"Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
It's evening - the end of a very, very busy day - and I'm tired. It's a warm night, the air sticky and still, so a lazy voice inside of me whines, "It's too hot to write. Besides, you've got nothing to say. Let's not think - who wants to work that hard!". But I'm trying to listen to that other voice, small and gentle - whispering, not whining - that nudges me and says, "C'mon - let's write. Who knows what we may discover!"... And I'm learning to trust that voice more than the whiner...
My day was full of meetings today. Wall-to-wall, 7 hours of moving from one room to another, having 60 minutes of information thrown at me in 1/2 the time by well-meaning, but highly stressed and overworked, administrators and teachers, then rush someplace else, and repeat - all so someone, somewhere with a clipboard can say "Check! We covered that!" I did my best to stay alert and positive (Wish I could say the same about many colleagues - why is it that teachers are the worst example of students??) but by the end of the day, I was drained. And I was left wondering, "How was this productive? How can anyone get anything done, like this?"
But in all of this hubbub, I could see a subtler, more valuable truth... a pearl behind the swirling, churning eddies of my busy day.
The truth is that that same world that I passed through - loud, noisy, hectic, "Gotta get it done now or else!" - and chafed at, is really the same world I swim in, internally, most of the time. The only difference is I resent it when "others" are "yakking" at me, telling me "useless things", but I tolerate it when MY mind does the same thing to ME.
Don't believe me? Just try noticing how often you're "stuck in a meeting" with yourself - having an interior dialogue - full of "To Do Lists", judgments, Plan A's, Plan B's, whines, complaints, dreams about being on a sandy beach, witty remarks (that really aren't), the same boring conversations, ad nauseum. And we usually call this "being productive" or "a good day", as we rush to fill the empty spots, finish the unpleasant, and flee to a future peace!
Here's a better idea. Take a breath. Slow down. Find some stillness.
It was only as I dared to sit quietly here - to step out of the rushing waters of my thoughts - that something truly productive happened. That something higher, richer, more genuine was able to whisper to me - and I was willing to listen.
Be still. Relax. Wait to hear something else other than the usual din.
If you do, like me, you might be surprised at the gift that Life has left for you there in the silence.