A recent post on FastCompany.com asserted that the key to better writing is to discard cliches. “The more familiar a term or phrase is, the more likely we are to skip over it when we read…Write like you speak.”
And how do we speak? Are you sure we don’t say the same things over and over again, to the point of being tuned out by those closest to us?
I can’t tell you how many times a day I say something to my kids and they just don’t hear me – or don’t choose to hear me. Make your bed, put away your clothes, brush your teeth, clear your plate.
It’s boring, even to me. But necessary.
Or is it?
I’ve begun to wonder if we are engaging in work – and even a conversation guiding our children or cleaning our house is work – that truly elevates us. Or does it bring us down?
Yes, this stuff is necessary and we have to do it. But are we letting it replace unique content and genuine connection? Are we not even striving for high ideals and inspired words, as we grab the easiest, most familiar phrases to fill our days with?
I traveled home from India on three planes by myself so there was very little conversation. I didn’t mind a bit. I read, I slept, I watched movies and TV shows, I wrote in my journal. I ate in silence. I contemplated in silence. I didn’t mind the silence. I embraced it.
And when I returned, I jumped right into life with family, life with spouse, life with colleagues, life with friends. I love them all, don’t get me wrong. But I’m starting to miss the silence.
Because I am not taking charge enough to build silence into my day.
A swami that I am reading, a great spiritual leader from Rishikesh, India, whose book is titled simply Peace, says the key to elevation is meditation, non-reaction and silent time every day. Every Day.
I meditate already. I try very hard not to react (though I don’t always succeed).
I’m not sure I ever have silent time on purpose.
So maybe that’s the missing key, the opportunity, however brief, to just BE. To notice the sounds around you, to breathe in the air.
When I walk in the woods or hike in the mountains, I am overcome, filled to bursting, with the beauty and the wonder and the freshness and the life going on around me. I have no need to say anything in those instances – I just notice and take it all in and feel so much better, healthier, more alive for being there.
I wonder if daily silence can have that effect on my routine life?
When I think about everything that swirls around me…a cousin had a baby, another cousin has a birthday, my brother-in-law has a birthday, my son has a birthday, a Jewish holiday happens, kids have half days, no school, conferences, kids have homework that’s delayed, the driveway paint is peeling (we didn’t even know it was painted!), the day gets warm and then it falls cold again, I fell on the ice, I picked myself up, the roast is bubbling in the crock pot for dinner, the fridge is filled with leftovers that I hate to discard but don’t want to eat.
It goes on and on.
It seems that silence is the key to peace. None of this stuff matters even a little bit. It’s all passing. Here today, gone tomorrow.
The key is to connect with the inner part of ourselves so that we know what truth is. And you won’t find that rushing on the road to get somewhere you believe you need to be.