In the Silence are the Answers…

Healthy Lifestyles, self improvement, The creative urge, The Inspired Life, Writing

 

I think I was twelve the first time someone turned to me with hands on their hips, frustrated, ready to rip out their hair and shouted, “Wendi! You know what your problem is??? YOU THINK TOO MUCH!!!”

Oh, OK, then…I’ll just…stop…???

But what if…????

The world is an amazing place. Under every leaf and rock is a whole new world just waiting to be explored and questioned. Taken apart, piece by piece, examined, put back together again with all the pieces topsy-turvy and somewhere new. Creativity is the child of the questions Why and How.  The answer to the why-nots, and the-oh, yes I can’s.

Questions, Questions, Questions. Yes, I can be the Queen of questions. I started asking them at three and never shut up. So I am told. Guilty as charged. I honestly believe that if I have a ‘secret to my success,’ it is the asking of questions and looking for answers.

After all, I am a high school drop out. Twice. But that didn’t mean I had to stay there. I tried going back once and circumstances knocked me off my feet again. So… off to get the GED and on to College. There is always a way around to go get the answers if you really want them. Then there are books. Amazing, wonderful books. If you can read, there is virtually nothing standing in between you and anything you want to know.

And now we have the Godzilla of information…the INTERNET. Oh…we live in a privileged time of answers. What do you want to know? Within moments, the answers can be at your fingertips. Technology, Shakespeare, how to make your first million. Right there…Google can set you free…Ask and you shall receive…glory be…

But there are some answers that can’t come to you with the click of a button. Google can’t answer the nagging little questions bottled up in your spirit. It won’t tell you why you ate that stinking rotten doughnut not ten lousy minutes after you PROMISED yourself you were really going to diet this time FOR REAL. It can try, but it doesn’t know you. It won’t write your next article or tell you why you are procrastinating today. It won’t let you in on why you feel restless or angry and don’t even know why OR why you changed your outfit seven times and swear you gained ten pounds, even when the scale assures you it is only one.

What’s the matter? Why the sudden writer’s block?  The lack of creativity? Why aren’t things working the way you planned them on the goal list? Maybe you haven’t even come up with one? Why not? What are you afraid of? Why the anxiety, the sense of self-defeat? Why the little voice in your ear telling you it’s not enough, that you aren’t enough? Why are the things you say not adding up to the things you do?

There are answers to those questions too. Not on the Internet. Not at school. Not in all the self-help books. Not even here. They are in you. Within you are the answers you seek-if you will take the time to be quiet and listen.

Here are a few of the methods that I use to do this:

Prayer/meditation

Find yourself a very quiet place, get comfortable and make sure that you will not be disturbed. Now I am not going to begin to tell anyone how to pray in any specific religious sense here so please interpret my use of the word to mean whatever spiritual power works for you. What I find to be very powerful is to just have an honest unloading of what is going on, along with the problems and questions that need solutions. I actually do this out loud. If that is too uninhibited for you, try it in your mind. Then be silent. Do your best to calm and relax your mind to have no thoughts at all. I find focusing on a candle helps a lot. With practice, it is amazing how much creativity, answers and solutions come through the silence. It might be a good idea to have a pad of paper close by so you can jot down any great brainstorms as the free flow of ideas loosens up.

Journaling/ reading

The written word has a powerful ability to communicate with us and send us messages we hadn’t seen before, even if we have read the same passage over and over again. Anyone who is a frequent Bible or inspirational book reader can speak of specific quotes that have jumped off of pages and were “just what they needed to hear” at the right time. This can be enhanced by combining it with journaling out specific issues and questions, therefore solidifying certain topics firmly in the mind’s focus. Then picking up random reading, the mind seems to focus on just what it needs to bring you the answer that you were looking for. It may seem magical, but it is a way of communicating with your subconscious, (or God or higher power if you like) which has the answers that you need.

Another journaling tool is to just start free-form writing down everything that enters your head, letting creativity flow, and brainstorming solutions. In the privacy of not having to worry about being wrong, your creativity is freed to open up and explore new ideas and solutions. Promise yourself that you will burn or shred the paper so that you are freed from the constraints of worrying about what you write if that is an issue for you.

Nature/exercise

The solitude of running, walking, boating, camping or any way of communing alone with nature is a wonderful way to seek the answers that you need. While it is true that I have heard of athletes who can get “in the zone” at health clubs enough to feel that sense of meditation, I think it is a rare person who has that kind of focus. Out in nature, one can think and soak up the nature, the beauty and the silence and the world and its problems almost naturally take on a different perspective on its own. It is a wonderful way to use the methods of exploring the asking of questions and then waiting in silence for the solutions. The only drawback that I personally have had with this method is when I have had such great ideas, I have become frustrated due to not being able to run and write at the same time and  by the time I get back, I have lost some of them. When I was training for my first marathon, I carried a little portable recorder for a few of the long runs to record ideas that came to me.

