Why So Much Noise?

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Today I woke up fully understanding how much of what we do can be a catalyst of stress for another human being. Sometimes it is intentional and other times, like in this example, it is not. 

I have this intense need and desire for calm. I moved out to the country because part of feeling calm requires a certain level of quiet for me. I don’t like noise and several noises cause me anxiety. Last night it was the wind. Oklahoma wind is not ordinary. Winds here cause amazing damage added to the fact that my house is on tornado alley, contribute to the anxiety that stirs inside of me. The neighbors are building a garage and every morning I wake up to hours of banging. Bang, bang, bang added to the wind already affects me.  I think part of the reason I love yoga so much is because it is the only place I can seem to find that offers the level of calm and quiet I crave.

This is just a reminder that what we do has an effect. It travels out like a wave and causes some type of reaction in other people. Remember to stay aware. Remember our words and actions and posts reach far beyond what we ever imagine. As for me, I will be in search of some quiet today, at least until this storm inside of me quiets down so I can tolerate the one outside. 

Take a Walk

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I’ve been recognizing the need to just walk away. I mentioned earlier my new task of unbecoming who I am. There comes a time when you have to throw in the towel and step away. I am quiet by nature. I am one with the quiet and noise makes me feel absolutely crazy inside. I realized after spending too much time on homework once again, the incessant amount  of noise my son makes while attempting to do work is excruciating for me. Part of me knows all too well that if he would just sit quietly and do the work, it would take him a lot less time. He just doesn’t stop. If he’s not humming or singing then he’s probably talking out loud to himself. I decided to go for a short walk just to get away from the noise. I got about three houses down when I heard the screaming. There is a boy, high school age, who lives in that house. He too is always making noise. I realize even though we are all different, we each have a unique set of challenges. The boy is autistic and I often see and hear him standing by his mailbox waiting for the bus. He screams all day long and he always seems to be outside. It’s easy to think we are the only one in the world who gets frustrated or has to deal with problems but I was reminded tonight, that’s just not true. The important thing is how we deal with those problems. We can react the same way day after day or we can find a new solution along with some healthy coping mechanisms. Stepping away helps to see the turmoil that is going on inside. Sometimes it’s necessary to be a spectator in your own life. Only by standing to the side and observing from a distance can we really get a glimpse of the whole picture. There are some things we cannot change. We cannot fix everything we think needs fixing because to someone else, it may appear that nothing was ever really broken. So my advice tonight is that when you are feeling like you don’t have any control, step away and go for a walk. Put some distance between you and whatever it is that is driving you crazy. Give yourself permission to take a break and breathe in calm and exhale the rest. You are stronger than you think so start thinking differently.

What Is YOUR Favorite Time of Day?

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What is your favorite time of day? Now that I am in my forties, I would have to choose morning. I remember as a teen and continuing into my twenties that often times, morning was something I didn’t enjoy at all. Often times, it consisted of rushing around to get ready for my day or sometimes on weekends skipping them all together, sleeping in until the middle of the day. Now morning is a time of calm. I no longer hurry out of bed. I wake up and reflect on the things I am grateful for. I remind myself that each new day is an opportunity to get it right, to live better and to use my time wiser than the way I did the day before. I bask in the calm quiet that morning brings, pausing there for a while to take it all in. It is the time I recharge and start my day from a feeling of peace instead of charging into the day full force in the midst of noisy chaos. The older I get, the more I long for solitude, quiet and a calm environment to escape to when there is just too much noise. What is your favorite time of day and why? If love to hear about it.

Shhhhhh….

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It’s a noisy world. I don’t know why it happens but noise makes me anxious. One thing I have learned is that it is imperative for me to start the day off quietly. It is in that quiet that I find the calmness that sometimes gets forgotten beneath the noise. At bedtime I go to a place to find that quiet again. After the tv is on for more than an hour, my insides start to shake. I retreat to my room and become one with that calmness again. I wonder if there are other people like me that feel anxious with every loud voice, screeching of a chair over a tile floor, the bouncing, banging of a washer that sits right outside my bedroom door. I wish I could ignore noise, drown it out or find distraction in it, but for me that is not an option. How about you? Does noise bother you? Is there a particular noise that really gets under your skin?

Is Misophonia real or imagined?

