The Smell of my Silence

Let’s play the Quiet Game, the teachers say.

Some people are always playing, and for some, it’s not a game at all.

There is a blank space in my silence.  It is filled with nothingness, and no one, and it has the foul odor of negligence.  It is the scent of a forgotten dish rag lingering in an empty room, and the mere echo of laughter in an empty schoolyard.  I am an extrovert and my silence is just me, turned inside out.  It is the scaly insides of my skin and the messy running of my guts, pouring over desperate fingers, melting into salty tears.

Not all quiets are so abandoned or disarranged.

There is a fairy tale in his silence, for instance.  A tall castle sprouts from the middle, perched on a bean stalk,  grown from a magical garden of rapunzel lettuce.  There is a witch there, but every time the silence happens, she grows smaller– and her ownership of the land recedes.  Better storyland creatures are taking over.  The goblins are reading, the dwarves are whistling, and the thumb-sized faerie  has moved in with the old lady in the shoe.  He is an introvert and, in a silence, he can build an entire planet or trample an old city down.

Quiet is made of guts and glory, magic and madness– but the measurements of each ingredient are up to each of us.

My blend is made mostly from madness.

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I was working on posting less this year, but I don’t know if that’ll really work out. The scheduled silence of my blog over the last two days reminded me of how cranky the Quiet Game used to make me. I was speaking to Dave about it, and he had fond memories of that game.

Did you enjoy the Quiet Game? What is your silence made of?

93 thoughts on “The Smell of my Silence

  1. In my experience there is a kind of “sound barrier” that I reached when I was letting my activity level come down some. I always felt uncomfortable until I came down below that level – and then something happened – that turned into something much more alive than my usual habitual activity. Hard to say more about it with words, but I read your post with interest. Happy New Year! tomas ♥

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    1. I understand this entirely. It’s the difficult thing to explain when describing meditation. It’s reaching right below your obvious silence and settling into your own personal mind. I think it’s just harder for me to settle to that core… for people like my introvert husband, it’s a breeze. 🙂

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      1. I found it comforting just to “know” that there is that stable place you call your personal mind. I am not an introverted person, but I do have a love for that contemplative state where I can just observe happenings and things without being caught up in them as the actor. I like the metaphor of the artist painting a landscape and then painting him/herself onto the canvas into which his/her consciousness then merges, just for the fun of it. It then becomes again playful as that image in the picture once again realizes that he or she is actually the painter and is free to create this personal life any way we want. 😀

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  2. my silence is made of words.
    my silence is my resting place.
    my silence is where I come from.
    my silence is my center, an
    empty center that makes all
    fullness possible, a singularity
    of possibility and change.

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  3. I loved the Quiet Game. Unfortunately, my extroverted sibling didn’t.

    Silence for me is color, but not bright. More muted, broad strokes and swaths, slowly layering on atop another and again. (Typing that out, I realize it sounds like a screensaver, but it works for me.) When the silence is broken, the colors just end and I have to adjust to the sudden change.

    Introverts find their energy in silence or being alone, even if for a few minutes. It makes sense color is in mine since that also plays a huge part in helping me re-energize or adjust my mood.

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    1. I love the description of your silence! I enjoy the quiet moments of my mind, too– though they sound less colorful. I think it was the forced silence that bugged me. 🙂 I don’t think I find energy in my silence, though… perhaps only “clarity”. 🙂

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  4. I loved the quiet game! I remember the first time I played and I thought it was the most fun game ever. Ah if you post less I have some time to catch with your posts 😉 I think silence is like a chocolate chip cookie.. delicious at times but you can’t have to much of it.. 😀

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    1. 😀 Ha! You were probably one of the lucky ones building a world in your mind. Meanwhile, I was the one trying to remember all the stuff I was going to say as soon as I could, 🙂 I’m grateful to the wonderfully artistic ideas that your silences reward you with! 🙂

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    1. Forced silence is the worst! But I do appreciate stillness, and healing/meditative quiets. I think I just so often need to express that any silence becomes a sort of stiflement. Thank you for reading and pondering with me. 🙂

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  5. I seem to have two modes: silence and nonstop talking. Not much in between. Garry, on the other hand, prefers silence. But then again, he has serious hearing difficulties and I think that has a lot ot do with it.

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  6. My silence is listening to my heart. My silence is shutting out all the things that are external and just listening to the internal. I’m a mix of introvert and extrovert. I love having my quiet moments and use them to recharge myself. I use it to meditate and take count of what my body wants to say. I use it for healing. I have to have them or I get down. But in turn I can be an extrovert to a degree if need be. Much prefer the introvert though. In silence I can hear many things.

