Finding the quiet

Published on:
July 23, 2020

Quiet. It's so elusive these days. Our minds are constantly spinning. To begin with, we all seem to be busier than before. Plus, now that everyone is remote, we're working hard to over-communicate and poring over implied meaning in sentence fragments and emoticons. Add to this stew of disquiet events in the world around us and happenings in our own household. Maybe we’d have some luck finding inner quiet if we could only find a small place of quiet for ourselves.

People inside. People outside. A grass trimmer. A car alarm. A baby. Dogs. Birds. You know the score. To shelter in place in a city means people are sheltering in place all around you. Hardly anyone is at the office. Hardly anyone is on vacation. We've learned a lot more about our neighbors than we ever wanted to know and I’m sure the feeling is mutual (in my defense, I grew up in Robert Frost country where good fences make good neighbors). But I digress. The question is how do we find a quiet place for a quiet moment — or (let’s be greedy in this) several of them?

One tactic is to hunker down in a secluded place. In my house, I have to seek out places where I know no one else will be — a kid’s bedroom (my wife has claimed ours), the creepy basement or sometimes the car. I know someone who goes out to the apartment of a friend, who is at home with her family. Before the weather turned nice, a park was a good bet. Is it wrong of me to pray for rain?!

You could flip the equation and start with inner peace. There are some disciplines like yoga that push the practitioner to shrug off the distractions of the world and focus inwardly. For those of us for whom that is a tall order, there’s always drowning out the noise. In my undisturbed travel kit, I’ve rediscovered my noise-cancelling headphones. You could also put on some background noise or better yet, music. I’ve often found serenity with great jazz in the background.

If you have any other ideas to eke out quiet time, please share them by replying to this email. You can find more tips for making the most of your time at home here.

Note that Washington's Secretary of State's office will be closed on Fridays at least through August 7th and will process no work on those days.

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