I don’t think I have told you about my new friend, but sometime about a year ago a neighbor asked if I wanted to be introduced to her friend. She explained that they had literally grown up together, he now lives nearby, and was a cool guy. She went on to say the key words for me, “He is very active and smart.” She had me at that point but she added that he is an excellent tennis player, laid back, and a professional in the community. About a year later, he called and we went to lunch.
I know are wondering what took him so long, yeah, me too but my guess is he had a list of suitable women and I, simply, was nowhere near the top of the list! He is a widower and probably worked his way through casseroles of “the willing and hopeful.”
So here we are several months later, having fun together. An added bonus is that we are a good mixed doubles team, filling a missing piece in my life. Recently our weekend was jam-packed with a black tie affair, a mixed doubles event, and Sunday brunch with friends. After the brunch we decided to take a much-needed break and relax poolside. It was one of the most quiet times we had spent together in several months. There was little conversation. We both had books and buried our heads into them. It was just us and thankfully no one came along to disrupt the quiet. Every once in a while I glanced over and saw that he was relaxed and happy to be just where he was at that moment, poolside, quiet, and with me. I kept wanting to say something about nothing, disrupting the quiet, but instead I told myself, “Shhhhhh!”
No surprise to you, I am not good with silence, never was. I usually fill the empty air with words about something practically mindless. But not last weekend, I didn’t compete with the silence, I embraced it. And I learned, in keeping with the words of Ram Dass,
“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”
I learned a lot that afternoon by “shhhhhhh-ing.” I learned that I do not have to entertain every moment. I do not have to constantly organize an activity, or fill others in on my every thought. I do not need to always take on the responsibility for humor, nor do I need to always be the knowledgeable one. And further, I certainly do not need to be the resident therapist. On this particular afternoon, I just needed to be quiet. I was quiet and I heard a whole lot more.
Women with high SUCCESSTROGEN know when to speak and when to be quiet. They know when to make noise and rev things up, and when to just be and hear what the silence has to say. Embracing silence is obviously another area of opportunity for me.
“The quieter you are, the more you can hear.” That afternoon, pool side, in the quiet, I heard comfort and peace and I look forward to hearing more of that from my friend. Last week while I sat quietly in the back of the classroom observing my students giving their presentations, I “heard” the hopes, fears, and challenges of those presenting as well as those of the silent students observing alongside of me. I heard the quiet. With my children and their children, I need to enjoy the quiet more often so I don’t miss what I need to hear.
Have you heard the quiet lately? Shhhhhh, can you hear it now?