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    1. I am also a fan of healing or meditative silences. Though I think it’s because they are focused on a certain sound or pitch– hard to explain, but if you told me to “heal”… I’d sit still and listen for a specific sound. Nothing quite as grandiose as what Dave or you hear in silences, though. 😀

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  7. Love the quiet game, and think I should be able to play more than allowed. My silence is made up of conversations and arguments that never happen. My silence lets me blow steam off.

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    1. Then it seems, in this, you are much like my husband. 😀 No wonder I like introverts– I like shiny things, and you’re made of golden silences. It all makes sense. 😀

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  8. My silence can be content purring or screaming unheard agony. It sounds the same to the untrained ear. Thankfully I’ve a good listener who has learned to hear my silences and be there if necessary.

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    1. I am grateful for the trained-ears of my silences, too. Thank you, Tric. That was a beautiful thought to share and it’s been added to my gratitude journal today so I never forget. 🙂

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  9. As an extrovert, I don’t enjoy the quiet game. My silence is made of worry and anxiety. But sometimes, it’s the comfort of being with a close friend, rekindling of fond memories or enjoying the moment for what it is.

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    1. Oh yes, the silence of companionable friendship somehow crosses the extrovert/introvert boundaries. We all love that, I think! 😀 Thanks for reading, Nadia!

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  10. My silences, lately, have been made up of healing and getting my health back, introspection, and setting goals for this new year: build my blog presence, get my book published, write. I love when you speak Rara, but respect your silences as well. 😉

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            1. Haha! I wish I could say that it’s the first time I accidentally complimented someone’s boobs today, but nope… I had a busy day of misspoken words. Not that you don’t have great breasts, I’m sure you do, ha! Just that I was dazzled by your goals. 🙂

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            2. Haha! I wish I could say that it’s the first time I accidentally complimented someone’s boobs today, but nope… I had a busy day of misspoken words. Not that you don’t have great breasts, I’m sure you do, ha! Just that I was dazzled by your goals. 🙂

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  11. I loved the quiet game. It was the only time I could think. Then I realized how loud my mind is. & I longed to silence that sometimes too. I didn’t truly blossom until I was able to harness that noise from within.
    Now, it’s a pretty cool superpower. 😉

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    1. I really do think that’s the trick– learning how to manage the noise inside your mind. I think it’s just that all the noise inside my head likes to come out right away… 🙂

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    1. 😀 Thank you, Hunt! The QuietGame is when someone (usually an adult) says “Let’s find out who can stay quiet the longest”– and then all the players (usually kids) stay completely silent until someone loses the game (usually me, :)) xo!

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  12. I enjoyed the Quiet Game; my brother, not so much. My problem is I sometimes spend too much time in my head and then there are no more thoughts to think — all the planets have been created and subsequently eaten; cities were built and destroyed; faeries flitted about and then burned in the sun because suddenly they were vampires, and it left my head a vacuum.
    So I just listened to the silence.

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  13. I am an extrovert and my silence is just me, turned inside out.

    I guess I understand better how you just crank out post after post.

    I enjoy people well enough, but I’m definitely an introvert. I need that silence, that alone time, to recharge my internal batteries. Bad things happen if I ignore that.

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    1. 🙂 Ha, yes! If you knew me in offline life, you’d also recognize it as the reason I can keep chatter up for hours. 😀

      Most true introverts require inward-recharging– it’s important not to overlook that. 🙂

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  14. Love this post. I don’t know the quiet game. Even though I’m an introvert, I’ve always had voices in my head (yeah that sounded sane)…lol. I don’t think I would have liked it.

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      1. The QuietGame is when someone (usually an adult) says “Let’s find out who can stay quiet the longest”– and then all the players (usually kids) stay completely silent until someone loses the game (usually me, 🙂 )

        It’s true… I’m not sure there is a thing as “silence” as we define it. 🙂

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  15. I have no silences. My favorite silence is birdsong or a fire cracking and warming up. True silence is so rare. In my head, there are always whispers of something.

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    1. Oh yes, it’s the whispers that get to me. I like to turn whispers into rawrs! 🙂 I think my husband enjoys the peace of them… but you’re right. There’s so very few real silences! 🙂

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  16. My silence is a dark place where I go to feed the beast… No one is safe when I emerge from this place… so better to keep me talking. on a lighter note, I am not interested in Rarasaur having scheduled silences!! If it’s for your family or health I understand, but I look forward to your daily offerings.

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    1. That’s pretty much how I feel. If I settle too long in non-structured silence (like meditation or healing), I’m only feeding the insanity. Expression is my saving grace. 🙂 And no, it’s not for my health or family or any real purpose at all… so I’m glad you enjoy the daily offerings because it seems that what will be will be. 😀 Thanks, Sreejit!

