Sensing the Silence

by Nancy Casey

For your writing today, you must surround yourself with as much silence as you can. Turn off the music, silence the devices, and unplug the machines. If other people are in your living/writing space, let them know, if necessary, that you won’t be engaging for a bit. Be as still as you can.

Quiet your mind as much as your mind will allow. Maybe you know some techniques for that, such as slow breathing or meditation.

Perhaps you will want to go outside. That works. You can lie down if you like. Sit somewhere. Or even take a slow walk. The idea is to create as much silence around and inside of yourself as you can.

Once you have settled into your personal puddle of silence, allow your awareness to take in whatever information your senses receive. When you are ready, write a page about what you noticed.

You can do this by creating the silence around you, and then while you are inside it, writing down what you perceive.

You might prefer to spend 10 or 20 minutes in the silence and after that write down some of the things that you perceived.

It could even turn out that creating and experiencing the silence itself was so interesting to you that you want to write about what that was like.

Some people find silence intolerable and impossible. If you think you are like that, give it a try anyway and write about what it was like to make the attempt.

Sometimes your mind refuses to be quiet. A little bit of silence can make room for plans, worry, regrets, old conversations, and remembering. When that happens, actively return to your senses. Ask yourself questions like, What do I hear? How do my feet feel? What do I see? Where is my tongue? Do your best to take in details of the present moment. Even a really boring moment has details in it. Write some of them down.

Before you start to write, make sure to leave room at the top of the page where you can write your title when you are all finished. At any point in your writing, you can shift over to drawing or doodling. Some people find that moving the pen without making words and sentences helps them be more grounded and aware of the present moment. This, in turn, will give you more things to write about.

When the page is full, look it over carefully and make small changes if you like. When a title idea floats to the surface of your mind, write it at the top of the page.

Write the date on the page too, along with a signature or your initials.

Here is an example of what someone could write.

You can share your work by posting it as a comment below. You can type it in, or take a photo of it and upload the image.

Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. If you would like some help with your writing, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center. In-person Write-for You classes have been suspended for now, but when Covid recedes, they will return.

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