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Friday, July 26, 2013

Creating Quiet--Go Placidly Amid the Noise and Haste

"Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence." Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

The Sounds of Silence

Look into 8 year old Max Lindsay's painting and imagine what you hear. Quiet, peaceful night sounds--perhaps the distant sound of a dog bark--or if you listen intently in the far distance, perhaps the silent WHOOSING of a falling star.

After a long day filled with noise and haste, our heads can get filled to the brim with the noise of overstimulation. We all need ways to quiet our minds and calm ourselves to regain a sense of peace and balance so we know everything is well in our world. But how do we do that?

Quieting the Noise of Overstimulation

Sometimes our heads get filled with the noise of conversations we had--and the ones we need to have--in response to people bringing conflict and drama into our busy day. It is these conversations continuously replaying in our heads creating the noise of the day--and making it feel like someone turned up the volume to an unbearable level we can't get away from.

Here is how to turn the noise volume down:

Awareness The first step towards quieting this noise of overstimulation is to acknowledge these inner conversations are going on and they are responsible for turning the volume up in your head.

Listen to the inner chatter so you can name the noise. Pay attention to the chatter in your head so you can name what's grating on your nerves--and allow yourself to do nothing about it. Write it down or talk it out with a trusted confidant. When you can name what is screaming in your head it gives you the control for turning the volume down to a more bearable level.

When you're ready, take action.  Don't be in a rush to take action. Take your time. You're trying to create quiet in your life and that will result when you find a way to think, act and communicate calmly and respectfully. When you're ready--take calm, thoughtful, and decisive action--showing yourself you're in control of creating a peaceful life.

"A quiet response is one that absorbs the force of noise, with compassion, and doesn’t throw it back with equal force." Leo Babauta, Zen Habits

Just listen and absorb.  Leo Babauta, author of Zen Habits says when someone talks to you, instead of jumping in with something about yourself--"Just listen. Absorb. Reflect their thoughts back to them." You will create quiet in how you respond to the noise.

"Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story." Max Ehrmann

Listening to Sounds in the Distance

There's an interesting relationship between 'sound' and 'noise'. The closer a sound gets the more it becomes noise and the farther away a noise gets the more it becomes sound. Noise is irritating and grating; sound is pleasant and peaceful.

This relationship leads to a very easy technique for quieting the noise in your head: listening to sounds in the distance.

Just like 'looking into 8 year old Max Lindsay's painting and imagining what you hear' --when you go outside and direct your attention towards listening for sounds in the far distance you move far away from the noise in your head to listening to silence and soft sounds.

This is a simple activity you can take with you to gain a moment of quiet amid the noise and haste. Simply walk outside and direct your attention to listening to sounds in the distance to quiet the noise in your head.

"In the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy." Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

Meet the Artist

 Max Lindsay, 3rd grader

The Dog Tile Art Project for the Jackson County Animal Shelter

Debi Blair's 3rd grade class at Walker Elementary school in Ashland, Oregon painted tiles to create a bright, cheerful entrance to the dog kennels at the Jackson County Animal Shelter. Their creative and fun spirits come through in their art. Come on down to the Shelter to see what a difference their tile art makes.

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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

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1 comment:

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Sue, I love that quote! I've never been one who thrives on noise and haste and overstimulation, so I always appreciate ways to quiet the noise.