Cultivating Silence

I love silence. It’s a rare and beautiful thing. Silence eludes me at times but is easily cultivated once I let go enough to let it wander free. I love drifting through my silenced house with nothing to do. It’s these empty spans of nothingness that feed my soul in a profound way. I put on silence like an old coat, one that holds me close with its friendly warmth. I like the way silence buffers away the complicated storm swept world as it soothes my mind into quiet order.

In those rare moments when silence is accompanied by nothing to do I invariably finger a book I have no intention of reading or better still I pet my cat and break silence into a raucous flow of vibrational joy. My cats purr is deep and throaty. It is a cultivated purr won from silence, the silence of never having known love. That was not a nice silence. My cat has the purr of a feral cat dumped high on a hill top farm. It is the purr of courage which sings, “I dared to trust and in trust found love.”

Sometimes in my silence I contemplate at my toes. I have brave toes. I like to think of all the places my toes have led me. To the crib where my baby boy slept, to the door of my mother’s house, to the airport where together, toes and I boarded a plane. Finally I like to think of the moment my toes stepped to the top of Wearyall Hill. In this place the silence listens, builds and grows into a sort of spiritual wonder I can scarce find words to express.

One of the sweetest silences I know is barn silence. That’s right…barn silence. I have known barns filled with the slow breaths of big horses and the silent swoop of swallow’s wings. I have cupped my hands to catch gold bright dust particles suspended for a moment in the gleaming perfection of sunset; my horses quietly chewing in their darkening stalls. Barn silence is the best silence because it is filled with contentment. It whispers, well done, everyone is stalled, blanketed, fed, happy and safe. You’ve done your job, your free to find your bed but linger a while because contentment like this only comes to rose sniffers, day dreamers and those who understand and love the richness that comes with the knowledge that all is right with the world.

Silence gives rise to contemplation, the birthplace of epic daydreams. Epic daydreams become manuscripts upon which I labor hour after hour day after day. I nestle down happy with the certainty of my well spun plot, the depth of my characters,  enjoying the peace of knowing that everything will end as I wish it. What if life could be as conveniently orchestrated?

In Silence I disconnect from the global mind, allowing myself to once again become unique to my surroundings. In this great disconnect, I go off-line into silence and am again the girl I was, quiet and shy, no longer forced to brave a world which feels too big.

In silence I hear my heartbeat. In silence I’m glad I’m alive. In silence I am able to set aside my humanity, drink in the sublime and let go of all the petty rages which injure only me. In silence I am home, I am free and I am at peace because silence asks for nothing. It simply gives me space to be.

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Boosting your Cognitive Creativity

I’m an active writer. I write every day and when I’m not writing I’m thinking about writing. I’ve found however that my mind is never so clearly creative as when I’m out walking in my neighborhood. It’s during these walks that my characters find their true voice, my scenes gain in depth and color and my plot takes on a shape which far exceeds the bare bones structure I was originally given to work in. So what is it that is so powerful about walking? Is it the increase in oxygen to the brain? Is it the stimulation of the nervous system? In 1997 the British Journal of Sports Medicine reported that a group of scientists had proven that cardiovascular exercise improves creativity independent of mood. Whether walking, dancing or running you are not only improving your body, building a stronger heart and overall strength, but you are also unleashing the cognitive creativity in your brain.

 
I propose that when you are feeling creatively blocked go for a walk, dance, or do any type of cardo-exercise to open your mind beyond its current creative level. Let go of your worries, release all the limitations you or others have placed on you. Breathe deeply and focus inwardly on the world which you alone can create. Whether you compose music, prose or paintings there is a reason why you were put on this planet. There is a reason why your individual art is so very important to the world. The reason is that only you can see and create what is being expressed within your heart and mind.

 
Another exercise I use to open my mind creatively is prayer or deep meditation. Going close to the source which created me and asking for guidance is a powerful way to open the mind and heart to new thoughts and ideas. This very grounding and liberating practice has helped shape whole sections of my books which had before given me trouble. Regardless of your beliefs the simple act of sitting silently with the source or deity you hold dear can work miracles in your mental makeup. There is limitless possibility in silence, in being present in the moment, in listening to that creative well spring from which all things are nourished.

You are a sacred being and your words, ideas, and creative expression are as important as the house which shelters you and the good food you eat for without human creativity and expression we could not relate to one another on a deeper level and without relationship one cannot expand and evolve. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” Insignificants is relative…creativity is imperative…go forth and create.