We’ve lost the ability to be quiet. There’s noise everywhere. A constant hum of distraction. It’s more than just the sounds of traffic, pings from our devises, TVs in the background, radios in the car, undertones of conversations in restaurants…it’s literally a buzz in our brains. There’s no off-button for the constant barrage of information flung at us every moment of every day…no mute button, no silent mode. And it’s breaking us as humans. I dare say as a collective society the noise is making us overwhelmed, anxious and angry.
Daydreaming has been replaced with brainstorming. To be caught daydreaming or “with your head in the clouds” is considered a waste of time. It’s no longer acceptable to let your mind wander just to see where it takes you. It must have a purpose, a problem that you’re solving, a new idea that you’re creating.
A walk in nature is now for exercise. It’s to burn calories, get steps on a fitness tracker, hold a “walking-meeting” or “working-lunch”. It’s to train for a half-marathon. We wear headphones plugged into audio books, music, podcasts, or phone calls. No more walks alone just listening to the birds, wind, and trees.
Alone time is considered selfish, lazy, or a luxury. We have to schedule time to relax, and make excuses to prove we’ve earned it–we have to be so totally burnt out and “in-desperate need” of quiet time that it’s acceptable.
Vacations are either not taken, or as much work as normal life. Vacations are jammed-packed with activities, sightseeing, and tourist attractions. Plus most of us still check-in with the office from a so-called-vacation. Which, by definition, is work, not vacation.
So here’s my idea: Let’s go on a quest for quiet…for true peace of mind…for slow, free-flowing thoughts with no agenda. No interruptions. No goals. Let’s wander thru the woods and listen. Let’s sit under a tree and watch the leaves sway. Let’s pick the blades of grass and feel them tickle our toes. Let’s contemplate, soul search, reflect. Let’s stare at the ocean and feel its rhythm in our blood. Lets turn off the TVs, devices, podcasts, music. Let’s hum to ourselves. Make our own music. Let’s listen to our breathing, close our eyes, and sink into ourselves. Let’s tap into our internal peace and quiet. Turn off our hamster-wheel brains. Make no excuses for our silence and solitude. Just be alone in our own skin. To do this is human. To deny this is to deny our own humanity.