Security in Silence

No I’m not referring to the fact that it’s been such a long time since I’ve posted anything.  That is for another day.  This phrase came to me in a wonderful note from a friend, Jenna Johnson, who’s moved to LA and is trying to make a go of it there.  She meant it differently than I’m using it here but the the phrase was powerful enough to stand out on it’s own.

Finding the security in silence isn’t an easy thing to do.  So often as talent, creatives and simply human beings, we are very uncomfortable with silence.  How many times have we experienced the awkward silence in a conversation?  Or when someone falls silent, rushed to fill a perceived void with meaningless words that sometimes end up doing more harm than good?  Or when you think that nothing is happening in a situation, tried to make something, anything happen by forcing an action?

We are not comfortable with silence, especially in today’s world.  There is so much stimulation visually and aurally that this has become the norm and silence is almost abnormal.  I’ve really tried to make an effort to embrace silence when I work from home so I can let flow what needs to flow without the scattered focus interruptions these noises bring.  But it’s a never-ending battle against a very strong tide.

The even more difficult silence to handle is when you feel there is silence in your career.  You haven’t had an audition in weeks so you must be blackballed at the casting office.  Or your agent is on the verge of dropping you.  You haven’t done a voiceover in you don’t know how long so obviously your voice isn’t hirable.  You had no response to your latest marketing campaign so that was a big waste of time and money.  What you don’t know is what is happening in the silence.  What is transpiring behind the scenes in the big picture of things.  Trusting the silence, being secure in the knowledge that no news may really be good news, that you have planted and are are continuing to plant seeds of success is not easy.  It’s takes a lot of faith, trust and discipline to not try to make something, anything happen because of course that’s the only way progress is measured right?  Visible action must mean progress.  Not always.  Sometimes there’s plenty of action going on, you just can’t see it.  Just know that it’s there and find security in the silence.

Colorado Quiet

Winter has finally come to Chicago with a vengeance.  It’s been snowing off and on for several days.  It’s not really sticking because Lake Michigan is still pretty warm so the air temperature makes the snow melt.  We’ve been enjoying the global warming effect for the month of November.  Temps were in the upper 40’s-low 50’s the entire month.  Golfers were out in force on all the public courses well into December.  They’re wired a little different than the rest of us but it was pretty warm.

All this is coming to an end this week.  First the snow and then the wind and falling temps will come screaming in.  But the snow has been wonderful.  I’m always surprised at how much it quiets the world as it falls.  I’ve named it Colorado quiet because that was the first place I became aware of how magical the silence was.  And how calm and focused I have become in the quiet.  Winter has never been one of my favorite seasons because having to commute in it can really break your spirit.  But this year I’m working from home so no nasty commute or walking across the Michigan Avenue bridge in 35 MPH winds.  Maybe I’ll truly come to appreciate this season and it’s beauty.  I know I truly appreciate the silence.

The sound of silence

One of the biggest fears I had when I was planning to leave the corporate world, of course not knowing at the time the corporate world was going to leave me, was that I would become addicted to television.  It would be on all the time and I would get sucked into watching Rudy for the 90th time.  That movie always makes me cry. Or I would end up watching a reality show about someone else’s fabulous existence.  And instead of living my life, I would become a passive observer of another’s carefully edited life.  So this year for Lent I gave up TV cold turkey.  Not an easy thing to do as it was just as the latest season of Lost was starting up.  Thank heaven for DVR’s!  But I stuck to it and learned I could live without that which provided me my living.  Which is a scary thought in and of itself.  What if other people found that out?  Where would my job be then?  Well, that question was answered for me!

But I often turn to media for ideas on what to write and this morning was no exception.  I had the television on in my hotel room while I was getting ready and the pundits were in full chorus.  Nothing was coming to me and it all sounded like so much babble.  With that, off went the power button.  The silence that enveloped the room was wonderful.   And a funny thing happened.  The ideas started coming fast and furious.  It took shutting off the cacophony to start the symphony in my brain.  I’m always humbled when that happens.  I am reminded that my ideas are just as strong, relevant and insightful as anyone who has the floor.  I should be listening to my own thoughts instead of letting someone do my thinking for me.  Popular culture and news are very important in our world and have a legitimate place at the table.  But in the conversation that is uniquely mine, their voice mustn’t become a lecture that drowns out my own voice.

I also gave up sweets for Lent and was successful…for the 40 days I had to be.  Then it was back on the Sugarland Express!