Monthly Mantra: September 2020

September 1, 2020

What I remember most about going over to my cousins’ house when I was young was how noisy it was. How the honking shrieks of Disney movies would ricochet through the rooms at seemingly all hours of the day. Occasionally, my cousins would abandon the movies midway through; Aladdin or Ursula bellowing on in the empty room. With no one watching, the characters’ voices seemed even louder.

Coming from Casa Kumbaya essentially, the noise was bothersome for me. Like a fly that was constantly changing its pitch and buzzing right next to my ear. The thing about noise is that you don’t realize how truly obnoxious it is until it stops. And so the silence of the air outside their house always hit differently.

The noise level of the world in 2020 makes that cacophony of animated characters seem about as distracting as the sound of butterflies flapping their wings.

The barrage of information, opinion, and advice coming at us from every direction has been cranked up to assault-level volume. The feeds update faster than you can follow, the news outlets cycle from one crisis to the next more horrifying one, the life coaches get louder and bouncier, and, in videos, point in various directions to text bubbles that appear and disappear too quickly to read.

It’s no wonder why hordes of people are suffering from crippling anxiety, why wounded women and men are screaming about their personal freedoms in groceries stores across the country, why people walk around all day long feeling guilt and shame and fear.

The noise is earsplitting. Our tolerance for it is exhausted from the time we open our eyes in the morning. Our ears are ringing. Our minds are full of thoughts that aren’t our own, preoccupied with stories we read we can’t or haven’t validated, caught up in the drama of strangers.

We’ve gotten so accustomed to the noise that we’ve forgotten what quiet feels like. How it opens up a space inside your psyche where new thoughts bloom.

Quiet is the antidote to chaos, gossip and unsubstantiated claims. Quiet is how we restore ourselves and our ability to recognize noise for what it is. Noise may be the default, but quiet is the requisite.

Meditate. Write. Exercise. Unfollow. Block. Walk. These are some of the ways a sane person quiets the noise in their lives.

The method is up to you. What matters is that you give yourself a chunk of time during which you are present to the truth of your body and the grandeur of your being. That’s how you quiet the noise.

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