THE POWER OF QUIET
Quiet. Stillness. Calm. Serenity. Those words are the most beautiful words in the universe to me, for they express what my soul craves, my heart resonates with, and the world I choose to live in.
My idea of a "perfect" day is being home, alone, with no schedule, no jobs, no errands and no phone calls or emails to return. A Quiet Day. Yes, with a capital Q. As an introvert, (yes, introvert) I thrive on quiet, I recharge my batteries away from people, I breathe more easily in a one on one than in a large group. It may sound very odd to a “normal” extrovert, but I know the introverts out there will understand completely.
There is a marvelous book that explains Introverts in the most spectacular way. As I read it I feel so acknowledged for my weirdness, my "unsocial" behavior, my lack of wanting to go out. I’m “normal” for me. What a relief! Nothing odd about me, just my persona thrives on quiet. This bible for introverts is called (of all things!) QUIET – The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain.
It is comforting to know that our personality types are not a-typical, but because we are quiet, our traits are not as widely accepted as extroverts.
Most of society applauds the person that is confident, personable, chatty, friendly, and sociable. They think that type of person is a winner - successful, accomplished, someone that gets things done. That may be true - but the introverts are the ones that work behind the scenes - inventing, creating, discovering, researching…quietly. That is why we tend to like jobs that can be done at home, or in limited amounts of time with people. Not because we do not like people, we just function better with less social interaction.
Oh, yes, we can be rowdy, noisy, rambunctious in certain comfortable settings. We can be on stage and perform in front of hundreds of people easily. We can teach, lecture, conduct large groups comfortably, but when asked to go out to dinner, or a large party, or meet a bunch of new people there is a sense of panic, of feeling pressured, squeezed and boxed in.
I am fine when I have a gathering in my home, with people I know well, but to go to another person's place for a party is more difficult. I have to work myself up to it, even though the people are people I know and like! I will go, but usually after half an hour, I'm ready to leave. My poor husband has to deal with this and, bless the man; he has dealt with this graciously for more than 30 years. Trying to get me to go out to dinner is like an act of congress. Getting me to "socialize" is an act of God.
When I have had a full day of rehearsals, teaching, whatever that deals with people, the only thing I want to do is come home and be quiet. Not talk, not go out to dinner, not yak about my day. I need to recharge my spirit because I feel depleted by all the energy that went out, being with folks.
An extrovert will be challenged trying to understand this, (Unless you're married to an introvert who tries to explain it to you!)
Even when I have a party in my home, and I'm having a great time, I still need to "disappear" a few times to my room and close the door and just be alone - even for 5 minutes - before I can go back out and socialize. The day after a party - no matter how wonderful it has been, I am good for nothing. I need to be very quiet, I clean, I putter, I straighten, but please don't ask me to talk! I used up all my speaking words the night before!
I love my family, my dear friends, my work, my life – it’s all wonderful, and I am very blessed. Yet when my husband goes out for a chunk of time and I am able to have the house to myself, quietly, I am restored. It has nothing to do with him, and all to do with my nature, just the way my soul came into this body.
When I was growing up, I shared a room with my older sister who was the polar opposite of me. She loved to talk, incessantly. She loved to crank her radio up and listen to loud, noisy rock and roll. She always had something to say, and some place to go. I loved her dearly, but she drove me crazy. We survived, (well, she was fine, I just gritted my teeth and got through it,) but then when she married and moved out, for the first time in my life I had a room to myself and quiet! It was heaven! At last, I could come home from school, (which was exhausting enough to get through every day for a very shy girl like me) and go to my room, close the door, and just sit, regrouping, finding myself again.
Now as a grownup, with a home of my own, I am so grateful for where we live. Our house is almost at the end of a very long street, on a modest hill, with an open expanse of mountains, nurseries, trees and nature out behind. The sound at night is of crickets and frogs and an occasional coyote howl. There is no street noise, no freeway noise, no "city" noise. We have quiet neighbors, even, mostly, quiet dogs! The children of the neighborhood have grown up, and there are not even the blaring car radios or Saturday night parties. It is heavenly.
Home is my haven, my sanctuary of peacefulness. When I’m not running to and from work, or preparing for a job, I like to sit, write, read, knit or hand-bead something. I work on my music and revel in the energy I get from the stillness, the calm. It’s how I function best and how I get through the high energy jobs that require a lot of pep and verve… and I love those jobs! It’s just before and after that, my batteries recuperate with a strong dose of quietude. Ah….. Hear that? Nothing. Right. ‘Bye for now – I’m going to my happy place, or if you prefer, The Cone of Silence.