I just got back from a much-needed vacation with my fella, and I had a whole lotta something that makes me feel giddy. Alive. Weak in the knees.
What to know what it was?
It was SILENCE.
I dig silence. I crave it. I wallow in it. Be it library silence, beach silence, or monk-like silence, count me in.
But silence, as you know, is difficult to achieve. We're surrounded by din -- train screeches and cell phone conversations and coworker chatter. Even moments of supposed 'quiet' usually have some sort of hum in the background.
It's not just audible noise, either. Our visual world (especially online) is clutter incarnate. What popped up? What does that update say? Who just @ replied me?
Still, I strive to make a silent pocket each day, an unplugged moment where I'm sitting in my thoughts and tuning out the beeps and whirrs. And it's much easier on vacation when I'm sitting alone on a beach with only waves as a soundtrack, as I was last week.
Turns out this silence has a funny effect -- it makes me a better listener. So says sound expert Julian Treasure in this illuminating TED talk about "re-tuning your ears for better conscious listening." Watch the short video here:
So yeah. Silence turns me on (or is it off?). It helps me hear my boyfriend without the crackle of bad phone connections. It helps me absorb the sea air and the movement of tides. It helps me acknowledge the whispers in my own heart.
Silence, it turns out, speaks volumes.
Prayer #175: Silence Speaks Loudest
Amid cackles and crackles and reverb and pings
Couched in echoes and static and racket and rings
Next to babble and bellows and ruckus and dings
I sit still to listen ... and learn my soul sings.
For I could not hear it above all the noise --
Could not heed the sorrows, could not share the joys.
But now I'm aware (now that I've begun)
That souls tend to whisper at the top of their lungs.
So beyond all the clatter and clamor and fuss
Over the fanfare and shouting and muss
My soul quiets all with a "shhh" and a sigh --
God's voice not on mute, but instead amplified.