Are you future or laden past,
joy anew or shadow cast?
Reflections glimpsed as midnight creeps
for which my mirror gently weeps?
‘My Mirror Gently Weeps’
Oil on canvas 50×50 cms
Peace . . . is something we rarely experience.
Our daily lives don’t provide for peace. We are surrounded by sound, from piped musak in shops and cafes, to advertisements which blare from screens large and small, to the discordant shrill of a lawn mower and toys which create more noise than the children who play. An undeclared competition for our attention, it is a background stress we barely notice – until we remove ourselves from it. So accustomed are we that the mere thought of silence has become quiet dis-arming.
Silence separates us from our daily lives and all with which we are familiar; it confronts and challenges us with the uncertain, allowing in thoughts and conversations with ourselves which we have previously conspired to keep at bay. Quietness is the gateway to the unknown, initially a fearful place to be and just as an addict craves a fix, we look and long for distraction. Our defense mechanism is to drown out the external commotion by immersing ourselves in a cacophony of our own choosing, a personal aural diet selected from an i-menu of endless options and drip fed through earphones barely visible.
Faced with exchanging sonance for silence even for an hour, many will experience the alarm of impending detoxification. But as the edge of our discomfort starts to dissolve and abate, so we begin to allow ourselves to enjoy the settling quietness and embrace a sense of relief from the incessant clatter of everyday life. To be silent is not to become still but to go about our tasks in full awareness and re-discover forgotten pleasures as other senses come alive and we begin to notice details previously shouted down. Quietness is where we can hide: it is not the tortuous prison many fear but rather a release from a world where our sense of self is constantly diluted and homogenized.
To seek out peace once in a while from an exhaustive world, is to nurture and experience the joy of renewal and growth. It is an act of independence, a bid for personal freedom and a place of privacy to be cherished and treasured .