“Listen to your own voice, your own soul…too many people listen to the noise of the world, instead of themselves.” -Leon Brown
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines quietude as “the state of being quiet or calm.” I can’t conceive of a more precious condition to achieve…quietude being my ultimate goal. In this desirable state, I am able to keep my inner circle nearby yet securely locked within electronic media. As a ‘mocial butterfly’ more or less, I can engage with my friends and family any time of the day or night and cherish all of the babes and little children and even follow them as they grow. Yes, I have all of this and don’t even need to step outside, tidy my house or make them a cup of tea or coffee to enjoy their presence. Seriously, for me this is the best of all worlds. I have choices…live life through this perspective or venture out to savor the real deal. I do both but invariably retreat to my cave of quietude.
Long ago, I lived an activity filled and rather noisy life. I like to think that I tried it all but did it with far more ease and enterprise than I could ever muster up today. By this I mean that I now get to choose what and with whom I wish to become involved with—activities, associates and my friends. Oh yes, it is so much better this way for me.
It wasn’t easy getting to this juncture in my life. The transition came none too soon and was imperfect at best. Looking back, I seemed to have always experienced a longing for peace and solitude but rarely had the opportunity to actualize it. Life was too busy, hectic and threw too many curve balls to let me relax, slow down and smell the roses. Add families, numerous career moves, illnesses, divorces…yes there were two…and that yearning for quietude continued to grow ever stronger.
Now, on a good day, reflecting on pleasant memories, maintaining my digital communication or even writing are among the choices I make as the mood moves me. Resurrecting unpleasant events is not my favorite thing to do but when I must, it is most satisfying to recall the positive aspects such as lessons learned and the good people who were part of the story. For instance, just recently, I reflected on my second divorce, far more painful than the first, though when examined through a fresh set of lenses, I now consider that whole ordeal to have been a remarkable learning experience and one that set me on the path to becoming a self-sufficient and self-actualized individual. So I slid out my keyboard and set about describing some fulfilling experiences that my ex and I shared together. He gets full credit for contributing a wonderful dimension to my life experience. This is what I wrote:
Travel with me to Saskatchewan where you can see animals in herds for miles across the prairies. And I do mean ‘see’ for miles because the land is so flat. A trained eye will recognize them at a distance by their shape and form. I remember goose hunting there in October one year when the snow and freezing temps came early. Elk were out in great numbers while we wore our eider down snow suits and covered up with white bed sheets so as not to be spotted by low flying geese in search of grain stubble to feed upon. Now that was a memorable vacation.
Back home, my ex was a deputy conservation officer in his spare time. We built our house on the edge of the deer run about 60 miles north of the city. Deer would often leap the boundary and show up in my back yard, enabling me to enjoy my morning coffee while observing them from my breakfast nook.
Yes, I recall so well the many times that he and I ventured out to live life to the fullest…living on our boat, both flat line and sport fishing, travelling for months on end and experiencing every square inch of the east coast from New Hampshire to Key West and back up the sunshine coast, through the panhandle and over to Brownsville, Texas. Such was life with this outdoorsman who shared my need for adventure for a brief and important period in my life.
A lot of miles went into that two month trip and the good memories will always outweigh the sadness of breaking away from it all.
Moving forward, I responded to my growing yen for a busier way of life and pursued my career in marketing communications and services. I discovered my love of writing and dreamed about doing it someday for my own pleasure when time and solitude would permit. It would be fifteen years of exciting growth, travel and skills development before that dream would finally become a reality. Those were wonderful years but in my mind, I had done it all…at least all I wanted or felt the need to do.
In the end, that quiet life presented itself in just the right way and at the right time. I may have retired in the conventional sense but in my heart and soul, quietude has permitted me to retread. As Stephen Hawking once said, “Quiet people have the loudest minds. When that happens, writing is the perfect way to quiet it down!
Meaningful quotes that reflect a quiet state of mind…
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” -Douglas Adams
“To create one’s own world takes courage.” -Georgia O’Keeffe
“The only journey is the one within.” -Rainer Maria Rilke
“Be silent, or say something better than silence.” –Pythagoras
“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” -Guillaume Apollinaire
“You need not leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. You need not even listen, simply wait, just learn to become quiet, and still, and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice; it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” –Kafka
“Silence is the mother of truth.” -Benjamin Disraeli
Linda Hales is retired and devotes her time to writing in various genres for both freelance and pleasure. Her greatest passion is writing motivational stories for young children. Linda has two Sunshine books, an Activity Story Book and Andy-Roo which was recently awarded the 2013 Kart Kids Book List award for Creative Storytelling. Learn more about Linda and her books at:
All books are available on Amazon
And Clayton Bye’s Online Store
© Linda Hales 2013