Finding Sanity in Silence

This was supposed to be a simpler time. Computers and time-saving devices would make life easier. Not so. We’re inundated with advertising, news stories, social media, buy this buy that – it’s all noise. It’s enough to make us crawl back into bed and pull the covers up.

I just returned from a speaking trip to Singapore and Hawaii. My internal time clock is cross-eyed. After 68 hours “enroute” (I counted) my brain is reeling with two weeks of mail, email, and chores piled up on my desk. “And,” I sternly scold myself, “I’m behind on Twitter,, and my newsletter!”

It’s easy to clear the decks and sort things out. To hunker down and “git’er done!” But that’s not enough. What did we do before all this input? How can we get away from it and find time to think?

Where do you go for silence? For meditation? How do you integrate all you read and hear? How do you decide what’s real, what’s hype, what matters?

I stumbled on my answer in the middle of the noise. On Twitter someone posted an article by George Michelsen Foy on Silence! It made me stop and ask myself some questions.

When did I stop dedicating part of my days to silence? When the kids came? When the business heated up? When the economy tanked? When social media got exciting? As a dedicated info-junkie, I know I spend far too much time searching the internet. it’s time to scale back.

There is wisdom in our ancient texts. “And on the 7th day He rested” is not necessarily a geological or historical comment. The advice ringing down through the ages is to STOP. “Resting” in 21st century terms means turn off the TV, radio, computer, iPod, iPad, cell phone, stereo, DVD ~ and go do NOTHING. Yes. NOTHING.

Activity is not necessarily always better. We have a 4 day weekend in front of us. Will you take time for YOU and allow yourself to sit in silence and just BE?

Are you willing to go inside? Inside your heart, inside your mind? Can you quiet the external noise and think about what you are thinking about? Pay attention to the stress in your body, mind, and soul. Come home.

In that silence, ask what you need to do to get back to the things that matter. Set aside everyone else’s good advice and ask for yourself. What works for me? What is my best course of action now? What discipline and what steps will take me where I need and want to go? Then do that. Put small reminders around to keep you on track. Make agreements with a few friends to keep you focused.

When you are successful, you are a beacon for others. When you stand for your beliefs and are unafraid in expressing them, you help us all find our way. When you are confident and clear, you help clarify for all. We are in this together, and we can only find our way when we occasionally rest and let our brains catch up.

Now, go take a brain break and remember to BREATHE!

All the best,


© 2010 Beth Terry Seminars, Inc. All Rights Reserved

About Beth Terry

Beth Terry, CSP, is a speaker, coach, writer and cowgirl. Her audiences are from around the world: she has spoken to almost half a million people in 6 countries. Her passion is watching the "popcorn popper" go off in people's heads when they 'get it.'

12 Replies to “Finding Sanity in Silence”

  1. Hi Beth,

    I stumbled across your blog, quite by accident, and then realized this accidental stumble was just what I needed to hear – (Yet I must I didn’t WANT to hear it dagnabit!!) 😀

    Wise words, which I shall ponder more in the quiet, after signing off. I have a feeling I’m going to find myself back to read more.


    • Hi Sue – thanks for finding it. You must have needed it, I’m still editing! That was a draft published. Come back and read it. Just fixed the link for the article in Psychology Today also. So you can go check that out. All the best!

  2. Hi Beth,

    Oh Blast!! That’s makes TWO blogs I’m feeling compelled to keep up on… both yours and the article you referred to is interesting stuff. At the moment, my brain is to tired to process it all so I’ve bookmarked it to go back to read when I’m not yawning and in need of sleep.
    I too am a bit of an info junkie…. lol

    It’s funny at one time I HAD to have noise, even to sleep…. These days I rather relish the quiet as much as I possibly can living in an apartment with neighbors who must have wonderful sound systems…. On the other hand I’ve found the computer… and phones, can cause just as much “noise” – or distractions from focusing on the internal stuff.

    Sometimes things like this trigger the memory of a song…. right now I’m humming “Silence is golden, GOLDEN” – and that’s all I remember… Ordinarilly, I would head over to YouTube for a listen, but tonite, I shall take some wise advice… and step away from the computer, and pull the blankets over my head!! 🙂 lol

    Thanks for posting such a thought provoking blog.

    • Sue – you are welcome. Don’t worry, I’m not a daily poster. I’ve decided to post when I feel the urge. Sometimes that means every day, other times it means once or twice a month. There’s enough stuff out there…
      LOL – sometimes I hear that in my head. So I just do it.
      Sleep well, sleep silent.

  3. Hi Beth,

    I completed my silent experiment shortly after waking up. Can I just tell you, it’s very hard to Sit and just be, with all the external things OFF…. Several times I wanted to jump out of my chair and do SOMETHING, get a glass of water, a book, anything to find a focus other than my own internal thoughts..

    I think the one thing that I got from today’s silence at least was a focal point. I just sat, and thought about things I’d like to do – and while these thoughts arose, I was itching to get out of my chair and get started. In a way, it energized me….

    I was tempted to set a timer, but didn’t… (it would have entailed getting out of my chair!) I think I might have spent more than just the 10 minutes that I’d chosen to just BE in that chair. And as much as I itched to move, I was DETERMINED to not watch the clock, not do ANYTHING….

    The funniest part was when I thought If I had a piece of paper, and a pen, I could write down where my thoughts are. But again, realized, I would then be doing SOMETHING, when the idea is to do NOTHING!

    At work, I designed and lead a group called “Positively You”. Yesterday, the topic I chose was Determination. Your Post inspired me, to write a piece which I’ll post on my blog as soon as I’m done here. All in attendance voted unanimously to spend the last few minutes of group in silence vs doing something silly.

    I’m looking forward to what comes of tommorows experiment. 🙂

    Now I think I might turn on some peppy music and tackle those things I’d like to accomplish today! After I post my blog, and response to the blogger who initiated this lovely experiment!

  4. Pingback: Silence is Golden « A Journey of Sonshine, Silliness, & Legends

  5. On this Memorial Day, I’ve made some quiet time for personal reflections. I’ve had too little “silence”, but I’ve taken time to think about “silent time” since reading your recent blog post. You make some excellent points – great advice! Classical music is one of my modes that enables me to “move into silence mode.” It happens too little and too infrequent. My reflections today have helped, as your post did also.

    Thank you for sharing – God Bless and Have a Wonderful Week!

  6. Beth, don’t you find it’s easier to talk to yourself than to follow your own advice? 🙁 I always tell myself to take time for moi. To relax, to chill, to be outside. Other than my early morning tennis workout, I am glued to my computer the rest of the day wondering where the time went.

    Unless I am seeing a local client or traveling for a speaking engagement, I am undoubtedly ONLINE. It’s a good thing that I love what I do. 🙂

    • Hi Elaine – I subscribe to that old saying that “We teach what we need to learn.” I write these things to remind ME to take time off. It’s been exhilarating to give myself permission to sit on the back patio and just stare at the birds, or sit quietly in the morning and say my gratitudes. This has been a tough couple of years for me. The Silence has been what has often saved me. It allows me to get back to ME, and to realize that most of the craziness will work itself out.

      That being said, I am an information junkie. And I think the internet is such a godsend. But it can also be a drain. So, I do turn it off, and I’m taking some deliberate time away from it next week. Somehow we get it all done … and somehow the world goes on even if we don’t get it done… that’s perhaps the most humbling realization of all.


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