By: Christine McFarlane
Have you ever stopped what you are doing and really listened to silence around you? I know that is a hard thing to do especially in this day and age when we have all sorts of technology around us. If it isn’t our cell phones ringing, playing our music wherever we go or being online, it is rare to appreciate moments of silence.
When silence comes, it is often hard to sit back and enjoy it. You wonder, is it okay to enjoy this moment, or should I keep running headlong into my daily routine of keeping as busy as possible.
I remember that I used to hate silence. Silence to me was dangerous because it meant that I had to pay attention to feelings I was going through, feelings I wasn’t comfortable in experiencing. I had to have my music on, my television on and I even liked my phone ringing, it made me feel connected to the outside world. I was connected but through artificial means. Meaning, I was not allowing myself to appreciate silence when it came to me.
The silence I grew up with was oppressive. In order to survive I had to be silent. I could not use my voice. Now that I am older, the silence I choose is voluntary. I have learned to appreciate silence and its rarity when it comes to me. I use my voice now when I choose to, and it is through my writing that I experience the peace of mind that I have always craved. There are some days that I come home from school or from just being out, and I want no noise around me. I want silence around me and through that silence; I can listen to what is around me and be more aware of what is going on inside me. Knowing what is going on inside is not as dangerous as I used to think it was. My television stays off and so does my radio. I learn to appreciate things around me more by listening to the silence around me. I am more aware of the world around me-just being present in the moment I am in.
Appreciating silence, it can be a tough lesson. I think everyone should try to have a few minutes each day to appreciate no noise around you, Try to make it possible and see what you learn in that silence.
I used to be afraid of silence, now I welcome it. It is something to be enjoyed and we all definitely need a break from the chaos around us.
(This was originally published in the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto's newsletter) It is an old piece but still remains one of my favorite earlier pieces