Singers sure do love to make noise, don’t we? It isn’t just talking either. Have you ever noticed how much groups of singers like to clap? Above average noise-makers, that’s who we are. With that in mind, think about the amount of time each day in which you are absolutely surrounded by sound. Yesterday, your challenge was to wake up early. I also asked, what in the world will you do with that time? It’s not like you will be singing Queen of the Night while making scrambled eggs. Day 12‘s challenge is just one option for what to do with your early morning time: practice the phenomenon of quietness.
As anyone who has sat in the audience for Cage’s 4’33” will tell you, active quietness does equate with silence. It is rather an opportunity to examine the sounds occurring in the present. So called “silent pieces” are characterized as music in that the sounds that do occur during the structured time must be listened to as music. It is easy to rush, rush, rush and some people are deeply troubled by practicing active quietness but this experience can be a wellspring for your creative energies. Take some time during your new earlier mornings to experience all sounds as music and incorporate that sense into the rest of your day.
“The poet from Split a century ago wrote: ‘Oh solitude blessed you are, and blessing you’re yourself’, referring to the silence that from the natural environment pervades a man and puts him back in contact with himself, in a way close to primordial one. However, the solitude, especially associated with calm or silence, may be desired and requested, but also unwanted and imposed; it can be easy or difficult to bear, constructive or destructive, the expression of free choice, or the expression of a lack of freedom.”– Ivan Urlić
Many artists are prone to perfectionism and therefore judge themselves and their creative processes harshly. Practicing moments of quietness every morning may help you re-focus your energies on the motion, the relaxing repetition of our art form. Tapping into “the breath” is our most zen-like practice and where would we be without it? As you are soaking up some early morning rays today, challenge yourself to practice active quietude and stillness so that you can concentrate on your breath. How would you approach your career if each morning started with this type of mindfulness? How would your brain tackle complex challenges, like becoming a top-tier diva, if your brain could work beyond the dash through your morning routine?
“Amy Cheng, Professor of Studio Art at State University of New York at New Paltz, sees the inherent connection between the arts and mindfulness. ‘Our ultimate goal in my course is to find the writing strategies that, like meditation, help us to tap the intuitive creative functions of the right brain: to think in complex images rather than in sequential order, to see the whole as well as the parts, to grasp interconnections, correspondences, resemblances, and nuances rather than the bits and pieces and linear, logical patterns.’ Her students looked at three aspects of creativity in a meditative context: making something new, original, or unexpected; renewing or sustaining what already exists; healing and making things whole.” – Mirabai Bush
One of the first steps in stopping the cycle of mindless busyness is practicing mindfulness. Give it a try this morning, my little chickadees.