What do you hear when it’s quiet?
Over the last month or so, I turned my back on silence. It wasn’t intentional, it just...kind of...happened. I love my quiet time and usually do my best to seek it out. In the mornings. On the trail. Right after the sun sets in my garden. But the quiet tiptoed out when I wasn’t paying attention. I’ve recently found myself freefalling down a rabbit hole of information, grasping at concepts to educate myself on the lives of the oppressed, the marginalized, the hushed and the forgotten. Falling makes it seem accidental; I dove in headfirst.
When I’m still, I’m reading. Eyes searching pages and screens for answers I didn’t know I had questions about. When my hands are busy, my ears are listening-- words delivered to my brain while I work and move and hustle.
I’ve been soaking it all in like a sponge. Some of it’s hard, but I know it’s important. Some of it is fascinating--so much so that I find myself googling and researching and soaking in excess with my eyes at the same time I am listening. Multitasking while I multitask--it’s a whole new dimension! I must. Know. More. And I must know it all at once.
Until I realized one day, I was full.
I’d soaked up so much, there was no room left for anything else. Feelings, thoughts, and a smorgasbord of opinions crammed into every nook and cranny of my being, soul pushed to the edges with no room to breathe. My words ran out. My thoughts were not my own--they were buried too deep, not strong enough to make their way into the world and take shape.
I’ve had to cut back. Turn off. Close pages. Stop the multidimensional-tasking. I still want to listen and learn, but I need to occasionally remind myself to pause and wring out. Stop in the shadows on the trail and interpret what the birds have to say. Watch the day drain from the sky and listen as the night moves in. Try to hear the very first drop of rain from a summer sky. I need space in my brain again for my own thoughts to roam.
It’s amazing what we can hear when we simply stop listening.
Can you hear it?