Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Searching for Silence: Myself Being Myself #SOL17

Montserrat in Catalina, Spain
The monks built a monastery here
that houses a black Madonna.

The world's cacophony exhausts me. Still, I often struggle to turn from the sounding brass and tinkling symbols of the myriad distractions that steal quiet and inner peace. 

I struggle.
I struggle daily. 
I struggle daily to find quiet. 

Even when I'm alone with only my dogs, the noise seeps into my life. We all know the ways:


I'm on a journey to find quiet. I'm learning to find quiet. 

I think about quiet and contemplate it. I'm aware that my own talking hides my inner silences. I talk to mask what I'm not saying. I use talk as a distraction. Don't we all? 

Recently, I've begun practicing yoga and meditation, the quietest of exercises. They help quiet the world.

I found yoga inadvertently. Last summer I stumbled into a yoga class. I thought I was attending a different class. I stayed. I cried all the way through that class. Nevertheless, I returned. 

For over a year now I've practiced yoga intermittently. 

I like the way yoga feels. It helps my chronic pain, something I don't talk about much. 

I am not an accomplished yogi. 

I can't do the simplest balance poses. Even my crow pose won't crow. That bird can't stay on the wire.

I struggle to attend classes regularly because of scheduling conflicts. Timing gets in the way.

As summer approached, I contemplated how to spend my time. Ultimately, apart from a couple of road trips and required one and two-day conferences, I chose to hole up at home. 

Most days I awaken and read before going to the gym. Once home, I continue reading and napping. I've napped a lot this summer. 

Still, the noise has often sabotaged my summer respite. I am still exhausted. I needed to find a way to abate the noise.

A week and a half ago I decided to do a Facebook detox. I've spent a lot of time on FB in the past couple years. Too much time. I've spent approximately an hour on FB the past 12 days and have avoided it completely three days. I've only posted twice since beginning my detox. Once was to share my blog.

For the most part, I don't miss FB, and it doesn't miss me. No one has inquired about my absence. I am not an indispensable entity on any social networking platform.

Granted, I have spent more time on Twitter and Instagram, but neither of these platforms pose the temptation FB does. That is, I can control my time there better, but I do recognize the risks in substituting one social network platform for another. 

To aide my yoga practice, I purchased some CDs. I like classes better. 

Recently, I discovered Body Flow, a Les Mills class at Gold's gym. I like it, although it doesn't have the meditative focus of yoga. 

I've had conversations with yoga instructors and others about the meditative qualities of yoga and the need for mindfulness. 

I downloaded the Headspace and Insight Timer apps. Headspace offers ten free sessions, but Insight Timer is free. 

Last night I used a sleep meditation, followed by ocean sounds from Insight Timer. I fell asleep to the latter and stayed asleep until 6:00 a.m. It's the best sleep I've had all summer. 

This morning I used a lying yoga practice from the Insight Timer app. I plan to attend a yoga class later today. 

As a child I spent a lot of time with quiet and my cat and my thoughts. I thought I had to push that natural way of being away, and even though many think I talk a lot, there is a silent me I'm learning to honor. I'll still talk, mostly in writing, but I like quiet, too. This summer it's the companion I prefer.

The world remains a cacophonous place, and its noise is not something I can silence completely, but for now I'm hibernating and feasting on the quiet. 

I like Virginia Wolf's thoughts about silence: 

How much better is silence: the coffee cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here for ever with bare things, this coffee cup, this knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself.

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