Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Just Be Silent

Funny that I should write on the virtues of silence after such a (relatively) long radio silence here. Just being silent, though, has it's place and it's time.
I have spent a lot of time with my kids lately. A lot of time watching them play, and even more time listening to them play while I do other housework. At first I was just present with them, and I was constantly adding my own commentary to their play - either information I thought was helpful, or critiques (positive and negative) of their play. The more I have watched them, trusted them to their own childhood work, the more I saw how purposefully they did each thing.
With this realization came a modicum of silence. I stopped reminding them of the rules. Then that silence grew as I kept watching. I stopped telling them to do or not do what I perceived to be safe, or acceptable, or age appropriate. I was just a pair of eyes, a keeper of the sacred space around childhood, just as the midwife holds the sacred space around childbirth. It was a realization that spilled over into the rest of my interactions.
Just being silent with others is difficult. Even more so when you feel like you haven't talked to another adult in weeks. But comfortable silence in the company of another can be very gratifying. Even just the awareness of how much I interject into the conversation is powerful. My silence can be the red tent - a ritual space for sharing deepest thoughts - or a bathroom, with lots of space for figurative dumping. Silence is golden - it's fashionable at any occasion, and very, very precious.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Intention has been the missing piece for me - the piece that connects mind to body, that touches my soul into purpose. How funny it is that much of what we all do in a day involves so little intention. I find myself, even now, doing things not because I have the intention to do them, but for a myriad of other reasons. Perhaps I am knitting to avoid doing the dishes, rather than for the joy of the project, and the intention of finishing it. Maybe I am writing because it means I can close the door and make my partner watch our kids for ten minutes. I'm side stepping the intentionality of my actions, instead settling for the void, the negative intention. I should write to write, not with the intention of being in a quiet space for ten minutes! If I need that ten minutes of space, I can take them, no guilt, no need to guilt myself about those 'wasted' ten minutes.

I struggle with this balance. Finding intention in everyday life can be hard - harder still when my phone and tablet are ever-present, waiting to distract me with an intention-numbing game or a ebook that I'm only reading because it was $.99. I struggle with intention in the technologic world I exist in. Perhaps intention and will are related, and I am still willfully dipping my toe in every puddle and pond, seeking exciting new sensation. My concentration too is limited. How can it not be when I must switch from dishes to making a snack, back to dishes, check on a boo-boo.

The intention of reading the book (this one cost $7.99 thank you!) is lost when I must do it in 1.6 minute stints between chores or summons. And yet, perhaps the persistence of that action fertilizes the intention, allows it to flourish in the rocky crags of child rearing. Perhaps intention just evolves, mutates into something smaller, more hardy - a bonsai tree  - that can be moved about, set down, picked up. Probably even occasionally dropped.