Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Silence: Golden or Broken?

Ever hear of the phrase, "Silence is Golden"?  Yeah, I have too.  There is so much meaning in silence.  I often quote a line from Bambi when my children go flying off at the mouth on what they observe.  "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."  They are so familiar with the saying, they often say it with me.  In this case, if you don't have anything positive to say about a person - whether it’s true or not - it's best to just be pleasant by not saying anything.  Is this the golden silence?

According to The Phrase Finder, this is what is meant.  In fact, they go into the history of that saying that can be dated back to Ancient Egypt.  Even that civilization knew to keep some things to themselves to keep the peace.  Once a word is spoken, it can't be taken back.  Even the Apostle Paul berated the women for gossiping and indicated it best they remain silent in the church; he knew what stirring the pot with gossip could do to undermine the workings of the church, even in its infancy.

I often default (well, let’s not say default, how about frequently) to silence in order to collect my thoughts, judge my emotional response to something, judge my responses as appropriate for the time and people hearing them, or simply to just collect the general ambiance of a place and the people in it to mull over later.  Our experience in this life is abundant with scenes that affect us.  Do we ever stop to contemplate what in our environment is driving us?  Maybe some quiet reflection is all that is necessary to help us to develop our own thoughts and responses outside of what we believe is “norm”.  We are so driven by society’s norm, that maybe just a little cerebral workout is necessary to change the “norm”.

But, society often dictates for us what is normal.  Silence can be construed as rude, or hiding something.  It can be considered a manipulative tactic.  And it can push labels off on individuals: snob, dumb, weak.  And those labels are stuck on there with this amazing adhesive called “words”.  Someone said it, someone heard it; therefore it must then be true.  Once a word is spoken, it can’t be taken back.

There are so many forms of silence.  There is the silence of nature.  Ever just sit back and listen to the silence of a sunset?  It’s wonderful beyond words. 

I love the silence that ensues after my children have gone to sleep and all the electronics are off in the house.

I enjoy the silence of prayer and meditation; it seems like I can hear my own thoughts more clearly in those times, but I also feel like I can hear the universe in those moments.  When the two don’t match, time to shut down the mind and slip into the universal quiet to reconnect. 

There is also the unfortunate silence of death.  We will miss those who have slipped into this silence.  But their laughter and voices live on in our memories.  In silence, we can hear them more clearly.

I try to write in silence, but I find that I just can’t.  Music inspires my rhythm and generates sparks of electrical current from brain cell to brain cell until they all connect and I’m into the flow of writing practically nonstop.  One-way flight to 1,000 words, please, and thank you.  And I have to admit, sometimes I can’t get to sleep in silence.  I have the TV on with the timer set so it won’t go all night, or I have my guided meditation CD in my computer going as I listen to Esther Hicks soft, melodious voice as she delivers Abraham’s message of the Laws of Attraction.  That’s a positive-thought process of creating your own destiny.  It has nothing to do with come-hither looks to brawny men.

What do you do in silence?

Happy Reading!

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Evil Social Media

The Evil Social Media

I never was one to watch any reality TV.  In fact, the only thing close to reality TV I watch is Ghosthunters on SyFy because I love watching the science evolve in that area of research and the personal experiences of strange phenomena the crew have during the show.  But that is not the evil this particular blog is all about.
This is about social media.  I get we are in the electronic age and this is now the current trend on how to communicate with our peers, family, friends, co-workers, even acquaintances.  But, I wonder how real it is.
  Do you feel your Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and Google Plus profiles are true representations of your personality?  What can you gain from them you can’t from other sites?  Do you get news feeds there any different?  How about sporting events? Weather?  Is it the games that are the enticement?  How about all the ads?

Now let’s ask the grittier questions.  What do you know about the personal lives of your “friends” on those social media accounts?  Is it positively uplifting? Is someone divorcing?  Someone having a hard day? What did they have to eat?  Where have they been?  Is there too much a person can know about another’s life without it being intrusive?

I’ll say.

I think Twitter is fairly safe.  On the profile page, you can have a short description – within the same range of characters as a regular post (140 characters).  And “characters” means spaces too.  Which means the amount of detail about yourself is limited.  You can put in your marital status and number of kids If you like, but what does that really tell about you?  Hopefully not too much.  I only have about half as many followers as I am following and keeping up with 774 followings isn’t a piece of cake.  I miss a bunch.  I do, however, enjoy Pinterest shares on Twitter feeds and occasionally sharing a recipe I’m trying.  I stay away from photo postings of personal stuff, but I do put my blog posts there.  Being an aspiring writer, I follow others in the same boat as myself as well as the accomplished writers and publishing companies.  I try to stay abreast of new developments in that area and to give my fellow writers support.  Overall, I rate it as a benign place to “socialize”.  Or maybe it’s my use of it that makes it so.

MySpace I have issues with figuring out how to setup my page and what to follow.  It’s changed so much since I first heard about it.  Even the original code I had in there for my page setup is all messed up.  Is it just me, or has it turned into a place for just music?  As a matter of fact, it’s been so long I’ve been on it, I don’t remember how to sign into it anymore.  So, moving on.

Google Plus….  Does anyone use it other than being forced to by Google on their androids?  I put people in my circles, but I don’t ever see anything from them.  I notice my phone has a tendency to back up my photos into it – which I appreciate, really I do.  If I decide to post them, I can; otherwise they remain hidden from everyone in my circle – which is like two.  Those poor two souls never get to see anything of my photos.  Oh well, such is life. 

Facebook, however, seems to be the place where you can go and completely intrude on another person’s life just by being a silent observer.  You can get a person’s email, phone number, marital status, number of kids, photos of their kids, photos of them (the bathroom selfies, OMG!), where they have been, where they are, what they have been eating (I’m staying clear of your house if you are having tacos again), as well as a regular accounting of their general well-being.  And, quite frankly, I was tired of the constant posts about Paul Walker, gun laws, the constant reminder that its flipping snowing like the devil outside (I can see that out my window, thank you), and Obamacare.  I will miss Candy Crush Saga the most, I think.  So long, Level 215.  It was nice seeing you, but since I deleted my Facebook account, my phone thinks it should steal the few lives I get every hour by randomly crashing because it can’t find the FB account any longer.    That’s just another level of stress I don’t need.  I also removed the stress of thinking someone can find photos of my children and use them for advertising or stalking my kids at school.  I realize now that Facebook had sucked me down a deep, dark hole of constantly needing others approval.  Now I don’t think about what other people are thinking about my profile and what I post.  The notifications have ended and so has that false sense of belonging whenever someone liked something I liked or posted.  That doesn’t define me.  I do.  Without that particular social site, I might even have energy and time to blog, write, read, and seek out only the important things on the Internet that truly inspire.  I can research new things to post blogs about.  I’ve already begun the process of planning it in my head.  And I’ll have the time and resources to do it without the mental distraction of who did what today on Facebook.  Facebook, you rank in the stank.

 I realize Twitter never pulled me into its web as Facebook did.  MySpace and Google Plus were bland and had a confusing structure, so they didn't take much time from my life.  And now I've removed Facebook from my life, it will move on (my life that is; although I can see Facebook will survive my absence, so will I survive its absence).  I can see myself becoming more productive in all things relative to my life already. 

Happy Reading!