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Article Title:
Turning Down SocietyÂ’s Volume

Article Description:
So you're tired of all of the world's noise spinning around you. 
Or is it spinning you around?  But chances are that somewhere 
inside, you love the exciting pace.  You might even find yourself 
uncomfortable with unexpected silence.  Maybe your real dilemma 
is that you find it difficult to choose silence.

Additional Article Information:
946 Words; formatted to 65 Characters per Line
Distribution Date and Time: Wed Mar 22 02:01:28 EST 2006

Written By:     Theresa Gabriel
Copyright:      2006
Contact Email:  mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]

Article URL: 

For more free-reprint articles by this Author, please visit:


Turning Down SocietyÂ’s Volume
Copyright © 2006 Theresa Gabriel
Women's Expert Retreat Guide and Life Coach

So you're tired of all of the world's noise spinning around you. 
Or is it spinning you around?  But chances are that somewhere 
inside, you love the exciting pace.  You might even find yourself 
uncomfortable with unexpected silence.  Maybe your real dilemma 
is that you find it difficult to choose silence.

I Can't Hear Myself Think!

Do you remember those little square slide puzzles?  You move 
around the 15 tiles until you can see the picture or put the 
numbers in order.  The one empty space is the most important part 
of the puzzle.  If there were no empty space, then it'd be 
impossible to move the tiles.  Your brain is like that.  If you 
don't leave any empty time and space for your brain to work, 
it'll never be able to figure anything out.

Look at it another way.  When we think, our brain is working. 
It's the critical, linear, concrete thinking side of our brain 
that is productive.  But when it appears that our brain is doing 
nothing, it is actually very busy.  This is when the creative, 
spiritual, conceptual thinking side finally has a chance to work. 
Let us overcome the false belief that leisure is wasteful and 
unproductive.  A study showed that students sleeping more than 
eight hours per night learn better than those sleeping less.  So 
much for last-minute cramming!

Grab the Volume by the Knob!

Esther de Waal, who writes about spiritual attentiveness, once 
said "In the complex of my daily schedule, with all its demands, 
I am reminded that it is important, and more than that, 
fundamental and essential, to keep open space in my heart.  This 
means that in spite of all the demands, the distractions and the 
difficulties that besiege my time, I shall try to carry a heart 
of stillness."  It's time to turn away from all of the noise. 
Noise only helps us avoid facing ourselves.

I have been practicing this internal quietness that helps keep 
out the noise.  These practices have been the most helpful: 

 - Keep the radio off while getting ready for work in the 
   morning, and when driving to and from work.
 - Don't watch T.V. except when I plan to.
 - Walk every day, without a cell phone and without 'tunes.'
 - Pause between activities or parts of my day for just a moment 
   of silence.
 - Look people in the eyes when I talk or listen to them.

Left with Ringing Ears

Your 'self' will emerge through the noise. Welcome it!  To 
continue living as your 'self' and not for that noisy world, 
you're going to have to make some of your own rules for life that 
you can lean on when uncertainty arises.  I've made lots of my 
own rules, and I live by them: 

- Eat as much healthy stuff as I want (I.e. apples, orange juice, 
- Don't wait to rest.  It's better to rest when I'm tired than 
  when I'm sick.
- Don't open junk mail.
- Don't watch scary movies.
- Walk every day.

Search for Good Noise

It's important to surround yourself with good input, including 
good friends and good reading.  If you must listen to the radio – 
on long driving trips for example – be choosy about what you 
listen to. Consider books on tape over high-emotion talk-radio 
shows. Listen to CD music that inspires you instead of talkative 
morning show personalities.

It's your life.  You are the only one who can decide to use your 
environment or allow it to direct your life. Oftentimes, the 
illusive happiness that we seek is one wise choice away.  It's 
your life.  Start acting like it.

Quotes to Ponder "Some of us need to discover that we will not 
begin to live more fully until we have the courage to do and see 
and taste and experience much less than usual . . .  There are 
times, then, when in order to keep ourselves in existence at all 
we simply have to sit back for a while and do nothing.  And for a 
woman who has let herself be drawn completely out of herself by 
her activity, nothing is more difficult than to sit still and 
rest, doing nothing at all.  The very act of resting is the 
hardest and the most courageous act she can perform."  Thomas 

"To do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world, 
the most difficult and the most intellectual."  Oscar Wilde

"Muddy water, let to stand, becomes clear.  When your thinking is 
muddled, sit still.  Your mind will automatically settle down." 
The Tao Te Ching

"Be still and know that I am God."  Psalm 46 

Questions to Consider

 * What can remind me to pause?
 * What would I gain from taking time to pause?
 * What might I be giving up if I don't pause?
 * Do I look my friends/children/spouse in the eyes when I 
   talk with them?
 * Can I stop this exact moment to pause and breathe – for 
   just a second?
 * What rules would I like to make for myself?
 * What 'stuff' do I want to keep out of my brain?  How can 
   I do that?
 * What input do I want my brain to have greater access to?  
   How can I do that?

Resources In Praise of Slowness, Carl Honoré.  2004.  ISBN-13: 
978-0-06075051-0.  ISBN-10: 0-06-075051-0

Lost in Wonder:  The Art of Spiritual Attentiveness, Esther de 
Waal  2003.

Moving in the Spirit, Richard Hauser, S.J.  1986.  ISBN 0-8091-

New Seeds of Contemplation, Thomas Merton.  1961.  ISBN 0-8112-

Reviving Ophelia, Mary Pipher, Ph.D.  1994.  ISBN 0-399-13944-3

Toxic Success, Paul Pearsall, Ph.D.  2002.  ISBN 1-930722-09-5

Paths began to beckon Theresa when she was 12, visiting the 
Bridger Wilderness in Wyoming. Walking, dancing, and movement 
are a part of her, nourished by John Denver's musical challenge 
for her to "fly." She has walked up mountains and through forests 
in Wyoming, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. She's lived in 
Germany and has traveled extensively in Europe, even leading 
a pilgrimage. Her recent walks in the Grand Canyon and Alaska 
inspired her to begin her dream business of "walking with women." 
Learn more about Theresa Gabriel and her Life Discovery Tours at 
her web site. Women Summit LLC



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