I think the universe is giving me the high sign to be quiet. For extroverts like myself, it is too easy to talk and make conversation. But what are we missing when we fill the space with our words and do not stop to let our pauses land?
Why, for instance, when waiting in line, is it easier to chatter or pick up your phone than simply stay present and notice what is going on with you and your surroundings?
I attended a retreat in Mexico and was away from technology and deadlines. The silence was beautiful. I meditated every morning and spent time in quiet reflection. To my family’s surprise, I even attended a silent dinner.
That last activity was a surprisingly relaxing and calming interlude. It was hard to believe that it lasted 1½ hours. I ate slowly, thinking about my food and how it looked and tasted. I was simply being. I came back determined to live more in the pause.
“The truth is in the silence. People are afraid to have a silent moment. People are jumping up and giving their opinion too quickly.” These words, spoken by the late comedian Gary Shandling are profound. In an interview with podcast host Mark Maron, he went on to say that he believed that not being silent was a defensive reaction to not going deeper.
In my research for my book, Quiet Influence I found that introverts value quiet time above all other strengths. It is the place which is the wellspring for their creativity energy and where they go to recharge.
In Krista Tippitt’s podcast, On Being, Tiffany Shlain, a web guru, described how she and her family take a technology Sabbath on Friday night and Saturdays and how it has changed all of their lives for the better. Taking a radical step like that might just be the answer to reclaiming silence.
So, what will you do to build silence and a quiet space into your hectic life? Things are not going to get less busy, so it is probably wise to figure that out now, not tomorrow.