Why has “quiet” been so difficult for me?  Why, as I age, do I seek to find it more often?

I have two teenage children.  One is fifteen and the other is twelve.  I’m amazed by the amount of noise two individuals can create and find. The moment we hop in the car, the radio is on.  The moment we get home, ITunes is pulled up.  Skype, cell phones, the noise is incessant…we are a culture of noise.

When I was a kid…I was right where they are.  At night, my digital clock radio would, with sixty minutes of “snooze”available to it, be turned to radio station Big Ways 61.  Somewhere within that hour I drifted off to sleep with the radio to follow shortly after.

In my 20’s I made myself a very busy person. While completely unconscious of it (heck who could be conscious with all that sound?) I now know that the inside noise, the messages I was saying to myself, were pretty harsh.  “You aren’t pretty enough, smart enough, thin enough.

Molly, you aren’t enough.”

On and on, the noise within my own brain was so loud that the only thing that might compete with it and actually drown it out was finding louder noise outside of it.  Not a minute in my day would go by without noise…literally…noise.

Over the last ten years, I’ve been pulled to the power of quiet in my outer world. My attraction for it has been a gradual process. Listening to my breath, practicing yoga, calmer music, running without music, solo walks in the woods, sitting quietly on my front porch.

Sometimes it has been kinda scary.

Anxiety would present itself and I wasn’t sure why. Moods were up and down. Anger appeared at times to come from nowhere…but my guess is…with the decreasing outside noise, the inside noise (as inaccurate as the messages were) was getting a chance at last to be heard…and who wouldn’t experience anxiety, moods, anger and a whole host of other emotional ups and down if the noise was suggesting that somehow “Molly, you are less than.”

But silence/Love/God stuck with me.  And gradually I have come to see that I can silence the noise inside too. Over the last several years, I’ve even been able to find quiet within my thoughts…to silence them enough.to delight in a sunset, hear my feet land on leaves during a  rainy run in the woods, hear the sighs of my puppy while he sleeps on the floor next to me, hear the birds this morning begin to reveal the first stirrings of spring.  It is within these delicate moments of silence where I find gratitude for simple things…where tenderness, kindness and compassion for myself stirs as well.

Our puppy Ryder, peeking out between morning naps!

I don’t regret a thing, but do wonder how quickly I might have come to peace with myself had I been disciplined enough or introduced to the power of quiet when I was younger.  But then again, I realize that we all come, in our own time and in our own way, to learn that which we are meant to learn, when ready.

Where does quiet fit into your life?  Why do you think we are a culture of noise? What might we gain (or lose) by quieting the outside noise?  How has your relationship with noise and quiet evolved over the years?  Share with this community won’t you?  I have no doubt that you are here, right now, reading this because something about quiet draws you…doesn’t it?