“Speech is the small change of silence.” George Meredith
Here is another thought provoking quote, this one by Yehuda Berg: “There is great power in being quiet and letting someone have your total attention.” A question to ponder – how often do you fill a pin-dropping silent space with talk because there is an energy of discomfort in the room; whether in a group, a part of a twosome, or by yourself! Does your uneasiness stem from a desire to fix things, the need to manage, direct or control? Please take a moment to think about it. I will wait.
Do you remember times when the ‘entire’ family gathered for one holiday or another, when the hours spent together were supposed to be jolly and gay? Yet the occasion was far from relaxing and enjoyable. Articles are written every fall about surviving the ‘holidays’ with relationships or yourSelf still intact. There is the aunt or uncle known for imbibing a bit too much, who turn from sweet to sour quickly; then there are the ‘in-laws;’ the list goes on to contain friends, immediate and extended family, co-workers and those you feel you have never been able to please! So, you find yourself in a social situation with one or more of these people and there is a big dark hole of discomfort swirling and looping all around you – and you begin to talk. Before you know it you are filling the space with verbal busy-ness, chattering away about nothing and feeling emptier as the minutes pass.
Another scenario that often seems to be filled with busy-ness is the time spent with children. One look at the ‘to-do’ calendar of a young and growing family leaves even the most energized person feeling exhausted. The little calendar date boxes are filled in with work, sports, music lessons, committees, appointments of all sorts, parties, shopping, cleaning and house projects and lest we forget - computer – internet – texting and phone call time. What are we teaching our children with this conglomeration of hubbub? What time are we spending nurturing? More and more, little ones sit in front of a big screen television watching videos or playing games locked in their own world – alone. It is any wonder that they turn into teens and want ear pods, phones with ‘qwerty’ boards and ‘kindles’ in their hands, rather than spending open-eared, empty hands time with adults?
When you do have the time to relax, do you willingly spend it ‘chilling’ with your children or are you caught in your own thinking, your own desires? Once again the nurturing question pops up! Are you aware that nurturing is a two way street? When you are giving, are you conscious of receiving?
What to do…
The first thing to do – turn everything electronic off: next, in whatever situation you find yourself in – listen. Plain and simple, just listen. Whether at a family gathering where Uncle Joe is misbehaving; mother-in-law is judging; or at a meeting of people all needing to tell their side of the story; or, you are alone with your children, press the pause button on your ‘talker’ and listen for what is really surrounding you.
Allow your own discomfort to melt away. Practice healthy deep breathing and you will hear what is truly being said; what is really being asked for and how much your expertise, input and caring are needed. Listen to the chatter of your child as though nothing else exists in the world; listen to the elder parent so you can hear what they are really feeling; pay close attention to the co-worker or friend as they disclose their truth. Leave the component of judgment at the door, outside, down the block, in other words – elsewhere, and gone.
The richness of life is found in the relationships people have with one another. It is not found in bank accounts, stock portfolios, cars, boats, big homes and high-tech gadgets. True wealth and prosperity are the little moments in life where above all else you share who you are in a loving and kind way. An exchange of such energies is actually so profound that the magnitude may not be measured immediately, yet may appear many years down the road in a gesture returned; in a moment of pay it forward. I often mention in Silver Threads how the positive changes you apply to your life will touch those close to you. In a Daily Om article titled “The Consequences You Sow,” the following is written, “Every action you take has a cause and effect. The influence we wield is infinite…Our intentions flow forever outward in the form of energy, affecting both the people closest to us and billions of individuals we will likely never meet.” Seems as though it is time to stretch the imagination!
The May 2003, Silver Threads (known then as Enlighten) spoke of the joy to be found in the Sound of Silence. At that time, the article was all about creating time to meditate; to find the quiet in life so as to grow, heal and be. Today, I would offer to you that the Sound of Silence not only be about creating a caring space for yourSelf; that it also be about knowing when the benefits of your silence would be a priceless gift to those around you; those who need your total attention.