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Thread: Daily Bread

  1. #251
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    WS: I really enjoy your perspective on things so hope you don't stay gone for long)

  2. #252
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Fifty days or so ago I approached a vast new undiscovered territory .....silence. Pausing long enough to enter in, I did so expecting to learn new things about myself, which I did and I am. But what was unexpected was the rediscovery of long forgotten joys. One of those joys is the simplicity of being myself. Disconnecting from constantly creating an “interesting” person for others to see, from immersing myself in the quick pace of social media, disconnecting .....that has been a joy.

    It has allowed me to investigate my participation in consuming and producing. What and why do I consume? What and why do I produce? Is it possible to live happily with less of both? I began to see that a lot of what is described as an engaged lifestyle is simply attempting to be busy and accessible to everyone and everything at every moment. Not letting technology be an end in itself but seeing what technology is, the way we interact with it and it’s relationship with real people. Detachment helps me keep from making a sacrament of technology.

    Instead of the technology being a useful tool, we become its resource to the custodians of it. We voluntarily expend hours providing the raw materials for other people to use to enhance their wealth. Their wealth does not ooze up from the pavement. Being available at all times is certainly a nice feature for others but is it for you? Can we disconnect, turn off our smartphones, sit quietly in a room by ourselves, without any distraction, breathe and listen for direction? Or do we need to constantly search for a loud voice to guide us through our day?

    Are we looking for answers in the form of symbolic hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, fires or tragedy.....or will a whisper that comes in quiet contemplation be our guide? The good news for me is that silence can be created almost anywhere and thus far hasn’t been monetized. I am wealthy as long as I can become an island unto myself for long enough to get a compass reading and go on.

    As a kid I was exposed to simple mountain music. Certainly, lacking in technical prowess or trained musicianship... “old timey” music was not cutting edge technology. I can relate to simplicity in almost any realm. Music is often thought about in terms of what fills up the air but music would be nothing but noise without periods of silence. Pauses between the notes often set up anticipation. In a way, subtraction from the main theme enhances the work. Often, it is the notes that are not played that make a world of difference.

    This anticipation translates to our living but without the quiet interludes, pauses and behind the beat syncopation....we cannot fully appreciate the music when it comes. I have only scratched the surface and yet it has made a stark difference in my perception of sound and my ability to be guided by a “still small voice” that can only appear with the silence. And in truth, there is really no such thing as total silence. Even in the quietest of settings, my heart still beats, the blood rushes through my veins and my breathing is perceptible. It is the quiet rhythm of life that is the baseline for all the sounds that layer on top. So silence then is not nothing. Silence is a great something. It is a great help to stop looking outside yourself and turn inward. Silence makes that possible.

    Some simple old timey music ........


  3. #253
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Insightful observations, WS. I find I need silence and solitude to get my ideas and then go exploring them.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  4. #254
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    It is ironic -- or, perhaps, designed -- that silence also makes what is said that much more powerful.

    Thank you, williamsmith. Nice to see you back, even if briefly.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  5. #255
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveinMN View Post
    It is ironic -- or, perhaps, designed -- that silence also makes what is said that much more powerful.

    Thank you, williamsmith. Nice to see you back, even if briefly.
    My opinion is that silence is misunderstood as a less effective communication than words. But it’s my experience that words however incitful they might be will always set boundaries within which ideas become trapped. What cannot be accurately said, is often best left blank. As a counselor, sitting quietly with a crestfallen person is often a better help than offering up words of solace. I understand that the meaning of life is being sought in books and communication. But I believe silence and quietness can be a more effective way to discover it, despite the current which runs against feelings versus science and philosophy. Perhaps in the last fifty days before my latest post.....by not saying anything.....I have learned more by being quiet than if I’d thrown thousands of letters at the blank page.

    “What we cannot speak about, we must pass over in silence.”

