Tuesday, April 22, 2014

search for quiet

I've been searching for quiet, but I just can't seem to find it lately. The world is so loud and it just won't stop spinning. If I could just have an afternoon of nothing to do, I wouldn't feel so rushed, so distracted, so lost.

You know when it's way past their bedtime, and they didn't get their nap? The lack of patience and resolve punctuating every moment of every movement? All they need is sleep, yet they fight it more than anything. I'M NOT TIRED, they may scream, while bucking their legs with a mighty last burst of energy, so adamantly that it makes you laugh, silently at first, then it escapes in a whoosh. 

I realized it today, I do that too- the bucking and kicking and screaming. I'm forty going on four sometimes. The one single thing I need the most, I fight the most. I need silence more than anything, yet I still fill my mind with noise. Constant noise. 

Silence- I crave it. I fear it deeply, all at the same time. It comes to visit so infrequently I don't remember how to entertain it.

And here's the thing- I don't have someone parenting me daily, a kind and gentle force with my best interest in mind. Someone who knows me better than anyone else. Some who will guide me while I try to make the right decisions, and when I veer off- steer me the right way.

If I did have that afternoon of craved silence I would fill it with noise. That's what I usually do. A book I want on amazon, a stupid article on yahoo. I'd read the Ten things you're doing to screw up Your Kids  or The Five Mistakes You Make in Your Marriage and Three Things You Eat That Are Killing You. I'm so tired of all the numbers that add up to numbing. All the stuff is so loud. The outside world plus the thinking and thinking and thinking. Texting with four friends at once. The television on with so many saved shows I want to catch up on. Writing the beginnings of a grocery list on my phone that I will forget all about once I'm actually at the store. Writing with on my computer. All at once. All the time. Checking my phone at Stop Signs. 

I could blame these devices or technology or being a mom of a four and three year old on the lack of silence in my life, but I prefer to take responsibility for these sort of pangs because then it means I can change it.  

Where do you go to fill your well? To silence the noise? To gather a bouquet of inspiration blooms up in your arms in order to have enough to give away? Lately I've been going to the wrong places, and it's time I parent myself and do the things I do not want, yet know I desperately need.

Why do we fear the things we need the most?

I love to read, especially other's perspective. I always thought when someone writes about something- it's clearly what they intimately know. But now that I am a writer, I realize I often actually write about what I need to know. What I crave to know. What I want to one day recognize as something that belongs to me. 

I need silence, and it's going to be unbearable but I just need to walk into it anyway and breath in and out. I don't even know exactly how to do this, but forty year old me will figure it out. I'll let four year old me take a nap. I think it involves putting away my phone, although my phone is not the culprit. I am the culprit. If it's the phone's fault, then how will I ever change? The phone is a symptom, I must find the cause of the pain.

I think it involves on purpose alone time. Not to grocery shop. Not to clothes shop. To listen to the silence. Tonight after Michael got home I desperately wanted to take a nap. For some reason a nap does not fulfill my silence quota. I know- I've tried. Instead I went outside for a long, long walk. I did not listen to music. I did not text or check email (yes, I've done both on a walk, many times.) I just walked. And at first it was angsty. I thought of things I need to do- important things that I desperately wanted to make note of- but I didn't. At least three things. Life will wait, the Parent me said. I started to write this post- as I was thinking it, which is a strange yet comfortable way for me to think- but it contributes to the constant chatter. Shhhh, I said to me. You can write it when you are in front of your computer. Right now, just breathe and listen to the wind

The wind was howling in baritone, the tall blades of grass were whispering beneath. The wind was so loud it made thinking difficult-, which was such a blessing to a thinker like me. And then what was loud about the wind, suddenly became white noise, and breathing became easy. 

And just for a moment, silence was mine. It does not come easy to me, but I will try again and again and again because it was so desperately good.

I had to bring the boys back up later this evening to enjoy the Earth on her special day. Sometimes they need the silence too.

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We had so much fun running together.

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Well done, God. Your colors are beautiful.



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  1. Oh sister, I know that feeling. I desperately crave peace & quiet, but seldom get it in any meaningful and recharging way. I get drips, but I need a waterfall... don't suppose I'd go so far as say Niagara Falls volumes, but yeah, more than a drip. And like you, when I do get it, I somehow fill it up with "must do" and "what about" and "don't forget!" And the ever popular "I really should appreciate this... pay attention to it, wring every bit out of it while you've got it!", which is non-productive since I am telling myself to do it, instead of DOING it. I will keep practicing though. And hopefully will do silence & peace & quiet a little better each time. :-) If I could hand you some peace & quiet, I would be doing it right now. :-) And it's here any time you want it. :-)

  2. I know I need silence too. Not just because I have three little kids and rarely get time to myself, but because, like you, I seem to always be filling the silence. It's like a strange addiction to noise, or maybe a fear of being alone in my head? Not sure. I know I need to seek it out more, though. Thanks for making me think about this, this evening. Also, I wanted to tell you that that last picture of Parker and the sunset is just wonderful. Thank you for sharing your life and your boys with us.

  3. Lisa from Tennessee/Ohio more TN nowApril 23, 2014 at 8:21 AM

    Oh, I hear you on this one! I HAVE to have silence sometimes; a fact I don't think my husband understands. And the way my mind works, it's so hard to shut it up when I do have that few moments of quiet. I started meditating, and that helps me. One time, I was in a group of friends, and we were doing some kind of question thing. I don't remember most of it. But one of the questions was to picture yourself in a completely white room. Everything everything is white. How does that make you feel? For me is was calming. For some people it was too sterile. So...now when I mediate, that's how I start. I just try to blank my mind to white. Just breathe in and out. When random thoughts come, I just do like you do, and shhhhhh them away. Come back later, I tell them. Then I have my happy place. It starts with a huge tree, usually oak, in a field of purple irises. It's a warm windy spring day. I just sit against the tree and feel the wind. Then, I go down a wooded path to a waterfall and a japanese pagoda, that has a front porch like in a farmhouse. I sit and listen to the waterfall. Anyhow.....that's my silence. It's not all silence (with the waterfall and such) but it quiets the rest of my mind. Sigh.....I don't do it enough. Hugs and love to you, Michael and the boys.

  4. YES!!!!! I AM SO LIKE THIS. Love reading what you wrote because it is how I feel.

  5. I also totally agree. When I do get 20 or 30 minutes of alone time in my house, I immediately freak out: "What do I clean and organize first? What shows do I need to catch up on? Do I have time to dust the kids' room?" What I/we need to do is take a break!

  6. Keep trying and flexing the muscle....you'll get there! Xo I have purposefully not brought my phone a few times and write or read instead....so good!