Twenty- four hours without a word. (I did utter the word “damn” while I was working on the computer and accidentally closed out of a window) I suppose that should have been good enough reason for a girl who likes talking to just continue, but I didn’t. I stuck with the plan, rather the unction of my spirit to just be quiet.
In 2008 I read a story about a free spirited, eco friendly man who decided to stop talking for a day. His one day turned into a seventeen year journey in which he gave up driving as well. In silence, he walked and sailed around the world earning a Ph.D in the process. We can’t always explain what moves us, but his story certainly moved me. “One day I’m going to do that”, I said to myself…”one day”.
I woke up Monday morning after having a disagreement with a close friend. I was a bit frazzled by the words expressed the night before. As opposed to taking the route of reconciling our disagreement to the notion of “that cat is trippin’!” somewhere, something in me wanted to dig deeper, to get a more authentic reason for the “argument”. Often times when a disagreement occurs with another person (which is rare for me, I might add), I can justify the “why this person is wrong” all to myself; not this time. I felt I had to take an alternative route to finding the answer. So as I woke up, an even toned voice said to me “be quiet Sahsha”. I immediately knew what it meant. My day of silence had come. Since I had a few meetings already set up for Monday, I decided to postpone my silence until Tuesday. There wasn’t any real preparation involved, except sending a few people a text letting them know that I will be vocally out of commission for a day. I also prayed. This silence had to have some kind of purpose. I asked God not only give me a sign that this quiet time was necessary, but I also wanted it to show me something I didn’t know, but needed to know. For added resistance I decided not to have my phone on either.
Thank goodness for mothers! When I woke up that morning, my mom had already explained my silence to my nephews, so upon seeing them, they said, “good morning, Tia!” I smiled and gave them a hug. They knew I wasn’t talking and they didn’t care (for the most part). They felt my love in the hug I gave them. As the morning progressed without a word, I realized I could hear my thoughts more clearly, as if they had a chance to breathe life into themselves. No other opinion counted, not even my spoken word. My thoughts received their answer from the same voice that told me to be quiet. The less talking I did, the more I was able to hear. Useless chatter can be a detrimental bitch.
Throughout the day, I used gestures and a pen and pad to communicate with my family. Oddly enough, everyone except my youngest nephew understood all my gestures. Having to write down everything you want to express can be troublesome, so I limited my “conversation” to only the things that needed to be expressed at that moment. That’s something I want to do even now that I’m talking. Only say what’s needed.
I did a lot of reading too. I like to read, but I don’t make time to do it as much as I used to. I came across articles on the earthquakes going on around the world and how they are shifting the earth’s axis, which in turn, is shortening our days by milliseconds. I also read something on what men really mean when they say things like, “It’s ok” and “I’m going to call you later” and they don’t (lol), in addition to an article that was forwarded to me from a friend. The article spoke on spirituality. It stated, “You will begin to communicate more with the Heart and the Feelings, with intuition, than with words…Silence will become as important as words. The ability to be in silence and to feel the energy of Love in that silence will become more important…”
“Wow!” I thought. I can dig that! I immediately took that passage as confirmation of this day being right on track. Interestingly enough (but not coincidentally) I received an email from another friend on the west coast. She sends out motivational passages and scriptures daily but I don’t read them daily… if at all. The email was titled “Watch your language.” I laughed…in silence, of course. The reading referenced a scripture I had never heard of, but boy was it poignant. In a multitude of words transgression is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is prudent.
– Proverbs 10:19
I was tickled by all the “revelations” I received in reading, while an indescribable peace lingered with me throughout the day. Maybe it’s because I didn’t feel I had to have an answer to everything. Maybe it was the fact that I wasn’t so mesmerized by the sound of my own, raspy, smart aleck mouth as I thought I was… maybe it was the “revelations”? Or maybe it was because I was just letting things be. Who knows? The one thing I know is that you don’t have to have an answer to everything, as long as it feels right. I discovered that words can be awfully deceiving. How many times have we let ourselves become upset at what someone says, thinking (or wishing) they meant something else? How many more times have we said, “well what I MEANT to say was…” My gestures and touches were clearly understood that day, more than words could translate. For a girl who thinks a lot, almost incessantly, the coolest thing about this adventure was the less I spoke, the less I thought. For whatever reason, I didn’t have the addictive desire to wonder about the next event, the next trip, 2012, the next writing assignment, next due date on a bill or next activity at the boys’ school. My mind was on a vacation. A well deserved vacation. And although I didn’t get an obvious answer as to why my friend and I had a “falling out”, if it had anything to do with my desire to be quiet for a day, the “fall out” just had to happen. It had an order, and in that order is an answer that I will most likely feel before he ever has the words to explain it, albeit it come later than sooner. We have the responsibility to choose our words wisely like we choose our fruits or our lovers, for their irreversible effects last with us a lifetime. The entire universe was created with a word, so speak only things you wish to create. As the old saying goes, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!” Or more simply put, just shut up every now and then!