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“We have to earn silence, then, to work for it: to make it not an absence but a presence; not emptiness but repletion. Silence is something more than just a pause; it is that enchanted place where space is cleared and time is stayed and the horizon itself expands. In silence, we often say, we can hear ourselves think; but what is truer to say is that in silence we can hear ourselves not think, and so sink below our selves into a place far deeper than mere thought allows. In silence, we might better say, we can hear someone else think.” –from The Eloquent Sounds of Silence by Pico Iyer

Just one of the juicy tidbits from the Poetica podcast “Silence.”


10 Important Reasons to Start Making Time for Silence, Rest and Solitude
by Thai Nguyen

“What’s typically seen as useless, daydreaming is now being seen as an essential experience … ”

Read the full article.

“Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as an escape.”

–bell hooks

You need not do anything.
Remain sitting at your table and listen.
You need not even listen, just wait.
You need not even wait,
just learn to be quiet, still and solitary.
And the world will freely offer itself to you unmasked.
It has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

–Franz Kafka

“I am a lover without a lover. I am lovely and lonely and I belong deeply to myself.”

Warsan Shire

This speaks to my introvert’s soul.

At the Center, Stillness

“There is no need for you to leave the house. Stay at your table and listen. Don’t even listen, just wait. Don’t even wait, be completely quiet and alone. The world will offer itself to you to be unmasked; it can’t do otherwise; in raptures it will writhe before you.”

— Franz Kafka, The Blue Octavo Notebooks (translated by Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins)

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“It’s paradoxical that where people are most closely crowded, in the big coastal cities of the East and West, the loneliness is the greatest…The explanation is that the physical distance between people has nothing to do with loneliness. It’s psychic distance.”

–Robert M. Pirsig

What Happened to Downtime? The Extinction of Deep Thinking & Sacred Space

by Scott Belsky

“Interruption-free space is sacred. Yet, in the digital era we live in, we are losing hold of the few sacred spaces that remain untouched by email, the internet, people, and other forms of distraction. Our cars now have mobile phone integration and a thousand satellite radio stations. When walking from one place to another, we have our devices streaming data from dozens of sources. Even at our bedside, we now have our iPads with heaps of digital apps and the world’s information at our fingertips.”

Read full article here.

“The soul that sees beauty
may sometimes walk alone.”
–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

348/365, originally uploaded by jessieroth

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” — Blaise Pascal

I’ve written about the joys of solitude before.  Being a natural introvert – albeit one with limitations like any other person – I forget that being alone can be extremely challenging for some.

One of my friends, an extrovert if there ever was one, will, when her wife is out of town, immediately start calling around to try to fill her schedule. Her frantic state seems fueled by desperation, like she’s afraid of spending extended periods of time by herself.

It isn’t that I don’t get lonely. It happens. But when I forget the blessings that alone time can bring, well, then a video like the one below is a lovely reminder.