    Ludwig Wittgenstein

  6. #256
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    Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.
    Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

    Proverbs 17:28

  7. #257
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    We hadn’t intended on doing anything but subtraction this weekend. Subtraction in the sense of dumping a few hundred pounds of stuff my son left with us when he moved to Texas. Our good fortune came in the form of a house that sold in Springfield, Ohio and one that was purchased in Houston, Texas by the same couple. That couple being my son’s father and mother in -law. Which gave me an idea. Would they be willing to ship my sons stuff with their moving company?

    I hummed and whistled while I staged all the crap in the garage that my son left behind. The yearbooks, the pictures, baseball cards, trophies, bats, balls, gloves, clothing, shoes, graduation gown, a television, a lamp and Christmas themed China a friend gave him. It was going to be a nice load and free up needed space in my storage challenged condo. We packed it all up in our SUV Friday night. I stood in amazement suddenly aghast at what this would probably look like to the in laws. The only thing we lacked was grandmas rocking chair strapped to the rooftop luggage rack.

    Well, we won’t be seeing much of them anyway. Sometimes it sucks to be on the receiving end. The wife commented weakly that it really wasn’t all that overpowering a burden and that they had volunteered so it sort of soothed my feelings enough to start humming and whistling again thinking about how their loss was my gain......in a subtraction sort of way.

    We arranged to meet them at their “sale pending” residence in Springfield some time in the afternoon Saturday and headed out. It kinda bothered me that the car seemed a little sluggish and sat lower than usual but I got over it by the time we crossed the Pennsylvania/Ohio line. We planned to stay in a hotel and bum around some antique stores in the area on Sunday. About half way into the five hour trip we stopped at a rest area and ate some leftover baked chicken picnic style. On my way back to the car I thought it prudent to check the tire pressure.....just in case.

    About that time the in laws called and offered to meet us for dinner about an hour toward our direction in order to save us some driving time. What a considerate couple! I had to convince them that it would be best to just offload my sons junk right into their garage. I went down the list of inventory and explained that we probably didn’t want to be handling it twice. While it was a very true statement.....the silence on the other end of the phone made we wish I would have given them a heads up if you will. Oh well, like I said, we won’t be seeing much of them again.

    So we showed up around about the agreed time and literally “dumped” the stuff sheepishly into their garage. They even helped unload. When they told me that the move was estimated to cost them up to ten thousand dollars I almost choked. I had moved from my four bedroom ranch to a condo for not much more than $200 and that included the meal I served to everyone that help.

    They werent able to make us dinner and I was thankful of that. Didn’t want to take advantage of them. We ate out at a really nice place and then drove to a quaint little town called Yellow Springs. Actually, it was more like a safari where you ride around and the guide points out the zoo animals. Yellow Springs got its start in the 1800s as a utopian religious commune and has lived up to its heritage to this day. This is a town where almost everyone you’d talk to over the age of 65 would claim they were at Woodstock in the summer of 1969. The movies showing at the theatre were “Selma”, a documentary on Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Carl Marx. I’m open minded but the stall door doesn’t open that wide. I did want to stop at the tie Dyed t-shirt place and get one with a peace sign but it was closed.

    I kept my eyes peeled for Dave Chappelle, the controversial African American comedian who resides here. I kind of wanted to see if he was real. Lots of interesting people come from this town including the Chairman of the Communist Party USA. I kept imaging how exciting it would have been to live here during the McCarthy Era. Yes, it was a quaint little pot smoking town with a small communist problem.

    Im not casting aspersions. I realize my own shortcomings and contradictions. I’m a minimalist that has to set number limitations on my book and record collections. I’m a pacifist with a short explosive temper. I step on the scale every morning and pull into an ice cream stand every night. I don’t watch or listen to the news much because I’m convinced it’s all just fear mongering but I have cache of weapons and ammo that an Idaho survivalist would be proud of.

    I thought the Springfield/Dayton Ohio area was a fine place to visit and probably a great place to live. But as I drove home on Sunday and as my SUV seemed to effortlessly accelerate onto the Interstate I thought it was kinda nice at least one couple thought it was time to leave.


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