silence

One Square Inch of Silence (book 11 of 26)

One Square Inch of Silence (book 11 of 26)

June 3, 2018
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in Tip
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One Square InchWhat a profound read! I am oh-so-affected by what I’ve just read.
Deeply impacted.

Am in a state of high-alert with regards to auditory observation ever since picking up One Square Inch of Silence: One Man’s Quest to Preserve Quiet by Gordon Hempton and John Grossmann.

“We’ve reached a time in human history when our global environmental crisis requires that we make permanent life-style changes. More than ever before, we need to fall back in love with the land. Silence is our meeting place.”

Last night I made a bed for myself out in the garden, and slept there, with my never-sleeping ears (there are no ear lids. Ever considered that before? Vision is something we can turn off, hearing is not.) curiously on the prowl for traffic noise, insects buzzing, birds chirping, leaves rustling, my own breath from my steadfast inhalations and exhalations.

“If asked to choose my favorite sound in the world, I doubt that I could do that easily. If forced, I might say it’s the dawn chorus of songbirds, the sound of the rising sun as it circles the globe. But that would disregard the murmur of winged insects as heard over many square miles in the Kalahari Desert, and if that were my favorite sound, that would ignore the hoot of an owl and the way it bounces off the cypress trees in Louisiana, and also ignore the clang of a church bell after it has echoed down the narrow stone streets of an Austrian village. If I had to supply a single answer to that question, my favorite sound in the world would be the sound of anticipation: the silence of a sound about to be heard, the space between the notes.”

I even downloaded a sound meter (actually – two, giving completely different results!) on my IPhone, having finally started to understand decibels and auditory measurements. Thanks to this book, I’ve got something to calibrate sound levels against as Gordon in a pedagogical manner jots in current decibel measurements for whatever it is he’s experiencing, giving me something of a map to help me navigate. Also I’ve gotten an understanding of the profound difference in restricting noise versus preserving quiet. Two completely different perspectives, that I’ve never given any thought to before. But now I do.

“Silence is not the absence of something but the presence of everything.”

And as I read, I remembered my recent weekend visit at Mundekulla. Walking down the narrow graveled road from the building where we had the course I was taking, to the dining hall where my room was also situated, I noticed the silence. Profound. Peaceful. Powerful!

“Silence seems to make music from everything, simply by isolating individual sounds, allowing the sounds time to form temporal relationships. Music is made out of rests and notes. Quiet times and exciting times, silence and sound. We need them both. More than any other sense, hearing unites everything.”

Now, after completing my read of One Square Inch of Silence, I more fully understand why the experience of quiet (which, in Gordon’s definition, means the absence of man-made noise, rather than no sound at all, an important distinction) holds such power over me (us!).

“Our public gathering places, for sports, literature, learning, and music, are intentional spaces, highly structured, and thus result in somewhat contrived experiences. Whenever I visit them I’m reminded of the vital importance of preserving places outside of human intention, unspoiled wilderness areas, places where we might regain sensory balance and learn from the unscripted, unedited, unenhanced, raw opportunity of nature.”

This concludes my third encounter with Gordon. You see, I first stumbled upon him while listening to On Being some years ago, an episode I highly recommend. My second run in with him was when we took a family vacation to Seattle and Vancouver in 2016 – with me being adamant to cross the sound to visit The Olympic Peninsula, which I would not have necessarily insisted upon, had I not listened to that podcast. While we were there, we took a day-trip to the western shores. En-route back, we stopped at Fairholme General Store along Lake Crescent, where they had a few copies of One Square Inch of Silence at the counter. So besides buying ice cream and two T-shirts, we also left the store with this book, a spur-of-the-moment piece of shopping of which I am truly grateful.


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2018, to read and blog about 26 Swedish and 26 English books, one book every week, books that I already own.

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From me to me

January 31, 2018
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from me to meThe other day I took part in a conversation amongst precious souls, my circle of Camp fire sisters, that meet up about once a month over Skype. As always, deep connection took place, as we each shared what wanted to be heard.

Afterwards, Mayke sent us all this amazing piece of writing, spurred on by the virtual camp fire-conversation. I asked her if she could not release this text into the world, and if she didn’t have a place for that, that I’d love to feature her as a guest blogger here. So, without further ado, I give you:

From me to me, by Mayke Vullings

Some words, from me to me:

Today I am

In a child’s carousel

Twirling around in endless circles

The laughter long gone

Loudspeakers on full force

Bombarding my ears

With questions I cannot answer

Shouting my inadequacies for everyone to hear

Blocking deep truth I lost touch with

I am lost

In thoughts who keep me prisoner

Dictating a perspective

That leaves no space to breath

Now frantically looking for a way out

 

My friend whispers: that is the way in

Become your own Mum

Force yourself up

And go to the stove

Heat the water

Pour yourself a hot cup of tea

Sit down wrap your hands around the cup

Follow the steam with your eyes

As thoughts vapouring in thin air

walk to the couch

Cuddle into a blanket

Next to you a bottle of silence,

Your glasses and a good book to read

Breathing, breathing

Staying on this island as long as you need

 

Somewhere in the room

You know for sure –

are your ballet shoes

patiently waiting for your return

to step into

start dancing your life

again & again & again

recognizing yourself in the now

for who you truly are.

 

Amsterdam, 29th of January 2018

Mayke

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Touching the silence

July 14, 2016
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The other week I had a coaching experience that was something else. It touched the silence, and it’s a genuine privilege when that happens. I don’t know if you’ve ever been there? It can happen in any situation, but I’ve personally only noticed it in conversations.

What I notice is that each participant (and it can be more than one, I’ve experience this in larger groups as well) goes quiet. Not necessarily silent, but more quiet. Voices go softer, more quiet, and there is an almost tangible silence to the conversation, there is something else there. If I was religious I’d say God became present, or participating, and in a way, maybe that is just what happens. Only, I believe we all carry “God” within us. That higher power embodies us all, but we don’t always feel it, experience it, or even remember it’s there.

But we do. And when we touch the silence, that higher power within is very much alive and thriving. This is not something that require a specific setting to come about though, as it’s always there. We have the potential to tap into this higher power at all times, because it’s within us. Always. It’s also what connects us. All of us. At all times.

*giggling a little*

This might come across as though I’ve suddenly been born again, somehow, and you might think all sorts of things about that. But, I don’t care about that, I won’t let my thoughts about what you might or might not think, limit me or my writing. This is my experience and I use this blog as a way to journal, I guess. I journal my experiences, my insights, my ponderings, my questions.

I wrote above that I’ve only experienced this in conversations. 20140501-065402.jpgBut, now that I think about it, that’s not true. I just realized it to being akin to the feeling of flow. And flow is something that I’ve experience by myself many times. I don’t always remember instances of flow, but since I’ve been out flying quite a lot this year, I have noticed that I do tend to end up in flow, on planes, when I bring out my miniPad and write blog posts. Times just wiz by, and I am left with a number of journal-entries/blog posts. Call it whatever you may. But in one sense, they represent moments of me touching the silence, capturing it onto paper, saving them for posterity. Like photographs. A snapshot of my state of mind, at that very moment.

Have you experienced touching the silence, and if so, would you please tell me about it? I’d love to know if this way of describing it resonates with you?

Since 2012 I have blogged over at herothecoach.com in a jumble of Swedish and English. This post is a sample of what I’ve been writing – in English – there over the years. As of 2016 all my English posts appear here instead. I hope you enjoy this #ThrowbackThursday, originally published here, and if you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts.
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