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.