When I was in college, I was a champion procrastinator. One of the most productive forms of procrastinating came in the form of ironing my just-washed pants and shirts. Before the days of cable television in each dorm room, I would often iron in silence, watching the wrinkles vanish before my eyes, and creating uniform crisp creases. The sounds of hissing, misting, and the bursts of steam were all very tranquil.
Once the dorms were wired with cable, I took to multi-tasking: watching TV while ironing, sometimes there was even a headset involved and I would talk on the phone and iron (craziness!, I know). The peaceful and repetitive motion of ironing clothes allowed me to relax and watch the game or a sitcom. Post college the idea of watching TV and ironing continued.
The other night by chance I found my self ironing some clothes for the next day in silence- “not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.” There was a desire to fire up Netflix, but I ironed in silence. The quiet meditation of ironing. How often do you get a chance to be in utter silence?
We may not all have the ability to take a vow of silence for an extended period of time, but do we allow ourselves to quiet the noises around and just “be” or just “listen?” Do our souls and mind need to be fed with flashing lights, swiping of screens, and all the artificial soundtrack of our days?
Kids, children, and teens do not require the latest electronic device or tech device to stimulate their minds. How often are kids happy to play with blocks, Lego, or the cardboard box? The idea of free play, playing creatively with what’s around, is plenty stimulating and equally exciting as anything electronic if enough time is given. It’s very rare to meet a person who does not like to sit down and manipulate a pile of Play Doh, or do some coloring.
Recently a friend of mine returned from a 9 day silence (no talking) and meditation retreat. That sounded intense but it caused me to wonder. . . How long have I gone without speaking? Without consuming some form of media? What about you?
*photo credit: Innovations World