I’m addicted to noise! I leave the television on 24/7 just for “company” and find myself screaming at the talking heads who don’t espouse my particular belief systems.
I live in downtown Starkville and the traffic is maddening, especially those drivers who insist on playing their radios so loud, the windows in my old house rattle. One even cracked down the middle – I kid you not!
Our days are occupied with obligations and mundane responsibilities: grocery shopping, cooking, dentist appointments,committee meetings, column deadlines, correspondence and the ever growing list of maintenance chores for the car, house, yard and body. It suddenly dawned on me that I’m guilty of mistaking a busy life for a rich one.
LeClaire sets aside Mondays as silent days. She does not speak for 24 hours. She discovered the practice was the beginning of a personal odyssey of exploration and discovery – “A long journey not without difficulties but one that in the ensuing years would transform my life,” she declared.
In her silent moments, she discovered a hidden garden where ideas and self acceptance could flourish. She also discovered that reverence slipped in, so hushed she didn’t know the exact moment, only that she felt an acute appreciation for the ever-constant cycle of the seasons and the years as they slipped by.
Last Monday, I decided to give it a try. I typed up a note I would hand to my neighbors and friends letting them know I would not be speaking for the entire day. They looked at me strangely, like I might have a communicable disease or that I was going to run off, shave my head and join a convent!
The phone went unanswered and I stayed inside, cloistered, so I wouldn’t be tempted to break my silent “fast.”
The first couple of hours went well. I paid rapt attention to my household chores, but by noon, I began to worry that I was missing some great piece of news. Nine-eleven could have happened again, and I was clueless.
I relaxed my standards and tentatively turned on the television. They were rehashing old news with the gusto of a warm beer. I cut it off again and retired to my study to continue reading “The Book.” It was beginning to resonate with me and I had a deeper appreciation for the blessings in my life.
By 2 p.m. I was about to burst. I wanted to talk baby talk to Lucky and Rebel and they were becoming listless without verbal stimulation. By 3 p.m. I declared an end to the silence and began singing along with Jeb Mo on my stereo. The noise was back, but I had made it eight hours. I’m going to try it again tomorrow and see if I can make it until 4 p.m.
The reward was that I was more calm and centered, a gentler person, if you will. So, don’t call me tomorrow unless it’s an absolute emergency!