I appreciate the quiet – time to think and be with myself. In the silence, I can hear myself, that distinct voice free of the influence of another’s wants and needs. I can hear the voices of others as well, even more clearly than when they are present and I find that I understand more of what seems to be required of me in a given circumstance.
The biggest challenge to my space and time for peace and reflection is the demands of others for connection. When I sleep, I disconnect. I am away from my computer, cell phone on silent and turned over to block any lights or buried, and ear plugs. It is my intention to sleep until the appointed time that I awake. Before I sleep, I use that solitude for reading, writing and thinking. If I wake early, I stay in this sacred space.
I think we (as a society) have grown so accustomed to being able to contact each other at a moment’s thought that we have forgotten and forsaken what was once basic courtesy and need for privacy. I remember when we waited until after 9am to call another’s home and if the phone rang after 9pm it must have been an emergency. There was an agreed respect for family time, rest, and renewal. In a world that operates 24 hours a day, we have opted to apply our needs to others whenever we decide, regardless of importance or urgency.
I work nights and as such, sleep during the daylight. Sometimes I sleep mornings, but if I have chores or plans, I sleep evenings. Either way, those in my life know that my availability varies. The advantage for them is that I can assist with their lives while they are at work, but that also means that I will sleep as needed, when needed. The issue arises when someone is out there texting, calling, emailing, or sending notes with no response (in the manner they expect). I am completely secure in my decision to rest, so attend those contacts when I am ready to be engaged.
Being alone these days is a treat. It is rare that we see advertisements for vacations that include silent walks in the woods unless it’s a photographer. We are shown travelers in mass, rarely lone readers, writers, hikers, or swimmers.
As a child, I loved the few moments I enjoyed alone. I am the eldest sister with five siblings. I carried a great deal of responsibility for the care and tending of my family and found that school, homework and reading gave me the needed refuge from the constant barrage of demands.
I need time alone to dream, vision, imagine, and believe. I need space to remember who I am, recover lost ideas, assimilate new concepts. Time to myself opens the doors to possibilities hidden in the myriad sights and sounds of daily life. I need time to breathe, and to breathe deeply. In solitude we find the strength to live the decisions we have made, to face the consequences of our lives, and to go on.
All that I am in available in the quiet. It is here with my heart open I find forgiveness and resolve. There are places and ways that I have been that arise for review. In these moments, I accept the life I have chosen and with courage go on. To deny this sacred time with and for ourselves is to forgo daily blessings.
If ever there was a need for silence, it is now.