Drawing/painting

Art. Although I also paint landscapes and *things*, when I am in the listening mode, I am more apt to put on some very quiet meditative music and doodle. With pencils or paint, I just let whatever is *in*, come out. I am often very surprised to see what lands there. The intent is to have no pre-conceived idea or plan, just let *it* out. The result of a session like this is usually like an awakening, a feeling of an AHA, then peace.

I highly recommend messy art. It is good for the soul.

I would love to hear how other people listen for their “Inside Voice Answers.”  We all have them, sometimes it’s a matter of how often we are checking in.  How often do you check in? How do you get there? I would love to know. Please give me your thoughts and your methods!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14 thoughts on “In the Silence are the Answers…

  1. You mentioned some good ones here but one I use frequently is music, instrumental in order for the lyrics not to interfere with my own thoughts.

  2. I have to agree with Clary here, I get a lot of inspiration from Music, lyrics included! A lot of times I hear a song and it brings up things that I want to write about. My favorite thing I think is when I can write about a lyric from a song and delve into different territories from one tiny line. I’ve done it a couple of times in my blog and plan on doing it more. I also plan on utilizing some of your techniques too!

    Thanks Wendi!

    Thanks to Clary too!

  3. Ah, I agree with everything you’ve said here about these activities that can help us get to know ourselves better. I especially love meditation. I too would add music to the list. That’s a big one for me. I love world music for inspiration and deeper thinking.

    I can’t tell you how many times people have said, “Melissa, you think too much.” LOL.

  4. Clary,

    Oh, How could I hav left out Music! Thanks! yes, music is very inspirational to me. Especially as a writer and to give me a new great idea or burst of creativity. And there is almost always music on when I paint.

    thanks for coming and commenting. I hope you will stay and join in often!

  5. Jenny, I really like the way you are using music to inspire you in your blog. It is coming along nicely. I certianly agree that music has been very inspirational to me as well. One song can bring me right back to a single moment in my life. Nothing else quite has that same power.

  6. Melissa,
    I have my morning meditation time almost every morning. It centers me and gets me going for the day. I think of all them It’s the one I depend on the most.

  7. 🙂 hehe I totally agree on these methods, they are essentially my life!

    sometimes it is good to get back to basics, like what you did when you were a kid, when you painted something for your mom because you wanted to show in a tangible way your love or bought a present for your best friend just because.

    It’s not sappy or cliche to be nice, new discoveries in quantum physics prove that intention affects the outcome. When you get writers block or just feel ho-hum, do something for someone else, just thinking of doing something nice for someone helps. Think about writing a poem for someone specific, not just for the general public which essentially means for yourself.

    That old quote ‘sometimes the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many’ is so true!

  8. I meditate in the morning (now), journal, listen to others, read and listen to music. All of these elements help me to understand me more and more. Thanks for the post Wendi — it was a joy.

  9. Well, I have such difficulty with the whole silence issue. And I am very good at not finding the time to meditate. And, I know that the questions I have currently will best be answered from within, can ONLY be answered from within. Yet still, I stall.

    There are times of inadvertent meditation. Doing the dishes, staring out my back window to the woods behind my house. Ironing, a most cathartic exercise, (Mom used to say she would work out the problems of running a household and raising 5 kids while she ironed), and yes, listening to my Ipod on the train in the morning.

  10. Adrienne,

    I don’r think you are alone on that issue. I know a lot of people ( one very close to me) that turn on musis, or news or tv or SOMETHING the moment their feet hit the floor in the morning and have little to no slience in their entire day.
    I on the other hand work at home in slience all day. No tv, radio, nothing. Just me, my brain and the keyboard. I am an exteme of the other end.

    Oh, and I agree wth your mom about that ironing thing. Lots of mom wisdom there.

  11. Hi Wendi

    I just found your blog from The Growing Life. I couldn’t agree more about the Silence. I’m increasingly feeling that everything can be found in that Silence. I, like you, find that just sitting and meditating can be wonderful for connecting with the Silence. I even like to just sit, drinking a cup of tea, and let my mind do whatever it wants to do while at the same time giving it no real attention. Just observing. I can feel the Silence then.

    Nice blog. I’ll try to check back!….. Tom

  12. Silence? There is just too much going on in the world for me to find the silence. Keyboard tapping, phones beeping n my ear, clunking noise from my car, doorbells ringing, cars honking at you, or the incessant beeping of vehicles in reverse wanting
    you to move, printers signalling yet another request for something, inhuman phone prompts that lead to no one…and when those few moments of silence are upon you, you fall asleep, bored with the nothingness and loneliness.

    Not sure which is worse, the silence or the noise of the world. Each has its own lonlieness.

    Those of you who are able to find the silence that refreshes and reaffirms are luckier than you know. For some of us, that is elusive.

    I hope that the suggestions that all of you have made will help someone find that silence.

  13. Tom’s going to think I’m stalking him. I also found you by way of The Growing Life. By the way for a great read go to Tom’s site. He has a lot of interesting articles on the subject.

    Just like the song says “Silence is golden, but my eyes still see” I also like instrumentals so I don’t get distracted by the words. But then also the words take me back to a special time. So I guess I like both.

    I wish you had email subscription but I will try to check back also.

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