With the quiet season quickly coming upon us on the coast of Maine, I have been contemplating three of my favorite qualities of life: stillness, silence, and solitude. It is these three characteristics of living here that particularly appeal to Linda and I as we strive to live more simply. So naturally my reading has followed a similar course and I wanted to share here some of what I have gleaned from my research to help you seek them for yourself.
As Pico Iyer suggests In The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere, “In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating than going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still.”
And Jane Brox states in Silence: A Social History of One of the Least Understood Elements of Our Lives, “Silence can seem like a luxury. Or the fraught world has labeled it that way. But from what I know of it, I would argue that silence is as necessary as the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech that we so carefully guard and endlessly ponder…It presents the opportunity for a true reckoning with the self.”
Finally, Doris Grumbach shares in Fifty Days of Solitude, “Alone, I discovered myself looking hard at things, as if I were seeing them for the first time, or seeing them properly for the first time. I wondered if solitude promoted this activity, or whether it was a result of having more time for everything, more time to look and see, more to concentrate on what I was seeing.”
So, wherever you find yourself on the busyness spectrum this autumn I encourage you to secure space and time for stillness, silence, and solitude. It will not necessarily come easily, but nothing worthwhile ever does. The results probably will include refreshed perspective, replenished energy, and renewed relationships, among many others. And perhaps you will experience a simpler life in the process!