Tag Archives: Quiet

Getting Quiet

Hillsdale_Lake

It’s easy to focus on all the details of our busy life.  The errands we run, the work we do, the people we meet, the things we do for others, the things we do for fun, and occasionally thinking about what’s going on in the world around us.

But, what about when things get quiet? When we listen only to our own thoughts.

Getting quiet can be scary. What’s in there? What’s missing? Where are you going? Do you recognize yourself? Do you like the person you’ve become? What’s important?  What do you want from your life?

We can talk ourselves out of just about anything. That includes getting quiet. Here’s a short list, in no particular order, of ways to create some space for quiet time in your (too busy) life:

  • Turn off the radio (and your cell phone) when you drive.
  • Purposely wake up about 20-30 minutes earlier than usual…there’s your extra time for quiet.
  • The next time you’re clicking around the TV channels, click the off button instead.
  • Take a walk, a run, or a hike…without your cell phone.

How should you spend your quiet time?  You decide.  It’s your time.  Meditate, read inspirational quotes, pray, or sit in silence and give your brain some time to slow down.  It may seem a bit awkward at first, but that will pass as you get to know yourself better.

Get quiet.  Listen to your thoughts.  You might be surprised by what you hear.

 

 

The Joy of Quiet Listening

The world can be a noisy place. It can also be a quiet place.

Consider a street corner in a busy city. The sounds can be overwhelming. Honking horns, revving engines, the crazy person yelling at the sky, pieces of ten conversations you overhear as people pass by, music from that guy’s headphones that are turned up way too high, the beeping of a delivery truck as it backs into a parking space. And yet, there can be quiet, if your mind allows it.

Family gatherings are loud. I’m blessed to be part of a huge family. Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings have forty-plus attendees. At any time, there are two or three kids barreling through, laughing and screaming, a bunch of discussion about how best to prepare and serve the family meal, and a ton of conversations peppered throughout the house. I do my best to add to the noise, but I purposely take time at these gatherings to quiet myself and appreciate the moment. I listen, and enjoy.

It can be the same on a trail run. The sounds of birds chirping, the crunch of the ground, the rustle in the leaves as a critter runs away, the wind whistling through the trees, the buzz of a rattlesnake I just startled (it’s as if a big rattlesnake alarm clock went off this week, alerting all rattlers to wake from hibernation), the music in my Pandora feed (Beach Boys, lately). I stopped running with ear buds long ago, simply so I can hear more of the trail. I still have some music playing, but, it’s in the background. The sounds of the trail, and my own rambling thoughts are what I hear the most on a run.

Consider the last meeting you attended. How many people were in the meeting? Were there side conversations? Was anyone checking their phone or laptop during the meeting? Were real, meaningful, and actionable ideas discussed? Were you the one checking your phone? Were you listening, or merely thinking about your next response? Was anyone listening? Who was the quietest person in the meeting? What did they think? Did you take the time to find out?

Meaningless noise can creep into just about any environment, whether it’s measurable on a decibel meter or not. Meaningful quiet can enter any environment, no matter how much noise there is.

You control the quiet.  You control your listening.

Embrace your silence, and enjoy the power of quiet listening…maybe for the first time.