Note: edit organizing owner Sarah Gant is exploring 14 ways love can be expressed during the first two weeks of February. This is the 4th installment.
When you become aware of silence, immediately there is that state of inner still alertness. You are present. You have stepped out of thousands of years of collective human conditioning. –ECKHART TOLLE, Stillness Speaks
The very concept of Expressions of Love implies a demonstrative act, a gift of something, whether a gesture, a small token, a statement to express devotion and care. Yet, there are times when silence can be a binding element between two lovers, a vast pool of love and compassion they share with no need for interruption.
This fourth post is a day late because yesterday I was swimming in silence (treading, really). I spent much of my day alone working on growing my professional organizing business, and there were a couple of people I talk to daily or so who were notably silent. I reached into that silence for a while to try to determine motives, but ultimately, I allowed myself to relax, or rather, allowed that silence to seep around me.
I suspect I am not alone in feeling often overwhelmed by sound and insistent contact from the outside world. The ability to just sit in silence can become a true luxury, and I feel more and more that my soul is renewed when it can soak in no sound (perhaps that is why sleep is so desirable; an uninterrupted period of no sound and no light). It is a special delight for overwhelmed mothers to have the entire house to themselves for the weekend because offers the opportunity to be in their favorite space and control noise and interruption, to be without the barrage of information and conversation of everyday family life.
So how can silence be an expression of love between partners or loved ones? In my family, silence was the mode people went into when they were hurt and needed time to get clear of the pain. I call it, “Going into the Cave.” It can be very frustrating for someone who hasn’t been raised with this survival mechanism to understand why we don’t return the phone call or reach out for help. In my case, it is an expression of love when my lover allows me to repair in a space of silence rather than to demand that I confront the argument that sent me into that cave.
But silence can indicate a state of harmony. I did a women’s weekend with GirlVentures, an organization that offers a leadership and outdoor education progression for young women in the Bay Area, and within a few short hours of meeting one another, we found ourselves sitting around the fire in a very comfortable and safe silence. Silence in a healthy relationship indicates satiation and oneness. Being together in silence is being present with one another.
Expression of Love: Consider how you might offer silence to a loved one as a connective tissue, as a way of increasing your devotion and restoring that person’s well-being. What circumstance could you arrange that would put you with your spouse or partner so that you could settle into a comfortable silence that isn’t isolated (one reading a newspaper, the other gardening doesn’t quite do it.) How about hiking or kayaking? Working on a puzzle together? Preparing a multi-step meal like Boullaibaise or Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon? Let me know what you come up with and how you both felt about the silence you shared.
For thoughtful quotations about stillness and love, check out my pinterest page!