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April Experiment - Quiet (summary)

So how did my April of quiet go? If you remember, for reasons I laid out HERE, I decided to go through April cutting out secondary noise from my life.

So no listening to podcasts while I walk, no music while cooking, no radio on in the greenhouse, no audiobooks in the car.

It was an interesting process - not least because I had not realised to quite what extent I had driven silence from my life. Gradually, over years, I had filled every corner with noise and would delay walks, frantically searching, if I couldn't find my headphones.

It was challenging time to do it too - in early April my Dad was in hospital (he is fine now) but there was a stressful week of long car journeys and nagging worry. I kept finding myself reaching for noise to keep me company, but in the end resisted.

I learned that I do not need an awful lot of that noise, that far from being enjoyable, educational or diverting, it was just an irritating distraction from the noise inside my head. It was not quelling the noise, it was simply shouting over the top of it.

A month of bringing more silence into my daily life has really helped with the amount of brain noise and its volume. It has given me space to think more deeply.

Did I miss the things I used to listen to? Not as much as I thought - there were some podcasts, some days when the mood enhancing company of loud music would have been good. But I didn't feel that I had missed much in the end.

Will I continue the experiment? In part I think I will. I am going to try and avoid multi tasking with noise, particularly with the spoken word. Where I do listen, I want it to be the primary thing - a podcast I particularly want to hear, a radio interview or album I want to listen to. I think that active listening while mindlessly knitting may be the way forward.

In May I shall be experimenting with walking the same path day after day - it will definitely be without headphones.

Comments: 4 (Add)

Gemma H on May 9 2019 at 10:40

Love this experiment Jane. I think I’m pretty good at avoiding noise because I genuinely quite enjoy silence. I have taken to putting a bird song CD on in the car (got it form the RSPB) because it’s recorded really well so you feel like you’re hearing the birds just outside. I find it pretty calming when I’m doing drive to work, the latter half of which is on busy city roads. I think we do have to be picky about the noises we bring in and I think it’s great that this experiment is going to make you more picky.

Catherine on May 9 2019 at 10:59

Really interesting. I find myself hating silence as I want to switch my mind off sometimes. I put the radio on a timer when I can’t sleep as it’s awful to feel tired but as soon as my head hits the pillow - boom - mind starts going into overdrive. I think a lot more about ‘being in the moment ‘ these days. More food for thought - thank you 😊

Maryan Ellis on May 10 2019 at 13:00

I get so much from each of your postings because they give bite-size advice and suggestions. I have noticed that after lunch I like to sit in my living room because the silence is such a tonic. Now I do this but sit by the window. Free of noise and distractions I have noticed all the baby bunnies in the field behind us, guarded by their mothers, playing in the sunshine. I swear they are knowingly playing leap-frog and jump over one another!

With a freed mind I write poems about this, or how peaceful I'm feeling. Maybe a sketch of a weed, or pick a few weeds and put them singly in jars or vases. Forget-me-nots look lovely all in a line with their own bottle.

Lesley (insta lilybabylulu) on May 15 2019 at 08:15

I love silence. I rarely listen to anything just to fill the silence. Quiet rules in my life. I can sort through my thoughts, adding items to a written list of things that need doing as I go about my daily tasks. I do however love ABBA blaring out whilst cleaning the house 😁

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I’m celebrating it in Venice, feeling happy, loved, incredibly lucky and very, very much looking forward to whatever the next decades bring. ⠀
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Euan took this photo on the water bus  yesterday headed out to Torcello for lunch. ⠀
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It is a portrait of a woman anticipating good things. ⠀
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I spent half an hour a couple of days ago sitting watching bees work themselves around the cirsiums - this is one of the first non bulb perennials to flower in our garden so particularly precious for insects⠀
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There were also masses working in the wallflowers next to it - and in the broccoli that we left to flower. ⠀
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It looks like another beautiful sunshiney day out there. I am getting ready to write my Friday newsletter which is all about designing the garden and not being too pretentious. X. If you aren’t on my list already you can sign up via my bio.
What do you take with you to pass the time on journeys?

I’m travelling a bit over the next few days so have been packing my handbag with things to do- knitting, kindle, phone, headphones, purse. 
What would be in yours?
”When the gorse is out of flower, kissing‘s out of fashion”

There are always a few flowers on the gorse, bright against the grey - but now is peak yellow in the hills. 
It is a plant that fascinates me. So prickly, so dense and yet its history is so domestic. 
The wood of choice for bakers’ ovens as it burns hot without making much ash. 
Planted next to Scotland’s West Coast crofts for drying linen - the barbs holding the sheets better than a washing line in the gales. 
And then there is the smell - which genetically I cannot discern - but which I am told is pure pina colada.
We bought this house because of bluebells. ⠀
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We spent a quarter of an hour in the house, small rooms, low ceilings, aluminium windows, swirly carpets. ⠀
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Then we spent an hour in the bluebell wood that slopes down to the burn, sun green through the alders, blue haze at our feet. ⠀
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A few years ago extremely heavy rain caused a land slip - the ground turned liquid and an acre of mature trees slid, along with the bluebells at their roots, down into the torrent and away. ⠀
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This year, finally, it is beginning to reestablish - new alder and willow saplings have their roots down, bluebells are forming a haze of blue. Still too fragile to walk in but getting there. I watch from the top of the slope.
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I normally don't post a photo on a Saturday but read the papers instead, but I wanted to come on and say thank you to everyone who comes by and chats with me here.⠀⠀
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I don't really follow any big 'influencers' because I find them a bit distant, instead I follow people who chat about what happens day to day, what they think, what they feel, how much they love their cat. ⠀⠀
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Instagram is my watercooler.  Thank you for meeting me here.⠀⠀
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This photo was taken by @katieannglen a year ago too.
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About Snapdragon

At Snapdragon we gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

Through our communities, both free and paid for, through Jane's writing on the blog, through carefully hand crafted gifts and activity kits, and through our online and in-person workshops we aim to bring people back in touch with the rhythms of a seasonal life.

Learn more about why here

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