August in London is rather wonderful.
Simply, it’s very quiet.
Just listen to…nothing.
Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration!
But there is less noise, fewer frenetic drivers, more relaxed people, as everyone’s blood pressure drops a notch.
It’s calmer, a time to regroup, to catch up…even the email spammers seem to be taking a break.
I adore silence. Probably like many musicians.
This may seem strange.
But it’s really not.
For musicians, silence is the soil
into which we have to plant music;
we must nourish the soil, make sure it’s of good quality
so that our seeds will take root.
After all, it’s the intervals between notes, the spaces, that give music its shape.
It’s the rests, the pauses, that make sense of the sound.
And it’s silence that allows us to ‘hear’ our lives more clearly.
The notes I handle no better than many pianists.
But the pauses between the notes – ah, that is where the art resides.
Silence seems increasingly hard to find.
And we’re becoming unused to it.
So much so that many of us have become uncomfortable with it.
The quiet – the space it creates and our thoughts that emerge from it – unsettle us.
We find ways to distract ourselves from it.
Still, despite this distancing, we recognise that we need silence.
We’re looking for it in our personal lives, as evidenced in the rise of mindfulness.
And we’re starting to prioritise it in the workplace. For example, the ubiquitous open-plan office is becoming recognised as a great concept if you want to alienate introverts, reduce productivity, and use noise pollution to drive people crazy!
This desire for a quieter working environment isn’t some whinge from the oldies – it’s younger people who are seeking it the most.
A quiet working environment is top of millennials’ wish list!
So research shows us that silence is a necessary and wonderful thing.
Go on then!
Turn everything off, even just for five minutes.
And, wherever you are, have a lovely, quiet August.
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