Finding quiet spaces in the modern world

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There are times I start to feel like my brain is full. At total capacity. There’s no room left in my head to hold any more information for a while. I feel like putting a neon sign up all over myself. And on my inbox. And my text messages. And the mail box on my front lawn. Stop sending me stuff. Stop asking me stuff. Stop telling me stuff. My head is overflowing. My ability to retain information has all but evaporated. I feel like a giant vat that’s reached maximum capacity and every time someone tries to add something it simply spills over the sides and floats into the ether.

I need a moratorium on all forms of input for a while to give my tired weary brain a break. No more emails, no more texts, no more survey monkey surveys that promise they’ll only take a few minutes. No more notes to remember to sign and drop off at my children’s primary school office every few days and no more children’s afternoon activities that soak up precious free time. If only. . .

We’ve filled all the spaces that used to be silent. Where we used to switch off, unwind, let our minds wander and rest. Thinking and acting have become intertwined. I’ve come to recognise I need silence sometimes. To allow time to reflect and be still with my conscience and my heart. It’s hard to be deep in the modern world. But at the end of the day I finally honour my need to pause in the midst of so much extreme noise.

This age of being contactable around the clock can be pretty mind boggling. If you turn your phone off for a few hours these days you might miss something important. Recently, literally an hour before a gathering, an email was sent out with a change of venue. I’d switched my phone on silent for a few hours, and as I hopped in the car and turned up the volume, I noticed a string of missed calls and emails. I drove to the new meeting place and pondered how bizarre our lives have become that we can even contemplate such last minute changes and assume people will always get the message. I think life’s become a little bit crazy.

So in a parallel universe somewhere out there, today my neon sign says closed for business. Reopening some time down the track…when I’ve had time to clear some headspace, delete the junk from my inboxes, tick all the survey squares, read emails that have been sitting there for weeks and plough through my unopened post.

By Tamara J. Lowe

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