Quiet is not a commodity I find in abundance. There is noise all around. Literal noise of those I live with, work with, and play with, as well as figurative noise found in media (social or otherwise). Screens and tablets, episodes and updates, comments and threads. Endless dings and alerts await me around every corner. Flashes of sound, light, and other stimuli lurk at every turn.
The Quiet is where I find a change of scenery, a respite, something refreshing with which to occupy myself as a means to cultivate creativity. The Quiet is where I lean into a redundant, repetitive flow of activity that keeps at bay, if even for a few minutes, the chatter and clutter churning around me on a tireless loop.
Folding a pile of dish towels, fresh from the dryer. Chopping vegetables while preparing ingredients for dinner. Tying twine around favors for a party. All of these, admittedly mindless tasks, provide the perfect place for The Quiet. The rhythm of mindless minutia is exactly where I find my needed dose of The Quiet. Rarely free from interruption (children, spouse, calls, appointments), it is beneficial even in a less than ideal setting. The Quiet is so practical in nature it cannot be misinterpreted as idle or lazy. The dish towels get folded. The vegetables get chopped. The twine gets tied. Yet, The Quiet is a where my mind finds space to come to life.
I would not categorize The Quiet as rest. I am active in The Quiet, intentional, working toward accomplishing a goal. The Quiet is where I say to my hands, “Here, go make good use of yourself and chop the onions,” and then turn to my mind and say, “She’s occupied for a while. Now’s your chance.” I make room for The Quiet, and then get out of the way.
When The Quiet settles in, the real magic begins. My Creative Director, kept at bay by nonstop noise, finally feels free to step into the foreground, and she begins to come to life. She looks at unsolved challenges with a new angle, casting light on solutions I never thought to consider. She proposes grand ideas, unhindered by convention or obligation. She dreams big dreams with vision and ambition. The Quiet is her stage, and I love to watch what she can create.
To allow space for The Quiet is tough work. Who has the time? Not me. Not you. And yet, I would venture to guess we all have tasks associated with the details of our particular role (shop owner, mother, caregiver, agent, teacher, administrator) that are dull and monotonous. This is a perfect gift of provision. Bonus points if these tasks are repetitive in nature.
Instead of grumbling when faced with a dishwasher to empty, I make time for The Quiet and methodically put the dishes away. Instead of avoiding the need to press the napkins, I set up the board, plug in the iron, and relax into The Quiet to see what will surface. Even the well-worn routes to and from work or school or soccer can shift from dull and depressing to inspirational and unexpected. Turn off the radio, settle in, and discover what’s waiting to unfold. The Quiet rarely disappoints.