The Gifts of Silence

A cough has taken my voice, but not my inner peace and soothing self-care.

Posted in , Feb 13, 2017

Soothing self-care on a sick day.

“Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom,” said the Renaissance-era philosopher Francis Bacon.

This quote speaks to me powerfully today—I have a cold that has left me without much of a voice. Though I did not choose to have a day of silence, silence has chosen me. And it doesn’t take too much effort to recognize its gifts.

For one thing, the need to be silent allows me a break from high standards of what I “have to” accomplish today. Though I try to make every day worthwhile on a number of levels, I often feel like I fall short, failing to meet my full potential and make the most significant contribution possible. But without the ability to make phone calls, sit in meetings, or even chat with friends, I am forced to let go of the expectations I place on myself. If I just had a “regular” cold with a stuffy nose, I’d power through my day as usual. Without a voice, though, I have no choice but to take the day to rest—in silence.

Luckily, this happened on a Monday, when my son is in school, my husband at work, and my job not on urgent deadline. Here in this peaceful, quiet state, I am free to just be good company to myself, without judgment or expectation, listening only to what my body tells me it needs to rejuvenate and heal.

Read More: Cleansing the Spirit

I can luxuriate and find comfort in my other senses—the soothing flow of warm tea in my throat, the smooth feel of soft sheets against my fingertips, and the whisper of a chilly wind safely swirling outside my warm window. I can also reflect on Bacon’s notion of sleep as a source of nourishment, having the wisdom to know that caring for my body during a silent, restful day will soon reconnect me with my strong, proud, and joyful voice. 

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