Monday, March 27, 2017

: The Negative and The Positive
By Pamela Brewer

QUESTION: What can bring feelings of sadness and fear; anxiety and anger; rejection and harm?

ANSWER: The pain of silence.

QUESTION: What can bring joy and understanding; stress reduction and relaxation and a greater sense of peace, harmony,
and calm than many have ever known?

ANSWER: The joy of silence.

QUESTION: What can be used to help, harm, abuse, encourage, to grow, to stifle, to intimidate, to luxuriate?

ANSWER: A most powerful human tool - SILENCE.

Silence in its myriad of forms is a tool that you use everyday.

If you talk so much you cannot hear yourself think let alone someone else, you may be afraid of silence.
You may listen attentively when others speak; in which case you are engaging in active silence.
You may become so overwhelmed with your unpleasant feelings that you create angry silence.

The elements of silence and the way you think about silence are intertwined in
your experience of and use of silence with yourself and others on a regular basis -  whether you do so consciously or not.

Much of how you use silence now grows from your experience of silence during your formative years.
In a loving household, attentive silence was used when listening to someone talk about their feelings,
their day, their goals, their dreams.

In healthy relationships,
you learned that silence was a time for personal reflection, a time to be alone with your thoughts,
a time to enjoy music and art and the air and the world around you.
Silence was a time to dream and relax.

Silence may have been the experience you had when you first told your parents you were going to be president of the universe or an astronaut or a surgeon or whatever grand plan you had for your life in the coming years.
As your parents silently, attentively listened, they then broke the silence with questions and ideas about your dreams.
While you were afforded silence as you dreamed your dreams, you and your parents broke the silence and shared those dreams, discussed those dreams and may even have developed an action plan to make those dreams come true.
In other words, there was a time to be silent and a time to break the silence.
The time to break the silence was not predicated on whether or not you had complete the whole job -  the whole thought or determined the complete and right answer. Sometimes, breaking the silence happened in the beginning of the thought.
Sometimes at the middle, sometimes at the end.
Breaking the silence was determined by the time you no longer wished be alone with yourself.
Breaking the silence was a good thing, a safe thing, and a healthy thing.

In an abusive household, you learned that silence was a weapon or a safety net.
Silence could be used to frighten, to threaten, to embarrass.
Silence may also have been the way you learned to shield yourself from violence;
from the madness and terror of an abusive or neglectful household.
In a hurtful household, silence may have been used to endure pain or inflict pain.
In a harmful place, silence was never the vessel of good things.
Silence was broken only at risk; often unwillingly.
Angry silence was used to disconnect.  
Angry silence was used to block out, NOT hear, and to plan the next assault.

In a loving relationship, silence is used respectfully and actively.
Respectful silence is the silence you choose when you are alone with your thoughts,
your music, your dreams, your crafts, your goals.
Active silence is the silence you use when listening to the words of another;
not focused on what you will say next, but on what is being expressed in the moment.
You are displaying active silence when you suspend for the moment,
your interpretation of what is being said and work to understand what is being said from the perspective of the speaker.

Active silence grows from the complete belief that the expressions of others are as important as your expressions.
Active silence brings with it curiosity and questioning for understanding; not questioning to interrogate.
Active silence produces questioning to produce clarity not to produce a right or a wrong.
Active silence = active listening = respectful and loving communication.

If you celebrate silence in the ways that are healthy and respectful,
be proud of what you do for yourself and others.
 Be proud of the gifts you give in respectful, active silence - be joyous of the new learning you achieve.