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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 😁

Snapdragon social

What do you do to break your routine? ⠀
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Yesterday, instead of eating lunch at my desk, I packed up soup and some bread into a backpack and headed outside.⁠⠀
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I'm sharing my favourite seasonal soup recipe in this week's newsletter - you can sign up via the link in bio or at www.snapdragonlife.com.⁠⠀
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The bread is a @katgoldin recipe (she is having an instagram bake along this weekend if you fancy making your own) and the instructions for making the beeswax wrap are on my blog.
I grew up by this sea. Perfect for introspective teenage walks, head down into the wind. 
We went for our New Year stay with my parents this weekend - beach walks, lots of dogs and extended family time. No time for introspection.
I spent yesterday afternoon at the kitchen table sorting out my boxes of vegetable seeds.⁠⠀
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Dividing them into types and sowing seasons, seeing what I have enough of (17 varieties of kale is probably enough) and what has run out. ⁠⠀
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Then I spent some time browsing through catalogues to see what new (to me) things I can try - I'm keen to try growing celery this year as it is often difficult to find organic celery in the shops and the non organic has the highest chemical input of any vegetable.⁠⠀
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Are you growing vegetables this year? Is there anything new on your list?
And suddenly it is time to get the house back to normal - I'm gradually putting obviously Christmassy things away, rearranging the bulbs, making the 'tidy spots' in the house look cared for.⁠⠀
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It was so lovely to see people signing up as Studio Members yesterday and to welcome them into the Facebook Group where this month we are talking about Dream Planning (my anti-planning system) and the way the subconscious brain can help or hinder you.⁠⠀
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This photo of Budgie, my psychopathic middle cat, was taken last January - just after she had knocked pots out of the way to clear some proper bird watching space.⁠⠀
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Yesterday morning, while the cats slept on the bed, there were 18 birds in the hedge waiting their turn to feed from the window feeder.
Happy New Year.⁠⠀
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What are you wanting to bring into your life this year? ⁠⠀
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I'm actually very anti-resolutions, my character is not good with anything structured (off the scale rebel on @gretchenrubin’s test) I also want my life to be more than ticking things off a to-do list and as soon as one exists I rebel and procrastinate. ⁠⠀
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If I write a formal plan you can be pretty sure that I will do nothing on it. If I make a resolution something drives me to go the opposite way.⁠⠀
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That is why I do something much gentler - no workbooks, lists or plans -  but it is also something which I believe is much more powerful. I call it the Dream Life Planner and it is based on guiding the subconscious brain to support rather than sabotage you. It is a simple way to make big changes in the way you live. ⁠⠀
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You can get the basic modules by signing up to my newsletter or - if you want something more guided and detailed, with more of the science behind it, sign up to Snapdragon Studio Membership and you will get weekly e-mails throughout January. The next 4 people to sign up to Membership get a hard copy monthly planner too. You can find out more by clicking through my bio or visiting www.snapdragonlife.com
Happy Hogmanay.⁠⠀
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Christmas only officially became a holiday in Scotland in 1958. Before that, for 400 years, it had been a day like any other. ⁠⠀
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Here it has always been more about the gathering with friends and neighbours to see the New Year in. ⁠⠀
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Tonight we have Open House, everyone is welcome - just come on in if you are passing, there is plenty food and drink. (DM me for the address if you don't have it.)⁠⠀
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I think that it may be because Hogmanay is the main thing for me that all my decorations are light and bright, pale metallics and sprouting bulbs. This is the window seat by the stove.
Yesterday we walked from Drymen over the Conic to have lunch at the Oak Tree Inn in Balmaha.⁠⠀
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Katie took this as we headed over the brow of the hill and onto the downward part. I was looking out over Loch Lomond, with that magnificent winter sunshine on the water, congratulating myself that I was going to make it after all. (I am really not at all fit at the moment).⁠⠀
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I mentioned a couple of posts back that I was thinking of going off line for a bit over the festive season - I have noticed that tugging panicked feeling when I haven't my phone in my hand increasing, and the way seeing someone on their phone drives me to pick up mine, and even worse the repetitive scrolling when I actually want to be reading a proper book. ⁠⠀
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So I'm going to switch my phone off until 30th. ⁠⠀
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I only say this because last year a friend - also a bit of a social media addict - did this unannounced and, after a week, I was so concerned that I was on the point of texting her husband to see if she was ill/imprisoned/dead.
Today I’m going to decorate the house - plant the amaryllis in glass vases, put up the fairy lights, hang the big mercury glass baubles in the window, get the paper white narcissi our from the cool of the guest room. 
For some reason it hasn’t felt right until today, but now it feels like a family Christmas can begin. 
I’m much more of a Hogmanay person so I suspect that I’m actually decorating for the new year. 
And then I’m going to close everything down, put on the auto responders, sit with a gin and crisps by the stove and celebrate the gradual returning of the light.
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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.

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