Friday, December 02, 2016

Settling into the Quiet

December. Beautiful December is here and it's time to get quiet. This past September, October and November were the busiest and most stressful months in recent memory. And with the sale of our home and our huge downsize complete, I am taking the month of December to get quiet and recuperate. I'm also coming off of a nasty little ear infection. (Isn't it always the case that when you finally have a free day or two, your health goes south?)

But December is here and the hush has begun. In her book review of "A Book of Silence" by Sara Maitland, Dominique Browning writes, "The world is a booming, rustling, buzzing place to begin with (though many of us have shut out nature’s clamor), and to that we have added every conceivable vibration of our own making and every possible means of assault, whether it’s the vast, thrumming climate-controlling systems of our sealed buildings or the tiny earbuds nestled against our cochleae. What chance does quiet have against all this?"

My road to getting quiet has been very difficult. I have two small children, volunteer hours for multiple non-profits that rely heavily on my initiative and energy, my own creative work and all this while I'm surrounded by the fourth largest metropolis in the country. In order to claim lasting and long term quiet space I sold my home, paid off my outstanding debts with the proceeds, retracted promises, canceled appointments, divested myself of 2/3 of my belongings, boycotted my Facebook feed, and ceased all holiday travel. It sounds dramatic, right? I suppose it is. This is how I chose to simplify my life.

Now that I've made space for simple living, the quiet I sought as set in. And the quiet is both delicious and totally unfamiliar - unfamiliar and unnerving. But I also sense deep in my bones that this new found quiet is absolutely necessary for my well-being and my future creativity.

When you cease to fear your solitude, a new creativity awakens in you. Your forgotten or neglected wealth begins to reveal itself. You come home to yourself and learn to rest within. Thoughts are our inner senses. Infused with silence and solitude, they bring out the mystery of inner landscape. 
- John O'Donohue

Suggested Reading: 

"A Book of Silence" by Sara Maitland (Here's the NY Times Book Review)

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