I recently took a day of silence. I wanted to share the experience I had.
On Wednesday, this week I decided that I was going to spend the day in silence in order to be more intentional about the things that I say for Lent. I’ve been discovering the art of just shutting up sometimes. Now if you don’t know me, I have a very commanding personality. I would consider myself very outwardly based on the fact that I am a witty person. Enough with that soapbox. Anyways, I was silent for the whole day. I did have some exceptions, if communications was absolutely necessary, such as class or something rather, I would speak. However anytime I would be interacting with people voluntarily or even involuntarily at times, I would not speak. I didn’t tell people this beforehand, and I had a pen and paper just in case.
While the pen and paper proved useful, my timing was all off. I was writing down jokes to attribute to the conversation well after the conversation had moved on. This was really hard to sit in on conversations and legitimately not be able to contribute anything at all. It was hard. It was challenging. However I learned so many things in that 24 hour period that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.
One of the coolest things was when I realized I had left my journal in the auditorium. I stood in my room and wanted to yell something inexplicably inappropriate so badly, but I wouldn’t allow myself, even when nobody was around. In doing this I immediately became calm. It was incredible.
I learned the art of just shutting up sometimes. I would recommend it for anybody who wants to learn patience, the discipline of silence and humility. I was humbled time and time again. Almost to the point where I was brought to tears on some occasions because I had so many things to say and no opportunity to say them. I’ve found myself being sparser with words since that day. I enjoy it. It makes me remember to think about what I want to say before I do in fact say it.
I haven’t written in a while. It’s been far too long. I’m feeling an urge of sentimentalism and creativity so I feel spurred to write. Here it is.
Lately I’ve felt like I’ve been trapped in a cocoon of conventionalism. I have been consumed by culture, media and the likes of these. It’s irritating. Tonight I took a walk that turned out to be some of the best fifteen minutes I have had in a long time. Winter is always a tough season. Especially this one. May is coming faster and faster with each passing minutes. I’m about to be forced from my place of comfort and thrust into the world around me. It honestly scares me. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do and I can’t really put my thumb on anything concrete right now. It’s driving me insane.
I’ve had some deep rooted inadequacy lately about my life. Am I where I wanted to be? Am I the person I am supposed to become. I think I can sit here in the chair, at this keyboard and type the word ‘YES’. I am exactly what and who I am supposed to be. I take a great amount of comfort in that.
Along with this idea of being cooped up, I also feel like I am brimming with creativity. It’s becoming natural to me. Aside from that there isn’t much to note.
This blog is to let those who actually read my stuff that more is on the way. Winter has put my journeys on hold temporarily. Expect bigger things on the way.
The two women paused before me and uttered a few words about the painting by Winslow Homer. It was hung in the dead center of a green wall that I was facing. The bench I sat on was brown. The painting was a lot bigger than the rest. I guess that could be a reflection of the artist, or perhaps a reflection on the other artists.
This picture was a peculiar one. It contained two men hoisting nets full of fish from the sea. They were the only boat on the water. The description alluded to something of this sort; “Late in Winslow’s life, he became fascinated with the sea and spent most of his time there.” Peace. He found peace in the sea and apparently he wanted everyone to feel that when they looked at his paintings.
I myself was then caught in the image’s spell and I imagined being on that boat with those gentlemen. At first my stomach was uneasy, but as my body grew accustomed to the waves, so did my queasiness. Every breath I took was salty and sweet at the same time. The odor was distinct. My nostrils almost stung as the spray of the waves filled it with brittle cold water. My clothes were soaked to the bone. Every inch of my body was suffering from the burden that was similar to walking around in a wet sock. I was as uncomfortable as I have ever been. But the bounty of fish was incredible. I’ve never seen so many silver scales at once before. All flapping and writhing together as if they were one big mass. The net was only their temporary residence. Then I clicked back. Back to that brown bench.
The major clientele of this building was a different sort of crowd. It seemed to be mostly women, in pairs of two. They were all over forty. Other than them there were the guards. Other than the guards there was I. I noticed a guard nearing me from my peripherals, as if she were looking for a particular person. But as soon as she came, she began to grow smaller again until she disappeared behind another wall lined with portraits. My weariness grew every minute as I felt like every portrait and painting was sucking out my soul as it has done with many before, including the painters.
However the two women in particular kept lingering around the halls surrounding my bench. I remember overhearing a bit of their conversation. They were talking about their futures, which I might add weren’t long periods of time by my estimate. They were speaking so loudly. I was certain everyone within the entire basement had heard their conversation. However I was the only one outside of them. For the art, which said nothing at all, spoke louder than the both of them.
I decided to move on. I’m sure that bench missed me though, as it probably hadn’t seen a rump in some time now. I headed upstairs. As I got there I made a plan on how I was going to systematically handle this floor. I decided with the right side first. However I flew through as if there were nothing to see. Until I got to the next painting. In fact it’s the only one I can remember on the entire floor. Once again I was teleported into a different place and time. This time a little different than before.
The sea was calling to me no more. No, this time I was on dry land. Well it wasn’t exactly dry, as the cobblestone street seemed as if it has just rained. A horse drawn buggy went down the street in the opposite direction I was heading. I had a woman on my arm, though I do not remember her name. I seemed to be wealthy, as I had a fob and a pair of white gloves in my attire. I think I imagined a monocle, but I can’t recall correctly. My shoes clipped and clopped as did the woman’s next to mine. Things were simple. Things were easy. There was a disconnect. And just like that I was thrown out of my vision and came back. Reality.
I couldn’t paint a picture if I tried. I couldn’t even draw one. I could very well use my camera to replicate one, but it is not my own. I will never meet Pablo Picasso, nor will I shake his hand and thank him for painting “The Old Guitarist.” I’ll never run into Marc Chagall on the street and tell him how much “The Praying Jew” means to me. I will never be able to ask Salvador Dali why he painted clocks in such a unique fashion. However I did give something to these artists. It wasn’t physical or spoken, nor was it given formally. But in each of these worlds that they so magnificently transported me to, I left a piece. Various time periods and setting, all containing the same bit of my soul and investment. I know it’s not much, but it’s a lot to me.
I will for an eternity be staring out into the sea watching the sunrise. I’ll never let go of my lover’s arm as we walk down a cobblestone street together. My eyes remain transfixed on the pieces that lay before me. Wondering what is next.
Finally!! Thanks Katie!! (Taken with instagram)