Creating Silence


A few of you may have noticed that I didn’t write a blog post last week. To be honest, I was dealing with a mix of not feeling well and a good bit of anxiety about recent events, so I decided that silence and self-care were more important than sticking to my blog posting schedule. 

The photo above shows some flowers I purchased mid-week. I took this picture of them in front of a framed print I love that shows a girl who’s gazing at the night sky. (Sidenote: Do you ever buy yourself flowers? Do you think it’s frivolous? Sometimes, when my mind is most preoccupied, their intricate beauty helps to unravel me and reminds me that they were created by a Divine Genius who’s bigger than my worries.)

On Wednesday, I went for a long walk in my neighborhood. It had rained, so it was grey and there were damp, colorful leaves dotting the sidewalks and piled in heaps along the curbs. The scent of after-rain autumn and the coolness of the air were soul-charging.

In the hour I was out, I saw only a handful of other humans and, for the most part, heard nothing but the sound of my own breath, my own moving feet.

During my walk, I thought about the recent election and the turmoil that followed. I thought about friends and family, some of whom are celebrating and some of whom are grieving (both about the election and about other things). I thought about work responsibilities, some of which I’m conquering and some of which feel messy. And for part of the walk, I thought about basically nothing, just looked at houses and cars and trees and felt thankful for the chance to just be . . . thankful for my safe, quiet neighborhood . . . thankful for legs that will move me.

I realized the quiet thinking time was a luxury. Sometimes it’s difficult to find silence, and sometimes it feels impossible to make time (or choose to take time) to disconnect and receive, but it’s so important. I think it’s crucial to allow our brains time to filter and file. I think silence is often the bearer of inspiration and clarity about things that would be elusive if we bury them with chatter. I think God speaks most often in a still, small voice.

In a recent blog post, I shared a study about principles of creativity, and I can’t help but think about how many of those aspects of creativity (such as, thinking and evaluation) would be impossible if we refused to sometimes make room for silence, how little we can get done if we never really listen [Related: Become a More Creative Listener in 30 Minutes or Less].

I know some people may feel they have too much silence in their lives already. If that’s you, this note isn’t for you. If you’re like me and find silence a little elusive but realize it could be an important boost to your creativity and well-being, keep trying.

A Few Final Thoughts About Creating Silence:

  • Make time for it. Find pockets in your busy day to take silence breaks. Schedule it if you have to.
  • Make space for it. Set aside a quiet room, closet, walking spot, or if you have to, get equipment like earplugs.
  • Make it a priority. Balance with your other responsibilities, but when you’re making a choice between silence and unproductive clatter, exercise the discipline to choose silence.
  • Enjoy it. If it makes you uncomfortable, ask yourself why and be brave enough to sit with it for a while.

Wishing you some [inspiring] silence this week,
❤ Nicole

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