Posted on May 31, 2013
So – seven days, no speaking.
I woke up in the middle of the night to turn on the air conditioning and fend off the inevitable Toronto humidity and realized that I was technically allowed to speak.
I had no desire to do so.
One would think I’d have hummed a little song, made a big noise or at least tested out a sentence but in this week I’ve realized that for a person who speaks so much I really do enjoy the quiet.
There’s something in the stillness, in the discipline, that brings a sort of peace and steadiness that I’ve never experienced before. It brings a calm that is foreign to my overactive mind and mouth.
Though it’s been frustrating and at times lonely it’s also been a gateway into my own passions, communication and relationships.
The inability to speak leaves limitless space for others to express themselves. Sitting back and watching another inhabit that space, occupy a verbal place that is shared but that they are the only actor in is actually quite beautiful.
It seems that the small nuances are magnified. In myself all of the little reactive noises that I make are amplified and my actions and expressions are bigger and more dramatic. Yesterday reconnected me with my love of acting, of physical excitement and creation. But in others I witnessed other amazing characteristics grow larger and more evident.
My mother’s generosity, warmth and kindness exploded as the week passed. Her fierce love was still ever present but, typically quiet and subtle, her support was more expressed.
On Wednesday I went for tea and a movie with my best friend and realized we didn’t need language. Only a few moments in we were laughing and joking and she too was communicating mostly in gestures. It felt so good to know that even without words we have so much and can spend hours together loving the company and laughing from our bellies. Our friends, as chosen family, are such an incredible gift and it was amazing to have this chance to really witness the power of our friendship in small but significant glory.
Last night was spent with someone new(ish). I think both of us were quite concerned that it would be awkward, spending hours together when I couldn’t speak, being so close to the start of our friendship but it was really wonderful.
Not being able to verbalize responses, leaving more space for his expression and focusing our interaction outward brought out a side of him that I’d not seen before. It brought out mutual silliness, new forms of expression and shared stillness. It was so much fun.
I’m not sure that this is doing such a great job of explaining my experience of silence. Maybe I’m still too close to it or maybe it isn’t meant to be expressed in words but I am proud that I made it through and I am happy that it’s over.
As a creative exercise it’s been deeply valuable and I’m excited to start creating – to paint, to sing, to write and move with this in my physical and experiential memory. I already feel it lending fresh energy to my life and my perspective.
I’ll definitely do it again, but maybe next time it will be outside of the city. I get the feeling that being surrounded by nature, by quiet and earthly beauty will bring a whole new experience to the fore, allowing for more active creation, for the work to be the focus rather than the result.
Happy weekend beauties, I hope you get out in the sunshine and remember to play…
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Posted on May 29, 2013
In today’s silence my heart is singing.
I’m inspired, energized, happy and connected.
Despite gloomy weather for most of the day I’ve been wandering the city and checking out one of its most creative spaces – Harbourfront.
I don’t know why I don’t live there. By the water and bent on cultivating the craft oriented talents of Canadians, at the Harbourfront Centre I saw three amazing exhibits, a guy blowing glass and a load of kids having an amazing time exploring the space. Then I ate lunch looking out over the lake surrounded by different languages as work continued to replace a grotty parking lot with a beautiful, plant filled square. I even saw the beauty in some seagulls. It was heavenly.
There’s loads going on there all day everyday and in June a jazz renowned festival kicks off so I’d suggest you have a peek at the roster if you’re looking for something cool and new to get into.
On another note, physical activity is an amazing way to occupy silence I discovered today that running is particularly conducive to happy quiet.
I’ve only just started running this month but already I’m seeing the benefits. I picked it up because I wanted an activity that was all mine, that I could do anywhere in the world and that would ensure that my heart and body stay fit as I get older.
The wonderful thing about it in this context, however, is that there is a beautiful sense of community in running. Through the parks and along trails I pass other runners who are out in the early morning. They smile and continue along, dog walkers do the same, smiling, active and enjoying the shared space. It’s a unique place where no one is asking anything of anyone else but instead enjoying the calm, pre-work moments in nature.
It is a beautiful example of natural rhythm, the human machine and the subtle energy that flows through the city’s ravines, parks and trails.
Running is meditative in itself but I also did a traditional guided meditation today. Meditation is an amazing, deep and relatively quick way for us to tap into the relaxed, open mindset that encourages creation. There are many different reasons and ways that meditation can be used but as part of my own (almost) daily practice I like to use Chopra Centre meditations to help me find balance, peace, focus and clarity.
At first I thought they were pretty hokey and it was hard to connect to them but more and more I’m finding that, as with everything, what you get from guided meditation is what you take from it. For me, Davidji, though maybe a bit airy fairy, has a wonderful voice and incorporates beautiful poetry and themes that I can really connect to. If you’re looking to try out meditation, the free online Chopra library might be a good place to start.
As the old proverb says and Florence repeats – It’s always darkest before the dawn. It certainly is nice to be past the negativity of yesterday.
If you’re feeling down on this cloudy afternoon, I hope you’ll turn up the volume and Shake It Out beauties,
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