    1. Jay says:

      What is more satisfying? Silence or Solitude despite silence?
      I would tend to think the latter.

      1. Anna says:

        someone can be alone/in solitude and yet their loneliness screams very loudly…so, regardless of whether we are alone or surrounded by people, we have to figure out what “silence” looks like to us. Not sure if this gets at your question at all.

  2. Jay says:

    well, this is the first time that “loneliness” has entered as a factor within the musing. That puts a different spin on what silence can and cannot accomplish.

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