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Cultivate Silence: The Benefits of Listening to Yourself

Where you are sitting right now…do you have the tv or radio on? Most of us at any given moment throughout the day, whether at home, at the office or in the car, would say yes. Are you truly paying attention to it? (well obviously not right now because you are giving your complete undivided attention to my blog….and NOT glancing up repeatedly at your taped Big Brother finale….right??!) But most of the time, when we are doing the dishes, playing with the kids or driving to the grocery store, it just seems like turning these electronics on is something we do without even thinking about it. Habit is a powerful force.

Earlier this year I did something crazy. After dropping off the kids to school and daycare, I drove the 30 minutes to work WITHOUT THE RADIO ON. Those who know me know that I am a HUGE music lover, so I’m not even sure what inspired this decision, and initially it felt completely awkward and unnatural. But BECAUSE of these uncomfortable feelings I knew I had struck on something. I was surprised, it really shouldn’t feel odd to sit quietly by yourself (don’t worry, this story doesn’t end with me telling you to mediate for an hour a day…while I envy those who have found rejuvenation through meditation, I’m not there yet so I’m just calling it “quiet time” and that is all I will be suggesting to you) It is because the quiet so starkly stood out to me, that I realized just how much “noise” we are used to having around us constantly.



The silence had ignited my curiosity, and I pushed through. By the end of the thirty minutes I knew with conviction this was going to be something I would incorporate into my life. I felt relaxed, I had remembered something I had been trying to remember (#mombrain), I had a new idea for a blog post….it felt like I was being productive without doing anything at all! Next time, I was prepared. I let my mind wander, I enjoyed the scenery, and when an idea came to me, I pressed record on my phone (there is a great app called Smart Voice Recorder) and started talking. Now, if you think sitting in silence listening to your thoughts isn’t that appealing, talking out loud is going to feel downright silly. Even though no one will hear these recordings but me, I have become embarrassed by myself later on during playbacks and I think I even rolled my eyes at one point. I’d like to tell you that this starts to feel more natural, but for me, it hasn’t. However, the benefits from doing this, completely outweigh the icky feelings. If you are an avid Arrow It Forward reader, you will know that I write in a very conversational way. I have produced almost complete posts, and at the very least, laid down all of the key points I wanted to touch on by using this approach.



Additionally, on the occasions that I am working from home, where my husband and kids are out of the house, I have made a conscious choice to NOT turn on the radio or tv….and I LOVE it! There truly are not many opportunities in our crazy lives for silence, but now that I know it’s secret, I do what I can to cultivate it and fit it in when I can. Next time you drive to the grocery store, give it a try….you know you are mostly going to hear commercials or the latest Bieber song three times in a row anyway (disclaimer: using the Biebs as an example MAKES SENSE here, but don’t get me wrong, I love every single damn song he comes out with and WILL incorrectly sing the lyrics at the top of my lungs….but not when it’s quiet time)


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