I’ve noticed lately that I talk a lot without really thinking about what I’m saying. It’s as if I’m not very present in my own life. My daughter will talk to me and I’ll “uh-huh” and “yeah” as though engaged, but I find I’m not really paying attention to what she’s saying. I do the same thing to my husband. And all three of us constantly interrupt each other, which is irritating to everyone.
Sometimes I yell. I know, I’m a horrible parent. I don’t WANT to yell, but I was raised in the home of yellers, so it’s really a challenge not to slip back into those conditioned responses. I’m getting a lot better though. I used to yell every day. Now it’s more like once every week or two. But I still do it once in a while, and that’s not okay with me. It makes my daughter feel scared and small. It makes me feel mean and big. Like a bully. But that’s a different post.
I don’t like any of it. I’m tired of being in the same old ruts. I want to make a change.
So I’ve been contemplating all these things and wondered what it would be like to be silent for a specified time period. I mean, we’ve played “The Quiet Game” enough times for me to know that it will be very difficult for me to be silent for ANY period of time, let alone a few days or even weeks. But the silence intrigues me. What will I find there?
I can already see a few things that could happen:
- I may learn to really listen to those around me, instead of waiting for a break (or worse, interrupting) in order to express my own thought or opinion.
- In finding new ways to communicate, my relationships with both my husband and my daughter may strengthen and deepen.
- I may learn more about myself and may find more depth in my spiritual practice.
After proposing this idea to Z and listening to her desires, I needed to modify my vow a bit. So on this, Z’s 7th birthday, my gift to her is a month of my silence, with the exception of necessary conversation with her in order to meet her needs. I will speak to no one else. It will be a month of listening to her without interrupting. A month of finding new ways to communicate and connect to each other. A month of learning about myself and the world around me.
I expect it to be completely beautiful and intensely difficult.
Happy Birthday, my sweet girl!