Listening to the silence

origin_3339579634It’s bone crushingly silent. Which is unusual. I wouldn’t call it peaceful exactly. Not yet. It’s newly quiet. My ears are still ringing a bit. They’re still adjusting to the new status quo. The day winds down gradually round here. One by one the kids gradually leave my consciousness. One by one, the requests dwindle. The silence creeps in.

I don’t often listen to the silence. I usually fill it with noise, with a screen based distraction, with the words, images or actions of others. I zone out. Let my thoughts get swept along by some stimulus or other. It’s the way I usually disengage.

But tonight I’m listening to the silence. I’m paying attention to the glow of the setting sun on the horizon. My brain’s a little bruised by too much thought. Too much talking, Too much of everything.

My husband’s typing away at the table. The kids are sleeping upstairs. The dog, newly scrawny from a summer hair cut, is lying in a tangled heap of limbs in the corner.

Today I’m paying attention to the silence. I’m being in it. Being still with it. Letting it ground me. Swallow me up. Get lost in it.

Because lost I most certainly am. Tonight I don’t know which way’s up. Tonight there’s so much I know I don’t know, it’s numbed me. It’s silenced me. It’s made me sit still in some amazement. That a person can know so little. Can be so unsure and still be alive. It’s staggering.

I’ve had these moments before. No doubt I’ll have them again. When there’s an overwhelming sense of change in the air. When life’s been turned on it’s head. Abruptly or not. Like your first night in a new house, or a new country, or both. When you can’t take all the newness in. When nothing is quite as you knew it to be the day before.

But unusually for me, I’m sitting with it. Not fighting it, or trying to shield or distract myself from it. For now I am letting myself sink into it. Letting myself sit in it. Breathing it in. Breathing it out. Letting it be what it is.

It’s a rare thing. Historically, it’s not been my strong suit. Historically, I’ve been a determined thinker. An anxious, worried planner. Someone who works hard to avoid these moments. Who avoids sinking into it, for fear I may never emerge again.

These days I give myself permission over and over. To not be perfect. To not know. To be unsure. To be unsteady. Some days I need a thousand reminders. But every time I remind myself, it’s a revelation. Every time I am newly surprised that it is so. That this imperfection and this uncertainty is allowed. Because I said so. It’s ok. It’s valid. It surprises me over and over again. It releases me in a blissful way.

It helps me sit and listen to the silence.

photo credit: korafotomorgana via photopin cc

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