The Value of Silence

Sometimes when we are driving around town running errands, heading to my mum’s house for a visit, or picking up my husband from work my daughter will pipe up from her car seat in the back and say, “Mom, can we just have some quiet time right now, please?”

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At 5 years old this kid is already wise to how wonderful and necessary silence can be. Normally we’d have music or an audio story playing, but many times she’ll specifically request that I turn the radio off and keep my own mouth shut as well.

At my very first Reiki session as a professional practitioner years ago I had quiet, soothing music playing (as I still do with sessions today). Somewhere about three quarters of the way through the appointment my playlist ended and I may or may not have gone into full on panic mode. I immediately started overthinking the entire situation, convinced that the client noticed the sudden lack of Deuter filling the room and was therefore having a terrible time. I actually nervously said, “whoops, my music stopped! Let me just fix that…” and proceeded to fiddle with my phone DURING THE APPOINTMENT until the playlist restarted. Thinking back to this I can’t help but cringe and wonder why I placed such worth in music playing while I worked.

When I had someone in for a Reiki session earlier this year a similar situation happened. For whatever reason the music cut out during the appointment unexpectedly and the client and I were left with a starkly silent room.

I kept it that way.

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What a difference a few years and some perspective can make. Where I was once afraid of lacking sounds to fill a space, I now value that absence so greatly.

Seeing my daughter not only requesting but enjoying silence already brings me so much joy. As a kid I would often fall asleep with headphones on listening to music, the bus ride to school would be full of chattering students or whatever radio station the driver felt we deserved that day, and from homeroom to last bell I’d have the voices and sounds of classroom after classroom in my ears, followed by all the varying volumes of my family and home life.

I remember all of that as an accepted constant, but I also remember the small moments in time where the act of quiet mindfulness started wandering into my life: as a tween, looking out the window and watching the snow so intently after my mother told me that if I listened hard enough I could actually hear the snow fall, and later as a teenager in psychology class learning a brief meditation instructed by my teacher as she turned out the lights and had us all lay our heads down on our desks and close our eyes.

Now as an adult I am grateful for those initial introductions to silence as a sacred opportunity. We don’t need noise all the time! We get enough of that just simply existing in the modern world.

One of my favorite things to do, and as a stay at home mom to a 5 year old this is a very rare occurrence, is sit down with a cup of tea and a cozy blanket and just be in my home.  Literally just being there. Not folding laundry while listening to a podcast, or washing the dishes while my daughter asks for more water, or strawberries, or pretzels, etc. every 5 seconds, or yelling, “ALEXA! PLAY FROZEN TWO MUSIC!” Just sitting down and leaving the quiet as it is.

This is not to say that I don’t enjoy my home when it is full of noise (just so we’re clear, I love the Frozen II soundtrack and Lost in the Woods will never not be on repeat in my head) or that when I do have some quiet time it’s completely void of noise, but when I sip my tea on my couch next to my sleepy chihuahua I am reveling in my own version of silence.

It’s enough for me for now.

 

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