That's the photo that hangs in my mom's bathroom, just above a framed cover of the UP DVD. She snapped the sign a few years ago while strolling along a nature trail in the South, and since, it's quickly become her mantra. Well, it's sort of become our family's mantra. In fact, I've even found my eyes drifting to those two simple words every night as I brush my teeth.
The truth is, though, that mere mention of the word quiet can make people shudder. Quiet gets a bad rap. It's awkward. It's uncomfortable. It's deafeningly loud in its silence. Quiet is bad -- very bad. Quiet should be avoided at all costs. I've always been a bit unsure about all of that.
And then I read a thought-provoking piece The New York Times ran last year on the joys of quiet, and I was sold.
"We barely have enough time to see how little time we have (most Web pages, researchers find, are visited for 10 seconds or less)," writes author Pico Iyer. "The urgency of slowing down — to find the time and space to think — is nothing new, of course, and wiser souls have always reminded us that the more attention we pay to the moment, the less time and energy we have to place it in some larger context."
Indeed, sometimes a little quiet can go a long way. Since my father died, I relish those quiet moments. Not because I'm lonely or depressed, but because I've learned that instead of being uncomfortable, just sitting in the quiet can be the most comfortable thing in the whole world. Those quiet moments can be utterly healing. Still not convinced? Here are a few more ways to enjoy those quiet moments...
*Enjoy a bubble bath and a good book (this book is on my reading list).
*Curl up in front of the fire with some hot chocolate.
*Grab your camera and snap some photos of the changing autumn leaves.
*Choose a day during the week and turn off the computer -- Iyer calls this an Internet sabbath. I do this on the weekend, usually on Saturday and try not to work on my blog.
*Take 15 minutes to journal your thoughts.
Research has even shown that after spending time in quiet rural settings, subjects "exhibit greater attentiveness, stronger memory and generally improved cognition. Their brains become both calmer and sharper.”
And though perhaps a bit extreme,Iyer's tactics have worked for him. "I've yet to use a cellphone and I’ve never Tweeted or entered Facebook. I try not to go online till my day’s writing is finished, and I moved from Manhattan to rural Japan in part so I could more easily survive for long stretches entirely on foot, and every trip to the movies would be an event."
Well, friends, what do you think? Do you love those quiet moments? How have you found more quiet time in your life? Do you wish you had more? What tips and tricks can you share? xoxo
P.S. On the business of being busy.
[Photos via Le Love]