Noise

Podcasts and Petals and Quiet

I’m trying to get in a gym routine. I met with a personal trainer – you get two free sessions when you sign up – and I now have a weight training card with exercises I’m supposed to do. Those cards sit still and wait for me in the filing cabinet under the stairs.

Lifting weights still intimidates me.

My comfort zone often places me on the elliptical, feet staying stationary while my legs and arms pump me towards imaginary miles while I watch shitty t.v. shows or worse.

The news.

When I go to the gym at 5:30 pm, ten t.v. screens flash with world news updates.

Blech.

Horrible news flickers across the screens. Volcanoes erupting. Draughts happening. Teenagers arrested. Meth houses making babies sick. Politics – a circus. I channel the absurdity on these screens and pump my arms faster – if I run fast enough on a stationary machine, maybe all the madness will stop.

I’ve been at this looking for good thing long enough to know fixating on the fear and negative doesn’t help. It’s like me on that machine – all that energy exerted and in reality I haven’t gone anywhere.

Instead, a list of gratitude for the quiet, beautiful things.

Some weeks, it’s just that simple. For this week:

  • Bourbon Milkshakes – yup that’s a thing – who needs a margarita on Cinco de Mayo when you can have something from this menu instead? The sound of ice cream slurping up a paper straw
  • Hearing your recorded voice – I’m tickled that Hello Humans allowed me to record what I’ve learned in the last two years on this podcast – listen to the first few minutes
  • Lilacs – they smell so amazing – I want to go on a sneaky lilac hunting adventure through the park and find extra sprigs to cut and stick in a mason jar. If you have extras – let me know
  • Pink petals falling from blooming trees – they grace the sidewalk and make me feel like God is preparing where I walk like I’m a bride walking down the aisle
  • Spring rain storms
  • Food in the fridge — water flowing from my sink — the stove turns on with the press of a button
  • Facetime – for phone calls with loved ones
  • Taking risks – the worst that can happen is they ignore you – good news when they find out they aren’t, in fact ignoring you
  • Flannel sheets
  • Breezes coming in through the window as I fall asleep

 

What good and quiet things can you find? What do you do to drown out all the noise of the bad?

 

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Noise

I have always identified as an introvert. Give me a glass of wine and a movie on most Friday nights and I am incredibly content. I am sensitive to other people’s struggles, and at times, prefer to just avoid humanity. Quiet please.

That is where my soul restores.

noise

As a more ‘sensitive’ individual, I flock to the people who like to give noise a bad rep. We say that our world is full of noise – conflicting messages, messy business, soul-sucking meh that makes the important things blur away. This week, however, I’ve been thinking about the beauty and benefits of the mixture of sounds that create feelings of importance.

Loud voices in my head keep reminding me that I am alive in my new challenges. The cacophony of the rumbling thought waves need to be reminded to turn the confidence up. I yell at my inner-critics to shut up.

This weekend we tromped through massive drifts of white powder on another snow shoeing adventure. The noise of the wind whipping through the massive pine trees brought grounding and connection to forces bigger than myself. The loud, whistling branches sprayed stinging snow against my face suggesting that their noise may be less than gentle. If we take the time to observe all of the forces creating our surroundings, noise can be reassuring. As trees grow, bend, and sway, even nature groans messages inviting us to participate in the process of being alive.

And tonight, as I sit here and wait for the countdown to kick off for Super Bowl 50, I am tickled by the noise created when family gathers together around chicken wings, and beer, and pride in a football team. The yelling has yet to commence, but I know that my father-in-law is going to start pacing here pretty soon. Noises of excitement, of solidarity, of celebration for the kind of energy connection that only American sports can provide.

Perhaps it is trite to compare the decibel created in forests to those created by hundreds of thousands of Americans at a football game. For someone who takes comfort in quiet situations, I ask this week, what is the benefit of noise? The blending of crashes, voices, sizzling of preparing food, conversations to be had, or the gentle roll of a tear down our cheeks. Noise, this week, makes me feel beautiful.

soundwave

In her series “Sound Form Wave,” Ukrainian designer Anna Marinenko draws a fresh comparison between visualized sound waves and jaggedly oscillating patterns in our natural environments.