Silence. I cannot write with the radio or television on, but I do like to write with other people around me so long as they are not talking to me. I often work alongside my children as they do their homework. Mutual encouragement perhaps.
I used to have Radio4 on pretty much all the time but recently I have taken to silence instead. I wondered why.
As many of you will know I suffered from a sudden and severe bout of depression last year. I have been on medication which is brilliant. I also realised I had to slow down. I have been practicing yoga for several years and recently have taken up meditation. I make an active effort to be mindful of all that I do. I don’t multitask, I do one job at a time and concentrate on what I am doing even if it is just putting the ironing away. I have a morning ritual that includes, prayer, Bible reading and meditation. I have kept a gratitude journal for five years and write in it daily.
I am realising that I don’t need or want the background noise. Previously it was my prop, or perhaps better described as my insulation. Alone in the house with no radio I have to listen to myself, there is no insulation. Sometimes, at first it was rather scary, I wasn’t sure I liked what I was hearing, who I was. But I am getting to know me better, I know what makes me tick (I’m nearly 50 so it really is about time).
When I think I am too busy to meditate, to write morning pages, to pray; when I skip a yoga class; it shows. I tend to turn on the radio, I seek out noise and avoid silence.
I prefer the silence. It tells me more.