Practice of Quiet

Furnace blowing warm air. Swish, swish hum from the dishwasher in the next room. Breath leaving my nostrils. That’s it for the noise in my house this morning. I like quiet.

The start of the day is important for me. To sit with my tea without distractions and wake up with my journal, listening to a quiet house is how I start most every day.

Even when I’m traveling, I wake before the rest of the people I’m with to get in this time. Why bother with crawling out of a comfortable bed with a warm puppy and spouse next to me? It’s the richest part of my experience.

Some folks might prefer to end their day like this. Me, at night, I can’t keep my eyes open. But for you, perhaps it would be easier than rising before the dawn. To each their own and with great joy!

To have a time when you settle in with the thoughts or questions in your mind, to feel your breath, to pause and ponder, and to explore it or release it on the page is a gift to yourself.

I write. I write a lot more than my journal. I also meditate a fair amount. I have a lot of quiet time in my life. I used to love music or the television going constantly. Now, my spouse and I have quiet nights with nothing on, just reading books and writing or sitting and discussing the day and playing with our animals. It’s not every night, but at least two or three times a week. It balances out the silly sitcoms.

Meditation has allowed me to get totally comfy with quiet. Road trips are my favorite quiet practice. I roll down the window a little or a lot, listen to the wind and the tires, smell the air coming in. Sweet hay and corn fields, fumes, flowers, seasons. Sometimes it is pleasant, sometimes it’s not. But it is always spacious and wide open. Unless I’m choking on the exhaust pipe of the car in front of me. That’s a little cloudier.

The quieter my life gets, the more selective I am about the noise I choose. I can listen more purely. Conversations get my full attention. Funny, I remember this girl I knew when I was 21. She said she only listened to music when she could sit and really listen to it. I thought that was so damn weird. Now, I think she might be on to something.

When life gets quieter, it is easier to hear.

When life gets quieter, it is easier to breathe.

When life gets quieter, it is easier to feel my body.

I live in a house with a spouse who likes more noise than I do. Yes, she will ride in the car without the radio on for a little longer than she used to. Does it matter to her? I don’t know.

She hasn’t influenced me to like noise any more than I’ve influenced her to like quiet. Because we share life and home, I’ve found ways to get my quiet. You might have to do that too. The easiest way is to ask the people you are with for quiet time. You’d be surprised to find they might want some too, at least for a few minutes. What starts out small can grow.

What I appreciate most about the quiet is how magical the natural noises in an environment become. They are no longer a distraction, but the breathing world around me. The whisper of wind through trees and chimes and grass. A washing machine. A purr from Pearl or Jenny.

And when I finally do put on the music, Billie Holliday never sounded so deep blue.

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