My favorite blog is Brazen Careerist, written by Penelope Trunk. The blog’s subtitle is “Advice at the Intersection of Work and Life” and most of Penelope’s posts can be tied back to work and life. But that’s not why I read her blog. I read it because Penelope is irresistably irreverent. She is bold – yes, brazen – and she says exactly what she means, whether it will draw in rancid snares or not. And it does. I read it for those comments, too.
Recently (sort of), she wrote a blog titled, “Why You Have More Trouble With Silence Than With Chatter” that reminded me of the extraordinary power of silence. Not one to partake nearly enough, I am particularly aware when I am being silent. It’s like my mind is getting a massage. It’s like I’ve been given a free coffee at my favorite coffee house. It’s like vacation in the depths of my flurried brain. It’s giddy. Makes me wonder why I don’t choose silence more.
The struggle is, silence is hard for many of us. (It’s not hard for my husband, for the record.) It’s hard for us because acitivty is the cornerstone of our culture. Action is productivity, if we’re not looking too closely. Of course, productivity does require action. But meaningful action almost always requires some amount of silence in the process. If we don’t check in… if we don’t wait and see… if we don’t listen to ourselves or others, particularly to our and their silences, there’s a good chance we will take wrongful action.
So today, I am embracing the pause. I promise myself some silence, especially in my head. Because I can be silent outwardly relatively easily (okay, maybe not easily – but I can do it with some focused intention or when I am totally exhausted) but silencing the continuous chatter in my mind is incredibly difficult. My top goal today is to find five minutes of total silence. Wish me luck.