in pursuit of silence

Over the weekend, I got into a bit of a funk.

I couldn’t put my finger on it at first, and I had a couple of drinks Friday night so I figured it might just be a mild hang over. It had some familiar feelings, mainly just sort of a dullness or lack of mental sharpness.

So on Saturday I decided to hole up in my apartment, venturing out only to see a documentary called In Pursuit of Silence at the local theater.

The movie argues that noise pollution in our day-to-day life is prohibiting us from experiencing the natural benefits (and maybe biological requirements) of quiet contemplation. It even goes so far as to point to the medical evidence of physiological harm done by noise pollution.

I’m totally guilty of this. If I’m going for a run, I’ll listen to a podcast. If I’m driving, I’ll turn on an audiobook. I even listen to music in the shower. There is always some sort of background noise.

But that’s not the only kind of “noise” that I distract myself with.

There’s the constant stream of notifications and content on social media. I’ll suddenly become aware that I’m scrolling, or I’m switching between tabs, or I’m refreshing a page.

So this weekend I tried to pursue some more silence myself. I spent most of the time Saturday, Sunday, and Monday hanging out in my apartment reading, or cleaning, or doing a little bit of work. I stopped putting on background music. I went for a run without my headphones.

And honestly, it was kind of unsettling. I feel like my “funk” actually deepened (though, I also realized Saturday that I was actually getting sick so that’s likely a big part of it). And though I felt calmness from my environment, I felt more restless internally.

As a friend of mine put perfectly into words, I had a constant cognitive dissonance between “You’re sick, you should rest up” and “This extended weekend is a gift, you should be getting things done.” I’ve written about this negative internal monologue before.

Whatever the cause, the solution isn’t more “noise.” So for the time being, I’ve signed out of social media, deleted those apps, turned my phone into Grayscale (it helps for making it less addictive), and put it on Do Not Disturb.

I realized I’m entering what my coach calls a “winter” season. There’s nothing wrong with winter. We all go through winter, but it’s a time of investigation, letting go of things that don’t work, and building your core strength. ┬áBut it can definitely feel cold.


Hey, can I have your email address? I will only send you more articles like this one.