Searching for Silence
Author’s note: This was a very difficult post for me to write, because it is deeply personal and highly emotional. It took me a lot of courage to write it. There is hope in the end, I promise! And presents, too.
Searching for silence
In today’s hectic lifestyle, silence and tranquility are a special gift. However, you only truly appreciate this gift, once you lose it.
I know what that is like, because I have lost this precious gift. . . . The beauty of silence.
I have been living with tinnitus for 7 years now, and even though, I have found a way to cope with it, I never accepted the loss of tranquility. The thought of never ever hearing silence again, is very saddening. I have been searching for it ever since . . .
While I always enjoyed quiet and peaceful environments, such as feeling the summer breeze in the meadows or looking out on a peaceful lake, I never consciously cared enough to appreciate them for what they are. A source of rest and healing.
At night, when the house is quiet and there is no noise from the traffic outside, I lie awake hearing the nerve-wracking noises that fill my ears and my head. I wish there was a switch to turn them off, for ever. But there isn’t. I cried myself to sleep on many nights.
When my girls were little, I used to stand beside their beds, listening, whether their breathing was normal, so I could go to bed, knowing they were ok. After tinnitus entered my life, like a curse, I used to stand beside their beds, crying, because the noises in my ears were too loud for me to hear my girls› breathing.
There is no cure for tinnitus. I have researched and tried a few odd methods, believe me. (If you know of any that actually help, please, let me know!) The thought of living with this strange phenomenon 24 hours a day until the rest of my life is challenging. The fact, that people can’t see the suffering behind my smile, takes even more strength to accept.
Living with tinnitus on a daily basis means, that I have to have constant noise around me. Everyday-sounds of the people around me or music that overpowers the annoying sounds in my ears. Despite all the distraction, they’re always there, unconciously bothering the brain, thus creating a continuous state of tension for the mind. And there is nowhere to hide from them.
Finding silence through photography
As I waited in bed at night, for sleep to rescue me from the nerve-wracking sounds in my head, I came up with the idea to look at photographs, so I would get tired faster. Every night, I went to bed with my iPad and scrolled through hundreds of images, until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. After a few months of this bedtime routine, I made a remarkable observation.
My brain was so busy processing the content of the images I looked at, that it shifted the main focus of attention to the visual stimuli, that way ignoring the useless messages, that my ears were sending. The result was, that I could be in a totally quiet room, looking at photographs, but not realizing the sounds in my ears, because they were irrelevant to my brain. It was distracted from the actual problem. It had something much more important to concentrate on. Photographs.
I had actually found a way to reprogram my brain to concentrate on the visual information it was getting, while ignoring the acoustic signals. This has been my bedtime routine ever since. It works at night, but what about daytime? Ambient noise and music are mostly distracting me during the day.
The fact, however, that photographs have this magical effect on the brain, leads to the simple conclusion, that photography, in general, should have a meditative effect on our mind. Firstly, of course, we can chose a tranquil environment from the start, making the whole experience peaceful in itself. Then, there is the intent, to photograph consciously, which includes taking time to chose the right subject, the perfect composition and to experiment with different exposures for different effects.
Photography is a very personal form of art, allowing everyone, to express their own views of the world. The journey to finding your own magical image is the very process, that lets you forget about time, space and distractions. It is a form of meditation and has, in my opinion, a healing effect on the mind.
It has worked for me, for years. So, if you, or someone close to you, is suffering from tinnitus, depression, burn-out, or any other related conditions, why not try photography, and see if it makes a difference in your daily life.
As promised, here is a special gift from me to you.
This month’s desktop calendar and wallpaper are devoted to silence and tranquility. They are a reminder to cherish silence and be consciously still to honor its power.
Please, download and cherish them. (For personal use only. They may not be resold!) Click the images below to download. The calendar and wallpaper image will open in a new window. You can then save them to your own computer and add the one you prefer to your homescreen. Enjoy and share with anyone who could use some peace & quiet. Thank you!
If you like, you can share your own story in the comments below. I do appreciate caring comments and discussions on this or related topics.
And remember to take time to be still . . .
With Love, Monika