The question — part of the burning question series — is “what is your relationship to silence?” Since I like, love, revel, respect, seek out, crave, and at times surround, cocoon and submerge myself in silence, I thought I might have a go at answering it.
I thought about the question and as I was thinking that darned internal editor took over and started machine-gunning questions at me:
- My relationship to silence, or my relationship with silence?
- The good kind of silence? Or the bad kind?
- Silence or quiet?
I furrowed my brows. Where was that grammar Queen when I need her? I needed to think clearly about my “relationship to/with silence” instead of listening to internal editor making all those editor noises.
I thought about silence and the many different kinds and reasons for silence. But then my ears got in the way and the sounds of everything around me seemed suddenly amped up as my ears twitched at all the noise. I heard the low buzz of my computer, the low, windy sound of the air conditioner, the gurgling of my tummy, the sound of my breath, the sound of my pulse, a squeak of my chair, the scraping sounds of my mouse pointed out that my relationship with silence, as integral as it is, has an incredible amount docking stations in it for the inevitable sounds of living in a house in a city on a hot and humid day.
I’m a quiet person, except for the few times I am not. My peeps are all good with it. Is that the same as being comfortable with Silence?
For me, silence is not the complete absence of sound. It’s what’s left when all human-made noises are taken away, particularly the noise of any and all human technology. That Silence can be hard to come by when you live in the city. Planes, trains, cars, music, washing machine, vacuum cleaner, lawn mowers, construction. But I find Silence. And when I take that breath and turn to it, Silence is always there. In meditation. In walking along the shores of beach. With animals and in nature. Some special people. The sounds of water and trees and heartbeats and breathing and birds and wind.
I reframed the burning question: Me and Silence. What is our relationship?
We are on intimate terms with one another, to be sure. Lifelong partners, perhaps. Whatever it is, and it is hard to define, it’s good. Great, even. Life-affirming. Nurturing.
Silence gives me the space and time to just breathe and be. To align anything and everything that needs aligning. I find in my relationship with Silence, my head cuddles up more closely to my heart. Silence understands that I need our time together, that it helps to clear my mind, body, heart and soul of all the world’s polluting noise energy which in turn helps me be clear and true and able to create, to write, to think and to function well in the world.
I need Silence. When we don’t spend time together, me and Silence, I get edgy and restless and sometimes grumpy.
It’s not entirely a one-sided relationship although to be honest, Silence doesn’t ask much in return: a little spot in my life. Some recognition of its integral role in my life, in any part of me that experiences clarity, creativity, and connectedness. Silence and me, we have a relationship. We work at it. It’s constantly renewing itself this relationship.
Being with Silence helps me to be a better me. In return? Silence has a home. Is loved, wanted and nurtured. Silence has a place to be.