Friday, July 10, 2015

The Value of Silence

This is not the first time I have written about silence.  But I write about silence this evening because this evening was a time when I really needed it.

The week was a busy one.  In fact, I have been so busy that I have not blogged for two weeks.  And I had let my journaling about work slip, too.  Neither of those were a good choice.  After not writing for two weeks, I was reminded this week of how much it can help me to work through things.  As can running.  And last week, I was spending more time drawing.  But for the moment, I am returning to writing to think through the week.

The week began with a busy day preparing for a visit to the Business School by two gentlemen who could help the school to understand where we stand with respect to the process of working with the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business.  It was exhausting for me between the preparation on the day before, dinner, a full day of meetings from 8-6, and a second dinner.  Barely a moment by myself.  And while I had come off a weekend that helped me to recharge--a Meyers-Briggs introvert needs some alone time to recharge--that was a lot of time with people and not much time to process.

Wednesday came--and I observed a conflict that I needed to think about whether it was my role to resolve and if so, how I was going to help.  I should have taken some time to write them.

Thursday came and I thought about addressing the issue, but I waited.  Again, I could have written.  

Today came and I talked to the two involved in the conflict.  One conversation was productive. The other was conflicting for me.

So, tonight I did two things that helped me.

Second, when I got home from the movies with my two older sons, I walked my dog.  A slow and deliberate walk.  Not looking at my watch.  Not looking at my phone.  Only one other dog out in the neighborhood.  Very few people.  Very few cars.  Mostly just quiet.  The silence was great.  It gave me time to think.  It gave me time to let the stresses of the week wash away.  It gave me time just to breathe.  And I so needed that.

First (I don't often write with lists numbered backwards), I had gone to see the relatively new movie Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.  My two older sons came with me.  I very much enjoyed the movie.  For those who have not seen it yet, I won't tell the whole story.  What I will comment on is the fact that the movie is about an awkward high school kid.  (Something I can relate to--although something that I'm not sure my sons understand just how much I can relate to.)  He is portrayed as a kid who tried to be friends with everyone but then be invisible to everyone.  (I am not sure I ever tried to make myself invisible, but I have always tried to just get along.)  In his friendship with the dying girl, he overreacts (something I often do) and there is a time when she talks about just wanting to be silent with him.

I found comfort in a movie about a character whom I could relate to.  The girl in the movie referred to what he did as self-hate.  I didn't self-hate in high school.  But I sure self-doubted.  And after this week of needing to be "on" so much of the time, after maybe mis-guessing on my role in fixing the conflict, and after maybe not doing such a good job in the resolution, I was having a lot of self-doubt.  And when I get in a state like that, I tend to go back to where I feel safe.  Where I felt safe in high school.  Silence.  Working through stuff in my own mind.  The walking.  The running.  The quiet.  The writing.

The key now is to come back tomorrow, Sunday, and next week ready to go again.  Ready to face the challenges at work.  And ready to make sure that I don't let myself slip into wallowing in my introversion for too long.  Recharging is good. Turning inward will not help me or my family or the School I work for any time soon.  

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