The Lost Art of Silence


When was the last time you took a moment, in public or otherwise, to stop and take a look around in silence? No cell phone, no computer, no one else by your side. It’s a busy, stressful, complicated world out there and for me, it has been ages.

A moment to myself in silence has never even crossed my mind lately. But something I saw this week made me think about a quiet moment alone and adding it to my weekly schedule.

Silence please!
Silence please!

Learning from professionals

I often go to the mall to work. I know that sounds crazy, but when I don’t want to spend money on a Starbucks and want to be among the living, I like to find a quiet bench in the mall to set up shop.   It sounds weird, but I definitely need background noise while I’m working, so it’s a perfect place for me.  I digress.  So I hit up my favorite spot this week.  Once at the mall, I sat  by myself for a while until two older women sat down next to me.

My first thought was, wow its weird that they sat this close to me. These days people are very touchy about personal space. But then I started getting more and more comfortable with them. They shuffled up, sat down and proceeded to comment multiple times on the cleanliness of the establishment, but then it happened.  They just sat in silence. No words. Zero phone. Definitely no laptop in tow. Just silence.

I looked up a couple times and smiled at my newfound friends. And as I ran through my inbox of 150 new emails I wondered, why don’t I follow suit? Why don’t we all follow suit.

Not me and not the mall, but you get the point.
Not me and not the mall, but you get the point.

Where will we find the time

Life is crazy. I’ve said this before and will say it many, many times again. But now that I have an almost 2 year old, a husband, house, job, mountains of dirty laundry and other equally important responsibilities, there is never time to just sit. And now that there is a piece of technology keeping us connected to everyone, everywhere, all the time…how do we get that silence?

The answer is, there is no easy answer. I’m certain there isn’t a simple solution, but maybe its all about prioritizing a peaceful moment.  Yes we have other things that could easily pull us away, but who says moments like this can’t be number one from time to time.

No phones or computers!
No phones or computers!

My moment

After about 30 minutes, my ladies left me to continue to work. But at their silent urging, I shut my computer and put away my phone and just sat. And while I didn’t end world hunger or solve any massive economic issues, I did find it calming. I observed my surroundings, collected my thoughts and smiled.  While I didn’t say anything to my new friends when they left, I do appreciate their subtle reminder to follow their lead.

I am not the first to encourage time alone and I am certain I won’t be the last either. Its important part of parenthood and while I didn’t last long in my silence, I will be making a point to add it to my calendar; right in the middle of do laundry, answer emails, make dinner and pick up my son from daycare. It’s funny how I need my Google calendar to prioritize that quiet moment, but whatever it is that gets me there…it will be worth it.