Can you be silent for a day?
How about a week? A month? Nine Months?
Have you ever tried not talking for a full day? And by not ‘talking’ I’m including text messages, and social media conversations. I’m talking about switching off from the rest of the world.
My book, Mute, was inspired by a weekend trip I once took to a silent retreat. I thought it would be a fun way to ‘find myself’. That was before I had a child who does not understand the words ‘be quiet’.
In the book, my character actually goes on a retreat herself and a lot of the experiences she had, were the ones I had. Such as:
My alarm going off in the middle of the night (we had to lock our phones away so I had to unlock the cabinet to get to it — the panic!).
Me finding EVERYTHING funny.
Being incredibly uncomfortable during mealtimes when all I could hear was the sound of people chewing.
Noticing for the first time how loud my stomach rumbles when there are no noises to drown it out.
I like sound (not noise). As a child I fell asleep quicker and happier if I could hear my parents around the house, watching TV, talking. It made me feel less scared. Now, as a writer, I spend a lot of time in silence. However, the moment I do anything that’s not writing related (illustrations, cooking, going for a walk), I listen to podcasts. It’s very rare that I sit in silence on purpose.
But silence is good. Silence is important. In the book, my character, Rebecca, learns a lot about herself and has to confront aspects of herself that a noisy world hides so well. I wrote that book quite a few years ago, and I forgot how important silence is.
From today, I will sit in silence for ten minutes a day. I will do my best not to think, plan, or lament. I will do my best to just be.
This is a noisy world. A busy world. But every now and then it’s up to us to slow it down.
One deep breath at a time.