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  17. the messy running of my guts – ooer I loved that line.
    Silence for me… I wish – my silent time – is listening to relaxing meditative music, lying down and letting my mind close off…sadly doesn’t happen often enough …oh well my fault – as I could make it happen more… x

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  18. Silence = My kids are up to something or asleep. 😉
    Love the sounds of the world and I immerse myself fully until I want nothing of it anymore then I retreat to hear myself think. Then I get bored . It’s a cycle for me.

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  19. As a person who rarely had much to do with other “little” people, when I did finally have the chance…happened to have been for school…I used to love to have my voice heard, the teacher of course had discipline in mind though…I mean 6 year olds might run amok and the world would fall all to bits with their noisy chatter. So, she first tried humiliating me having al the class imitate me, then of course there was the corner for noisy kids…finally the silence game. By the second grade I’d learned that you you don’t talk in school…and besides why would you want to. I still have a talker iside me and you might be one of those who actually get the experience of my chatte…but there in reality very few to whom I try to talk to. The silence game…nope, I didn’t like it.

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  20. I have a younger brother. The title of your post, “The Smell of my Silence” somehow only brought back not-so-fond memories of ‘silent-but-deadly’ if you catch my, ahem, I mean HIS drift 😛 Still, love the insight on how personality can have such a huge effect on individual perspectives on silence!

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    1. Bwuahaha! I have a younger bro too.. (two actually)… so I have no idea why I didn’t think of that as posting it. 😀 Thanks for sharing the giggle, CC. 😀

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  21. I am essentially an introvert but for many years did extroverted work (social work & community development work) but that is not that unusual among us sensitive quiet types that can’t abide the suffering in the world. I am taking a big quiet time right now having left my job a few months ago and now working with my husband in our business. The best quiet time for me is doing Yoga or a long walk in the woods – it’s the only times the inner chatter stops so I can really relax into the silence. I think this is inspiring a post!

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  22. Silence here is a cause for worry – I live in a busy neighbourhood and the few times it has gone quiet (exacerbated by power cuts, so all the lights and the background hum of the freezer, fridge etc disappear) I run to the windows, worried in case the world has stopped spinning, the missiles are on their way, or the zombie apocaplyse has started…

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  23. Beautiful writing Rarasaur – please don’t stay silent too long! True silence for me is rare these days in a busy life but can bring a wonderful sense of liberty – like freewheeling downhill on a bicycle. However, an intense inner life is sometimes exhausting (what with all those witches and goblins!). Opening up can therefore be liberating too.

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  24. Rara, WOW, quiet times, where do I go? Gosh until I read this post, I hadn’t defined that quiet time, that quiet place, but as soon as I read this I knew immediately where that place is in my head. It’s when memories of before I became ill reside. Of those times when breathing wasn’t an issue, (even with a cigarette dangling from my lips) I could still breath deeply, and I didn’t hack. That time before even the slightest activity robbed me of my abilities.That’s where I go. I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t go back to those times. I believe I have more purpose in my life now, thru my COPD I have found a spot. I believe in time my quiet place will when I reflect on those I have helped during their struggle dealing with this disease. Thank you for waking me, and showing me my quiet time. Take care, Bill

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  25. I do enjoy the quiet – I am an introvert and need quiet and alone time, or semi-alone time, to recharge my batteries. Many people don’t understand how crowds and too much stuff going on can exhaust us. It doesn’t mean that we don’t enjoy people, parties, etc, just that we need to be able to recuperate from them. Good post, as always. 🙂

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  26. I don’t think I can play the quiet game without falling asleep. In the one yoga class I went to ever, I fell asleep at the end during the silent whatever time. For me the hardest game is the try-not-to-laugh game, which we sometimes did in drama class: It was a composure endurance test, basically, you had to keep your eyes open, keep a neutral expression, and once you lost you could try to make others lose by doing anything (without touching them). Laughing is my coping mechanism so it’s really difficult for me not to!

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  27. I used to have quiet time often and a couple of months ago I made it a goal to do again. Quiet time for me is just time with no electronics, no noise, no interruptions. Just time to sit with my own thoughts and see what comes. Sometimes it just clears my head other times I find direction. If I am really in it I can meditate. I miss it.

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  28. We never really played the quiet game. Though, perhaps there was no need, because more often that not, if I wasn’t running around outside, I was ensconced in my room playing with my toys – building and then tearing down worlds. I was never under foot. I was never incessantly chattering on.
    Not that I can remember anyway.
    But, who knows, that was such a long time ago.
    I do think we are going to be teaching the Little Prince the quiet game though. He definitely got the Queen’s penchant for talking, and he doesn’t even have any words yet.

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  29. We are all entitled to our moments of silence, don’t feel guilty. My silence is never silent. Sometimes it would be nice to shut out the noise in our minds. 🙂

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