Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sadness, Silence & C.K.

Weird that I'm finally digging into Susan Cain's book Quiet the same week Louis CK goes viral talking about how so many of us can't be alone and quiet. The thing I love most about him is how he takes a profound point and wraps it in funny.

The riff is more then just social commentary it is also a big red flag pointing us to a huge issue that affects everything from our health- both mental and physical- to the breakdown of our families. Rushing around, constant stimulation, screens vs faces is the new smoking. Distracted living and not being able to be quiet and process our lives is not only bad for us but is horrendous for our kids. I remember when I was growing up playing too much Pong was considered bad now look how kids need hyper color, motion, noise coming at them all the time. Seriously, when was the last time you actually saw a teen or even a 30 year old having a real undistracted conversation; no, everyone is looking down at or into a screen, even when they are sitting next to someone they love.

Quiet talks a lot about relentless outside stimulus being too much for most introverts but I think all of us are overstimulated and are numb to the effects it is having. And if we're not getting quiet we're definitely not letting ourselves feel what our minds and bodies are processing either. People would be surprised how quiet my life is most of the time. I am very outgoing and extroverted in social settings because I enjoy the interaction but most of my days are quiet. I love silence and never have a radio or tv on when I'm reading, writing, or working on a project. Actually too much motion, noise, or stimulus gives me a headache and makes me a bit nauseous.

What about you? When was the last time you thought about how your environment and habits are affecting you?

Engagement in life now vs even 20 years ago is remarkably different and I don't think for the better. We busy and distract ourselves to the point of numbing our minds and bodies to everyday thinking and feeling. Sadness is not a bad thing if we can sit with it, process, and then utilize what our feelings enlighten us to. But if we are constantly distracting ourselves how will we ever get to feel and be in touch with ourselves and our joy let alone really be there for and with others?

I don't want to move to Walden Pond or poo-poo technology and all that it brings into our lives but I think we need to text less, call more or even better yet see each other in person with no phones in sight. Turn down the noise and tune into our emotions and build some quiet time into our days. Everyone will have a different ratio of silence that works for them but I think we could all benefit from taking the prescription from a comedian and get more silence, sadness and Springsteen into our lives*.

Side notes: Met Susan Cain at an event I attended last January at 37singals (which is a beautiful space btw). She is lovely- if you ever get a chance to hear her speak you should go. 

*My favorite sad Springsteen songs: Streets of PhiladelphiaInto The Fire

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