I wake up and roll out of bed. The windows of my truck lets in tiny little snakes of light that crisscross on the opposite walls. Pushing open my door to the outside lets in a barrage of fresh air and I take a deep breath in. Everything falls one step at a time when you’re dealing with the hazy early morning before the first cup of coffee. I usually try to get up very early - 5 am is a special time in life not many people appreciate. It’s before the rest of the world wakes up, and theres an other-worldly feeling about that. It’s a feeling of silence seldom found. It encourages you to be soft and quiet even if theres nobody else around.
Water in the pot and on it’s way to a boil. Again, taking things one step at a time in the mornings. Set the coffee cone, fold a filter, grind the coffee beans, make careful measurements. Wait. Savoring the moments in between actions. The water is ready now and I pour it over the aromatic coffee grounds. The steam billows up. Wait. I listen to the sound of the wind in the trees, the water slowly dripping through the filter. I pour another round of water and again. Wait. I take in my surroundings - trees above, grass below - not the best view, but thats okay with me. The air is crisp, cool, and fresh. Coffee is ready now and and it provides another opportunity for reflection. 10 minutes in the morning just sipping and thinking.
Taking life slowly is tough these days, but it’s a wise thing to do every once in awhile. To have time to reflect on where you’re at in life without the distractions that come with it is powerful. Silence and process are your friends, even if they feel foreign and awkward sometimes. Growing comfortable with them can be a tough mountain to climb, but the reward is peace of mind. That’s invaluable.
I’ve begun searching out these “in-between” moments and trying to create them for myself. My phone is permanently in “Do Not Disturb” mode. Not just while I’m sleep or during certain times of day. A lesson I learned while hiking the Wonderland Trail is that business and life can all wait. Nobody will die if I don’t respond to that text within 3 minutes. Work emails are going to be just fine left for a day. We get caught up thinking everyone needs an instant response to everything, and it creates this unnecessary burden to be at everyone’s beck and call. It’s just not necessary.
I try to schedule 20 minutes a day to find silence. I’ll go outside, sit on a bench, close my eyes, and just listen. Thinking about everything and nothing. My mind wanders to where it will, and then I gently coax it home. I’ve realized in time that I don’t need all the noise and mental clutter of every day life, and that escape to silence can benefit you immensely and bring peace.
Silence breeds creativity. The mind goes into overdrive when it doesn’t have stimulation, and so slowing down can help think. Curiosity peeks through. I’ll find myself asking unusual questions and coming at problems from new directions. My knowledge and experience is often expanded simply by thinking on a subject. Not googling the solution, but coming to a natural conclusion yourself. I’ll find new creative pathways that have remained blocked and locked tight in the past. All this coming from boredom, the supposed enemy.
I’ll leave these ideas with a quote by Erling Kagge, the author of an incredible book “Silence in the Age of Noise” - “It is easy to assume that the essence of technology is technology itself, but that is wrong. The essence is you and me. It’s about how we are altered by the technology we employ, what we hope to learn, our relationship with nature, those we love, the time we spend, the energy that is consumed, and how much freedom we relinquish to technology.”