Is it loud in here to you, too?

"Mom, look at this. Do I have sparkle on my eyes? Mom, is there glitter on my nose." Kennedy insists as I am driving on the highway to the grocery store this morning.

"I cannot look at your face right now; I'm driving." I've probably said this 312 times in her lifetime.

"Mom, can you turn up the music?......Daddy style." In her own precocious way, Kennedy labeled a very loud radio "Daddy style" which means no one can hear themselves think, let alone talk. Sometimes, I don't mind turning the music up so loud that I won't hear her when she asks me to turn around while I'm driving 70 miles an hour.

I use to tell my mom, "there is so much noise in my head." I seriously think she considered taking me to a doctor for medication to treat "the voices I heard." Fortunately, I understood that I wasn't hearing voices, but that my mind was feeling overloaded with noise: the literal noise that my ears hear from my families voices, the tv, the radio, and all of the people who I inevitably see at the grocery store. My mind stays busy interacting with all of these sounds.

I also feel the invasive energetic noise that intrudes from conversations all around me. I'm talking about the personalities on the tv and radio, and the obligatory greetings when I drive through Starbucks for my daily cup of an iced Oprah Chai Latte. I'm not advocating rudeness; I'm making the point that there is noise, literally around every corner.

I wonder, "How am I going to think about my own thoughts, when there is so much noise?" 

I know people that don't mind all of the noise. I watch them in awe. I discovered, though, that silencing the noise is a life saver for me. And this is no small discovery. When I'm able to hear nothing except birds having a conversation, water moving over the rocks, and trees moving in the wind, then I'm able to regain my sense of self. Gratitude is easier to access, and peace is granted.

Once I've listened to nothing except nature, I am more patient and understanding with my family and well, everyone, actually. I even think more clearly.

It's literally difficult for me to function without moments of silence throughout my day. Please don't misunderstand. There are many days when I wake up to a sweet little voice making a request and then I interact with people all day and fall asleep with the tv on. These noisy days are part of my life; however, when the  silent moments arise, I notice! I notice and savor. Sometimes, I actually get out of bed early so that I can sit on the front porch for a few minutes before anyone else wakes up. It's dreamy.

Today I noticed the silence, when I put the last cup of broth in the risotto and waited for it boil. I walked into our family room and saw Kennedy playing on the floor with her Barbies. She wasn't even making a sound. She was dressing them, moving them around and playing. I was inspired. It's fascinating for me to watch her play (as a spy, obviously - this would not work if she knew I was watching). She doesn't always need interaction. Sometimes, she dresses her barbies, moves them around and ....... well, I don't know what goes through her mind but she's joyful just playing.

When I'm hearing only the sounds of nature, I experience life without pressure, judgment, or anxiety. I'm free from the perceptions and boundaries that my mind identifies. In other words, I experience life"...on earth as it is in Heaven."

p.s. One of my favorite sounds in the whole world, is "Mommy" coming from a very special little girl.