When I was born I was blessed with the name Gabrielle. My mother and father had gone back and forth between multiple names – family names, Italian names and just completely random names (i.e if I was born a male they were going to name me Benjamin). What my parents may not have realized at the time is that the name they gave me quite appropriately matched my personality. When I started 1st grade, the kids on the playground started calling me “Gabbie” much to my mother’s dismay. That being said, the coincidence in all of this is that I like to talk, I like to tell stories and I like to “gab”.
While talking got me sent to the principal’s office in elementary school for telling jokes to the kids in the classroom, it also gave me great things I loved to be involved in. From the speech and debate team where I was required to talk, to theater where I could perform a monologue for minutes on end and to college, where I was my sorority’s Vice President of Recruitment where I talked to women quite frequently, speaking was and always has been essential to me. While I can continue to go on, I had also always been a little bit of an introvert (at least Myers-Briggs tells me so). I love my alone time, where I can just journal, read, watch Netflix and relax. This quiet time, this silence is a beautiful thing.
I have been more intrigued to learn what silence can do for a person, for our mind, bodies and spirits. This past weekend I had the unique opportunity to spend time at St. Meinrad Archabbey for the Delta Chi “A”’s Academy. Besides it being an absolutely, mind provoking, incredible experience – I learned a little bit more about what it means to be a Monk in the Catholic faith. I learned that while it is a myth that Monk’s take complete vows of silence, they do have times in the day where they are completely silent. These times are over meals, during certain points of the day and in the evening. I tried to imagine what it would mean to be completely silent during the day and to be honest the thought energized me. I had always had a fascination and a draw to this kind of practice (especially after watching “Eat, Pray, Love”)
I think we all have something to learn from this practice, myself included. When we are silent, we can reflect internally more, process more and practice clearing our minds so that we are more level headed when we do speak and do have things to say. While Monks mainly are silent to clear their minds to be closer to G-d, this practice can be used with us – religious or not. We can clear our minds through silence to focus on our goals, to give us inner peace or to just focus on our bodies, how we are breathing and being more centered.
From doing research, I have found multiple articles that told me the following:
· Silence lowers blood pressure
· Silence boosts your immune system
· Silence makes you happy!
· Silence makes you look and feel younger (then I guess I will just stop talking now…)
· Silence makes you much more capable to deal with emotional issues
With these benefits and these practices, I believe silence truly is golden and something we should do and feel more. Along with my #oneword365 of "breathe", I believe silence will go into play with this as well.