Savour The Silence
I had a strange old week last week, punctuated by my introverted self turning all the way inward. Lots of conversations with me, myself and I, doubt, fear, plenty of questions. It’s all a little complex, or perhaps not even complex, just a little too involved and confusing for me to be able to go into here. It wasn’t the first time and surely won’t be the last. One of the prominent themes of this reflection was ‘connection’. One of the things I’ve been more conscious of in my life since the start of this year has been connecting with real life. It’s easy to forget to do that, in this online world. Sometimes you just have to take a time out to savour the silence.
I’ve experienced deep loneliness at points in my life. I’ve been alone, on foreign lands, away from family and friends and felt completely isolated. I think that’s when I first became aware of how we treat strangers. When I lived in New York, I was overwhelmed at times with how strangers would smile at me, or strike up a conversation (probably completely unaware that I hadn’t left my house or spoken to anyone in days), tell me to ‘have a nice day’. These little interactions often gave me a boost. These people didn’t know what I was going through, but there seemed to be, whether conscious or not, a general feeling that everyone carried the ‘be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle’ quote around with them.
I’m sure by now most people have seen the above video. Artist, Marina Abramovic and her work ‘The Artist is Present’ where she shared a moment of silence with strangers. I watched it and thought it was so powerful. This clip in particular, where her former lover, Ulay shows up, unbeknownst to her. They shared a deep, intense love during their relationship in the 70s. They broke up in 1988, went their separate ways and hadn’t seen each other since, until this moment. Watching their minute of silence together brought me to tears. When Marina opens her eyes to see Ulay, my heart burst when I saw all the emotions on her face. All that love, all that pain, all that joy, which was a lifetime ago, came flooding to the surface for her in this incredibly beautiful, pure moment. I felt it with her. Because I’m human. Because I know love.
I often feel it when I watch races I’m not running in. I go to cheer on my friends but I get emotionally invested in the story of everyone taking part. I’ve seen people cry, I’ve seen pain etched on faces and I can feel every moment of that with them. These moments, sometimes, as Marina Abramovic did, it’s better to savour the silence. No words can do it justice. You just have to communicate, however you can, that you feel that person and you’re there for them.
Sometimes those lines and boundaries we’ve erected have to be yanked down. Who cares if we know each other, if we’re friends, if we have a connection? Sometimes, we just have to be there for each other, as humans. I’m not saying don’t talk, don’t communicate and share feelings, but a smile, a friendly glance, a pat on the back, holding a hand – these things are often more powerful.
Savour the silence with someone today. It may do you more good than you know.