Hiljaisuus (Silence), 15x23

Silence. We don’t get enough of it today in our over-stimulation-seeking culture...in fact, silence makes many of us uncomfortable and we need to fill it with noise, the tv running in the background, or responding, Pavlovian-like, to noisy alerts on our iPhones, etc.

If I learned anything from my Finnish heritage it is how to do silence. Silence in the Finnish culture is valued. (Please read the articles I’ve attached).

Growing up in northern Minnesota my family and I spent a lot of time outdoors. We were constantly being told, rain, snow or -40 below, to get outside! Most of my childhood memories are of simply being outside,often times recreating (swimming, skiing, fishing, etc), but also just being with nature with no other agenda. My imagination was ripe with a world of Faeries and my backyard was a secret garden known only to me. So many hours spent in silence, looking, listening, feeling, learning about the flora and fauna surrounding me in a non-invasive way.

Silence, as the article mentions, in our cultural has a negative connotation, equated with a “lack of social skills”. In Finland it is a positive trait and culturally valued.

Stop. Breathe. Step outside. Find a quiet place. Engage your senses. Be still. Listen to the silence. There is much to hear, it may just not be sound.