silence

More silence in life?

More silence in life?

April 23, 2020
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The silence.
Again, the silence!

Of all the feedback I and my two fellow Buddhas have gotten from people listening to one or more episodes of our recently launched podcast Buddhas by the Roadside, the one thing that keeps coming up over and over again is the silence.

10 seconds.
20 seconds.
30 seconds.

I don’t know how long there have been silent parts in these episodes, as I haven’t timed them, but they are there, they are quite frequent, and they are definitely part of the way we are, together, the three of us, me, Caspian and Dominic. Well… in 3D the silences can last for way longer than half a minute, but that’s beside the point. The point is… sometimes, it is just so lovely to be able to have a bit of emptiness, to let me, my thoughts, my emotions, make their way, leisurely, to the Point of Now. Not necessarily catch up, that’s a phrase that doesn’t ring true for me, here, but rather just… at my own pace, making my way to a meeting point, an energetic center, where connections can be made, where all of it, all of me, my thoughts, my emotions, can go off again, side by side or in different directions… only to reconvene later on at a new meeting point.

For me, this is a skill I’ve rediscovered, or perhaps relearned, as I used to be working on my retort while the other was speaking, which had me not be present in the conversation. I very rarely do this, anymore. I’ve learned to listen. And then, to see what pops up. If anything, because now and again, there’s just space, vast space, of the most glorious silence. Within.

And these silences are not edited out from Buddhas by the Roadside. There are allowed their own space. And I wonder at the way these silences of ours are picked up. Might it be, that there is a longing for more silences in the lives of our listeners? That these silences stick out for the listeners could perhaps be a sign of a longing, a need, a wish for more silences in life?


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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I love it, and I loath it.

April 18, 2020
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Last year I did two digital sabbats most months, each lasting at least 24 hours, oftentimes 48 hours or more. It’s a habit I’ve not properly carried forward into 2020, even though my need for it certainly hasn’t diminished. On the contrary.

But last night I gave myself the gift of a Social Media sabbath, checking out from Facebook and Instagram, Tinder and LinkedIn, and have now been off for 25 hours. The mindless reaching for my phone, unlocking it, swiping to my SoMe-folder on screen two, opening up Instagram, scrolling, giving a heart here and there, writing a comment or two, moving on, then Facebook, scrolling, giving a thumbs up, writing a comment or two, moving on, then Tinder, checking to see if there’s a new match or a new message, swiping left, left, left, right, left, then back to Instagram, then… on and on.

It is so mindless. Such a waste of time.
T h i s aspect of it. The almost unconscious routine-like habit of it; my inner SoMe-junkie in search of my next high. It doesn’t all have to be mindless though. The potential for connection is there, it is real. But that potential can be harnessed with much less waste of time.

Going on SoMe-sabbaths gives me the ability to witness myself and my interactions, to observe what I do, when I do, how I do, and realize that now and again, the why I do isn’t all too clear. And, so what? If I want to waste my time once in a while, so be it. My choice. My life. Sometimes, that’s what Is. And that’s fine. But I do want to be conscious of it. I want to choose to just be, letting myself be unproductive, non-effective, time-wasting, rather than feel addicted to it.

I’m quite particular about what I want to let myself be addicted to. Reading, hell yeah! Moving my body, of course. Silence and solitude, wouldn’t want to be without. But caffeine? No way. Don’t like coffee, but am seriously restrictive about tea as well, because I truly do not appreciate the headache that rears its ugly head after the fifth-day-in-a-row of having a cup or two of black or green tea. Nicotine? Nah, have never gone down that road, and alcohol is the same. I am really restrictive, and much prefer a glass of water to a glass of wine or beer which makes it very easy to not build habits around drinking.

But social media?
Huh… For me, it’s a different creature, for sure.
And I guess that’s why I am torn. I love it, and I loath it, all at once. A beast to be tamed? Or is this me trying to control me to an unhealthy degree? Should I just let myself off the hook, and scroll mindlessly to my heart’s desire without giving it another thought?


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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The only thing that’s needed.

April 13, 2020
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…empty.

That’s me.
Right now.

Started writing something or other… frowned my nose. Deleted it.
Wrote a caption… and deleted that as well.

And you know what?
Once in a while, perhaps silence is the only thing that’s needed?
So I gift silence. To me. To you.

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Advent Calendar 12 – To try new things with a curious mind

December 12, 2018
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To try new things, with a curious mind – what a gift that is. To me. For everything I try, I can stop to think I might like it, or not. Because I know, since I have tried it. I’ve just given myself one of these gifts, having just attended my first ever silent after work – two hours of complete silence, sitting, standing, lying down, in a room with others, and the possibility to have a cup of tea or a sip of water. Two hours went by much faster than expected. And it felt really good. Perhaps because I’ve befriended Silence? My old self, the one with the extremely harsh inner dialogue, wasn’t all that thrilled about silence, as it made the harshness so much more apparent and obvious. But nowadays, with my gentle and curious inner dialogue, I have gotten to love silence. And new stuff as well.

Because the two go together.

I mean – silence and trying new stuff go together with respect to my changed inner dialogue. As you might imagine, having a harsh inner dialogue isn’t the best encourager of trying new things… dreading the response from within if I would fail (How stupid you are Helena! Did you really think you could do that?), or not like it (Come off it Helena, stop wasting your time on stupid things like this!) or any other discouraging response you could think of.

There’s also something special about firsts. So my first silent after work deserves a bit of special attention simply because it is a first. When my eldest child was born, and I was a single mom, I missed having someone to share all of my child’s firsts with. So I created an email list of everyone that I cared of – and I shared with them all, whenever there was something special. And often, when there wasn’t anything special as well – simply for the joy of sharing our day with others.

Since then, I’ve been extra attentive to firsts of all kinds. The first snow of the year. The first spring flower of the year. The first time visiting a new country, eating a new dish, trying something new and so on. There are so many firsts available for us, and I enjoy celebrating them, in one form or another. Just for the fun of it.


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 12 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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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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