SOLC Day 22: Seeking Silence

March 2022 SOLC–Day 22
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.
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Observe the wonders as they occur around you.
Don’t claim them. Feel the artistry moving through, and be silent.

Rumi

The older I get, the more I crave silence. Or maybe the more I hate noise. I’m actually not sure which it is. Either way, I’ve been increasingly drawn to the idea of going on a silent retreat. There’s a spiritual center not too far away from me that offers individual retreats. It’s located on the coast in a huge old building. I’ve been looking into it.

Silence. Ocean. Retreat.

What’s not to like?

Anyway, I mentioned this to someone recently and she suggested that I read the book, “Listening Below the Noise: A Meditation on the Practice of Silence” by Anne D. LeClaire. LeClaire decided to begin practicing silence as an experiment and became devoted to the practice. In her book she writes about how this experience enriched her life. I found it all fascinating.

We need water of stillness with which to nourish our creative selves...

Just as a seed is first nourished in the dark and silent depths of earth, creativity always begins in the void: the empty canvas, the blank page. Springing out of and weaving through this emptiness blossoms art, music, poetry, literature. In the clearing we discover possibilities.”

At the end of the book LeClair makes a few suggestions about how to dip into practicing silence. Her first suggestion is to turn off the car radio. I have about a 25 minute commute to work, and I almost always listen to the radio, or an audiobook, or more recently a podcast. On rare occasions when I’m really overwhelmed, I turn off whatever’s playing, and I always feel better for it. So maybe it was worth turning it off prophylactically, before getting to that totally-overwhelmed place. I decided to try it. To dip into silence by turning off the radio.

Yesterday, I drove to work and home without the radio. In silence.

Today I drove to work and home without the radio. In silence.

My brain, on the other hand, was definitely not silent. It jumped about in true monkey fashion, swinging from one vine to another. It got quite a work out.

But still it felt good. Driving in silence. Letting my mind wander where it willed without adding any new stimulus. I also found myself thinking more about silence during the day. Trying to listen a little more. Maybe talking a little less. Not being so quick to break the silence.

I’m not sure where this journey will take me, but I’m not planning on turning the radio on tomorrow morning.

And I’m pretty sure I’ll be calling that center to make a reservation.

10 thoughts on “SOLC Day 22: Seeking Silence

  1. margaretsmn says:

    Stillness, quiet…Ah! Yes!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sara says:

    Oh thanks for the book suggestion, sounds interesting. I often drive in silence, especially during the school year. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. JenniferM says:

    I used to love listening to music in the car, and for most of the year, I’ve driven to and from school in silence. After 2 years of parenting littles in a pandemic, my brain just craves that silent space so much more than I realized until I tried it. (My drive is really short now, so one day I just didn’t plug my phone in, and I realized how much I loved it!) Not sure I’d go for a whole silent retreat… and yet, I’m intrigued! If you go, you’ll have to write about it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. kd0602 says:

    Now you have me thinking about silent–and where and how it works for me. Sometimes I am all about having background noise–turning the TV on to a show I won’t actually watch to write report cards. Somehow the “white noise” makes the task easier. Other times I find myself immersed in total silence as I work, focused…but I do know that monkey too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      It’s interesting to consider, isn’t it? We haven’t had TV in decades and sometimes my husband watches movies on his computer and I absolutely hate the noise. I have no tolerance at all for it. I did used to have the radio on a lot but rarely do that now. I never thought about it before, but I think one thing I love about my early morning writing time is the silence.

      Like

  5. Hannah never listens to the car radio, oh the occasional music. Immediately, I turn on my latest podcast. Today, I had to use her car to go to the dentist in town. It’s not hooked up to my phone. I drove in silence. I survived. Do I have the strength to make it two days in a row!

    Liked by 1 person

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