Alarms ringing, freezers humming, radios blaring, horns honking and the sounds of life bombard us every day. Noise comes at us in every direction and we make the unconscious decision to ignore much of it, but most of it invades our lives from every angle. It’s effect can be seen in the faces of stressed, weary and overwhelmed people.
We just spent a few days in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains hiking and fly fishing. After a 2 mile hike up one of the many trails in our journey, I was amazed at the lack of modern noise. The sound of the water rushing down the falls, insects chirping and squirrels talking back and forth captivated me at the lack of man-made noise. As I stood at the top of one of the trails catching my breath, I took in the wonders all around me. I started to think that even though we live a pretty simple life on our farm, man-made noise can still be found. Right there on the top of that trail before heading back down the mountain I made a pack with myself to bring some of the peace I felt on that mountain home with me.
Since returning home, I cannot get the sights or sounds out of my head. I was totally at peace standing on the mountain side, free from the outside world and engulfed in the beauty of quiet! I have spent the last couple days looking for ways to shut even more of the noise out and bring some of that peace into our home.
For us, a simpler life starts with shutting off the noise and here are a few ways I am bringing that peace into our life.
- Mornings in the country are one of the most surreal times of the day. Just as the sun is coming up over the trees the roosters start to call out the day. The birds are waking and life on the farm is coming alive. Spending a few minutes enjoying the breath of a new day is refreshing and can bring an overwhelming feeling of peace to the start of the day. Whether you live in the city or on a farm, early mornings can be one of the quietest times of the day. Step outside and enjoy the peacefulness of a new day.
- Only one thing at a time. I was amazed at just how noisy my house is. The hum of the freezing running, the washing machine working, the air conditioner kicking on and even the sound of my fingers typing on my keyboard are the noises I encounter every day. Can I shut them off and be in complete silence every day? No, I cannot, but I am learning to only add one additional noise to the mix at one time. For example if I need the soothing sounds of some classical music while I am working I wait until the washing machine is done or if the noise is too much of a distraction I run the washer while taking my morning walk. Listening to the everyday noise around and choosing what to add to the mix will make you more aware of the constant stimulation your brain has to adjust to every day.
- The quiet hours. Finding a few hours each day to go completely quiet has been freeing. The few hours after dinner have become a quiet zone for us. All electronic devices are powered off and we are taking that time to enjoy the peace and quiet of the end of the day. No cell phones beeping, no email alarms, and no social media notices, no TV, and no radio. We are spending it enjoying the sights and sound of nature, a glass of wine on the porch or even a good book snuggled up on the couch together.
Can we shut off all noise from our lives? No, not really, but we can start and end each day with the peace and serenity we found at the top of that mountain. We can look for ways to shut off all extra noise that invades our space and bring quiet into our home and life.
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