I believe in the power of Silence.
In the constant hustling and bustling of our everyday lives, accompanied with the all too familiar rings, beeps and buzzes from our phones, laptops and alarms, and the empty “ums,” “likes” and nervous laughter solely tasked with filling in the spaces that Silence has occupied, it is as if the Silence we had once known before our first breaths of life has become a stranger that we have purposefully, or perhaps inadvertently, chosen to neglect and estrange.
Who is Silence?
Silence is my teacher. During times of anxiety, I have gradually learned to welcome the wisdom Silence has to offer. Silence has taught me that while blasting music can drown anxieties, these anxieties never fail to resurface, as if on cue, once the artificial noises leave the stage. Silence has taught me to pay attention to my anxieties openly, and without opinions, projections, prejudices or expectations. Silence has taught me that only then can new possibilities and perspectives enter my life. Silence has not only been my teacher, but Silence has also become my friend—always there in times of need, even if it chooses to stay in my head, like a secret gently tucked away from my outside world.
What is Silence?
Silence is my oncology patients and my common language during difficult times. It is often a better conversation than our words could ever make. I used to be scared of speaking Silence to my patients. Wouldn’t it translate into the unknown? Or bad news? But, the more I provided opportunities for Silence, the sooner I learned that the language of Silence could compassionately facilitate being our true selves during our most vulnerable states. I learned through my patients’ eyes, lips, and face lines that Silence facilitates trust and allows us to communicate nakedly. When we spoke in Silence, we didn’t have to make any sounds to express to the other, “I need you,” “I’m scared” and “I am here for you.” When I can’t trust my words to express how I feel, I know that I can trust Silence. And I embrace it and the meaningful relationships it has blessed me with for this lifetime.
When is Silence?
Silence is when words can’t always heal. Silence is when he watched me cry that night for the first time after a few difficult days at work and held my hands until, and even after, I was done. Not a single word. Yet, it was during this Silence when I felt the least alone in such a long while.
Where is Silence?
Silence is everywhere, as long as I acknowledge its presence. When all I hear on a hike are the birds chirping and the sound of a nearby river, Silence is there. When I am sitting alone and can feel and hear my own heart beating, Silence is by my side. When I feel my anxieties disappear as I acknowledge them, accept them and let them go, I know I am in the arms of Silence. I can be in a crowd. I can be alone in my room. Silence doesn’t choose locations. It only chooses acknowledgement.
Why Silence? Silence is a teacher, a friend, a language, a facilitator, a new set of perspectives. With its loyalty, Silence heals. Silence is why I exist, the way I exist, today. It is why I existed yesterday, and how I will exist tomorrow.
Author: Patrice Lin
Editor: Caroline Beaton