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On silence & solitude, and the avoidance of them

15 Aug 2010 / 7 Comments / in anxiety, Me, myself & I, Silence

In general, I avoid total silence. Part of me loves it, craves the stillness that I know comes when I give myself the space and invite the silence into me. But part of me fears it and will do anything to prevent it happening.

Or to put it another way perhaps:

When I am happy and peaceful I welcome alone time without the distraction of the radio or even of strangers around me.

But when something is troubling my spirit you may find me alone at the beach where there are always people passing by and greeting, or a book or crossword puzzle to keep my mind from wandering into the dangerous territory of facing up to whatever it is that I’m not wanting to look at. You may find me in cafes drinking coffee, people watching, or flipping through a magazine. You may find me out and about with my camera to record things of beauty or interest. But you won’t find me simply sitting; away from all distractions, alone in an isolated place, NOT reading, NOT listening to something or someone. Not even doodling in a book (another great tool for keeping me from true silence).

And that’s the time I NEED to stop. To turn my thoughts inward and let them travel those forbidden paths, to see what lies at the end of uncompleted thoughts. Sometimes, writing can be a tool that helps get those thoughts out on paper but often I allow myself to sidetrack on to easier, less messy topics, ignoring the ones that require my participation, for another day.

I’ve tried meditation and it freaks me out. I end up simply waiting for the alloted time to be finished. Instead of feeling calmness I feel a great rush of anxiety and my mind instantly becomes a cluttered hallway of shouting distraction. Yoga I love because I can focus on aligning my body, on the sensations – the stretch of a hamstring, the flow of tension from neck and shoulders – and still continue my avoidance of all things complicated or frightening.

Walking can work as it’s more rhythmic and there’s a sense of purpose, but once again I will allow myself pleasant day-dreams – nothing wrong with them in themselves – but when, when do I make time to just be?


Unrescued by food, people, books, computers, cameras, cell phone, drawing pads, cats, exercise routines, changing scenery.

And let those pent up thoughts out and let them go as far as they need to.

And breathe.

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7 Responses to On silence & solitude, and the avoidance of them

  1. Bronwen says:

    As much as I adore “silence and solitude”, it often frightens me too…. especially when there’s something that needs to be dealt with in order to move forward with life. Distractions can be “healing” and they can be restrictive and paralysing too. We all need ways of coping and dealing with life’s trials and tribulations. Solitude need not be as scary a place as we so often make it out to be, but rather a destination we visit every now and then to gain perspective and renew our the sense of self that our working lives and stresses so easily strips from us.

  2. ExMi says:

    i never, ever let myself NOT be distracted by something. i guess i’m just not ready to look inward yet. plus, there’s FAR too many other things (like the ever-growing to-do list) that just constantly grabs my attention.

    but it IS important to remember to breathe. and it’s important to remind others, so thank you. xx

    • GreenHairMermaid says:

      pleasure 🙂 it’s quite hard… like a bad habit I need to break. I even put the radio on as soon as I wake up, even (especially) if it’s the middle of the night – lying in the dark allows TOO many ghosts in…

  3. BlindCripple says:

    I used to be a complete over analyser of myself and in my thoughts all the time. I used to lay awake worrying about even the smallest things. Now, it’s different. After life took a completely different direction and situations changed the way I dealt with things, I no longer do it. It’s got a lot to do with the distractions too, though.

    The time has come to get back in my thoughts and figure out what the hell I should be doing, but that doesn’t seem to be very easy now. If only there was an easy balance…


    • GreenHairMermaid says:

      You know you could be on to something. Maybe the avoidance of solitude is a backlash after years of over-analysis and over thinking everything (usually in the late teens / early 20s)… If so, like most swings of the pendulum, it’s probably (at least in my case) gone tooooo far the other way now 🙂

      balance required.

  4. Mrs Redzxber says:

    I hear you loud and clear… its something I will have plenty of time to have to do in the days / weeks coming up… heres to silence, solitude and the courage to enjoy them xx


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