For much of my earlier life as soon as I arrived home I turned on the television. As soon as I got in the car I turned on the radio. I grew up in a household in which the news was blaring from tv during dinner. I adapted quickly ever since I emerged from my Mother’s dark womb into a world of noise: ambulances, traffic, public schools with loud lunches coming from everyone talking simultaneously, even talking to people while I took walks in the woods! Even while attending meetings I had challenges when periods of silence occurred among participants!
I was clueless that environmental noise could cause difficulty falling asleep, waking up too early, alteration of rapid eye movement, impacting ability to focus and concentrate on most activities, affecting the ability to listen to another’s communications, and causing mood swings, memory and attention levels! Research has shown even loud noises affect animals in their navigation in space, finding food, attracting mates, and avoiding predators!
I started learning to meditate around 40 years ago. I know initially it was challenging. For such a long time I lived in my head and being totally quiet, still, and exuding my Type A personality of believing I had to be actively busy to feel productive took a long time to change. Mindfulness took longer. Over time as I set the intention to live my life differently I made choices that surprised me! I began craving quietude instead of filling my life with noise. I eliminated all televisions from my home. I began getting in my car and not turning on any music or talk radio. I walked into my home and enjoyed the quietude.
Setting intentions of stillness had begun long before the world came to a crawl in 2020. I had an awakening that stemmed from deep within that nature was always trying to teach me the art and practice of listening. Not having to constantly be moving paired with noise was such a surprise to my system! At one time when I began partnering with stillness I wanted to be there all the time, like a Zen being sitting on a mountaintop in Tibet. This seems to be the way I choose change or change chooses me…I want this new way to be the only way I live so I fill every waking moment with the new manner…obsessing about I must do this more and often. Then slowly balance comes and I can choose to mix the new in with other aspects of my life. In my new found partnership I learned gradually stillness and quietude at times–music and other sounds at other times.
Recently I moved from living in a very isolated area of woods and wildlife and relocated to a small town living in a neighborhood. I thought I would have a hard time getting used to ambulance sirens, traffic , other noises, but surprisingly because I have partnered with stillness I am at peace with it all. Just like I would never just want to hang with a physical human partner all the time, I do not want to be in stillness all the time. I do start every morning with my Stillness as my chosen Partner and it grounds me , empowering me to fit into a world of peace. Over the past few years I have again been engaging with noise but too much of it is still a distraction. I pay attention to my body, my inner messages , and follow through when quietude is needed. I still do not own a tv, but I do listen to streaming on my computer. As with every other aspect for me moderation is the secret. I have not returned to my Type A personality. I can be talkative. I can be listening. I can be quiet. The interesting reveal was my truth that doing NOTHING is productive! Some days I just sit and live only in the present moment not needing to be doing…just enjoying being. I thought I had to be a busyaholic even in play. My Stillness Partnership opened a new world I did not know even existed: and, the year the world came to a screeching halt of slowness accentuated this amazing way to live. Still a student in learning of what does and does not resonate, knowing I will always relish change, and trying things out before I dismiss them with the old way of thinking it will not work for me, I am most every day comfortable in my own skin.