I live in a town (Hollywood) of fast-talkers. Talk, talk, talk.
There’s usually a lot less to back up the words the more talking happens.
I happen to gravitate toward silent people. I become silent in a group, maybe as a reaction to the lunacy of fast-talkers all around me.
Silence can be your superpower.
Staying mindfully quiet can be the fastest track to self-awareness and self-actualized awesomeness!
(Robert Ryman from Saatchi… the art of silent)
Why do so many of us need to fill so much space with stuff?
Why is it hard to stop talking?
I was recently confronted by some very interesting neighbors. They had formed opinions about me (was it the sage burning? the constant packages delivered to my door?) and decided that the best way to handle their judgements of me would be to scream, call me horrifying curse words and all sorts of other colorful stuff.
My first instinct was to scream back. I mean, I had no idea that seemingly normal – if not rather introverted- people could do this random psycho hate stuff. I didn’t see it coming. But once I saw it… well… I saw it!
Instead I was silent.
After all, they weren’t asking questions, they were telling me about me. About how crazy I am, how much they hate me… There was really nothing being asked of me at all. It was all just this verbal barage of words that didn’t stop coming.
I was silent.
The silence escalated the anger coming at me to a fever pitch.
I sweep our steps and manage the junk mail. I spend all day pretty much quiet. I don’t even see them.
As the anger raised, I stayed silent.
This rage filled lady imploded.
I went back inside my home and felt fine. I mean, it was really weird, but I didn’t drop into someone else’s issues and anger that had nothing to do with me.
I was startled but that was it.
If I got angry, I would have fallen to the level of unhinged.
Sometimes it’s better to be totally silent. It’s also, I’ve seen, really helpful to be more silent than loud in most situations.
Silence isn’t weak.
Superheroes arern’t known for monologues. They are largely silent, they listen and they take action.
A little more silence is actually an amazing way to grow, whether or not you’re confronted by a wound-up delusional person today or lovely people who are full of joy and peace.
Though, I bet your joy and peace friends aren’t eager to fill space with any words they can grab at randomly.
If you want to get to the top of this pyramid of Self-Actualization, the best way to get there is to stay awake and be ready to keep growing. It’s hard to do that if you’re babbling to fill in space.
We’ve all done it. Silence can be scary if you aren’t used to it.
Those words, though, become more powerful if there’s clear, grounded intention behind them.
In Psychology Today’s The Power Of Silence by Bob Edelstein, the way that silence can transform life is explored beautifully:
“Paying attention to the silence as the space between our verbal exchanges allows the meaning of these exchanges to be assimilated into our psyches and from that place of depth, our creative engagement naturally flows. Creative engagement with our internal processes allows us to discover more of who we are, to take in previously hidden aspects of ourselves, and to reconfigure ourselves, if we so choose. This is what allows us to be more deeply authentic in the present moment. By being more authentic, we become more self-actualized and can impact our world in powerful ways.”
Really cool perspective.
Makes you think.
When are you most apt to fill in the spaces between things with words?
I do it when I’m tired, hungry or scared.
That’s when I want to talk, talk, talk without really listening.
Do you talk up a storm when you’re nervous, have a few extra glasses of wine, feel guilty about something… or you aren’t sure what to do…?
Whatever propels you to keep over-talking, it seems that the best way beyond the awkward situation is to stay more silent.
We overwork our brains. Meanwhile, the rest of our body, soul and our space all need attention.
It might feel weird, deeply uncomfortable or otherwise foreign… but if you stick with it, you’ll see the magnetic, illunimating magic of empty space. And slence.
If you need more silence, try a day of quiet. Or a morning of quiet. Or quiet breaks.
Don’t even fill in space with music or books.
Eliminate words for a while.
Shut off the phone.
Walk, hike, sleep, cook, make art, hug animals, play games…
The more you clear out the extra words, the more you create room to grow…!
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