Thursday, 13 October 2011


Generally, I'm not a big fan of silence.  It gives too much sound-room for the unwanted voices in the back of my head to vocalise their opinions.  To influence mine.  Usually, when faced with a long (or even short) period of silence I fill it as effectively as I can: loud music being my first choice.  When I'm at home on my own I've usually got the stereo turned up high enough to annoy the neighbours - the genre doesn't really matter, it's the volume that's important.  I need to be confident that whatever room of the house I happen to walk into, the music will still be loud enough to drown out anything else.  It does have the downside of my having to practically cover my ears when walking past the stereo, but in the absence of a through-house speaker system it works for me.

Sometimes though, I actively seek out silence.  I go for long walks away from people, traffic, distractions - deliberately giving all the unwanted thoughts room to breath.  Let them all out.  Organize/file/discard them.  I can't explain why I need to do that: why I let them build up rather than having some sort of continuous filter system going.  All I know is that it’s taken me twenty seven years to find a system that at least sort-of works.  Sometimes a quick half-hour walk does the trick; sometimes it takes a few consecutive mornings of three-hour walking to sort things out.  But even when it is slow to take effect, at least I’ve distanced myself from other people (thus preventing them being subjected to my mood) and the walk does me good physically! 

This afternoon I experienced a different type of silence.  A very unnatural but oh, so glorious silence.  The kids and I had been round a friend’s house after school and on the way home both of them were whinging rather loudly.  There was no real reason for it, they were just over-tired and not relishing the incredibly long (apparently!) walk home.  So I challenged them to see if they could get all the way home without saying another word.  If they could, they would be allowed a sweet from the treat-box.  Bribery.  Dubious means of child-control - but so worth it! 

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