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Lately, everywhere I look, I see articles about Misophonia. According to Wikipedia, Misophonia, literally “hatred of sound”, is a neurological disorder in which negative experiences (anger, flight, hatred, disgust) are triggered by specific sounds..

Do I believe it exists? Yes I do. I’m not sure that I want to classify it as a neurological disorder because I would have to admit having one. I started to notice my hatred of noise a few years ago. I noticed I was always annoyed except when nobody was home. It sounds almost selfish as I type the words but let me explain. It started with the television. I thought maybe something had gone wrong with the sound because I just wasn’t able to tolerate it for long periods of time. Add that to cell phone notifications chirping and beeping, video games in the background and possibly my daughter belting out her favorite broadway tune and I was on the verge of losing it. Then I started to notice the sounds of people chewing and smacking their lips together or biting their nails. It made me feel absolutely furious and I had no control over it whatsoever.

Just today, my husband and I stopped in at the bagel place on campus. I just wanted to sit outside and feel the cool air but all I could feel was the agitation with each and every noise. I noticed the cars engine as it accelerated after the light turned green. I heard the birds squealing and the beeping noise at the crosswalk almost like it was my own heartbeat blasting noise out of my chest. I heard the toddler at the table next to me crying and having a tantrum and I just wanted to go back home. The truth is, I don’t go out very often. I think this may be one of the biggest reasons why. I have quiet at home, just the way I like it. Home is my peaceful sanctuary of noiselessness and I am so grateful to find someplace that feels quiet. Maybe that’s even the reason I gravitate towards yoga so much. I just know my dislike for noise spoils many things that I once enjoyed. I used to love to go out to eat. I loved someone preparing the meal, serving it to me for a change and then actually cleaning it up. But now? All I hear is one table screaming over the other, so many times I prefer to just get the food to go. Real or imagined, there is no doubt noise affects my life in the most negative way. Don’t get me wrong, there are some noises I love like the sound of the waves when I’m sitting on the beach or the sound of laughter coming from my kids who I love so much. I also have tinnitus so I feel like the noise is there constantly and I do my best to quiet myself internally in hopes that it will carry me through the external noises of life.

What do you think about Misophonia? What are some noises that really get under your skin?

Here are my top five:

1) Dogs licking and scratching at themselves
2) Dogs barking
3) Cats spewing up hair balls
4) Televisions blasting
5) Chewing

Finding Calm in the Chaos

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Some days are just not going to be good days. Can we change that? Probably not, but we can control now we react to them….but how? I knew it was going to be an unpleasant ride to drop both kids off at different schools and two dogs off at the vet for an exam. One dog is overly excited and the second he caught a glimpse of his leash in my hand this morning is the very second he started to run around like a maniac and squeal. The start of the ride was not too painful because each kid held a dog. As soon as we pulled up to the first school and my son got out of the door, you would think we stabbed the overly excited dog right in the heart. He whined and cried like crazy running back and forth between the front and back seat while my teenage daughter calmly flipped radio stations and took selfies. One thing that makes me uneasy in the morning is chaos, especially noisy chaos. I usually start my day off calmly with yoga so I was doing my best to hold it together.

As we came to a stoplight, I almost had a heart attack. The crazy dog has a knack for placing his paw strategically in just the right spot to open the window on his own, and the surprise of it nearly scared me half to death. A few minutes later kid number two was getting out of the car and the wounded whining went back into full force. Finally, we arrive at the vet. One dog is crossing in front of me one way and of course the other dog is crossing in front of me the opposite direction and the dumb girl behind the desk smiles and says, ” Can you please fill out these forms so I can take the dogs back?” Seriously? Are you kidding me? How about you hold the leashes so I can fill out your paperwork and sign your silly credit card machine. Sign here, and here, and here, and…..all the while trying my best not to get caught up in the leashes and fall flat on my face on that filthy floor.

I bolted out of there as soon as I could escape and made my way to the nearest Starbucks. Coffee can fix most things, here’s to hoping it erases at least part of my crazy morning. So is there a lesson here? There are some things we just have to get through. No sense fighting it or getting a bad attitude, just know a better, calmer moment is just around the corner. Now, wait for it…

Do You Remember A Time?

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Do you remember a time when the world was quiet? I am referring to that time before cell phones and crazy ring tones filled the empty space we used to know as silence. I feel like everywhere I go, I am always on edge. There is always something ringing or buzzing and I sometimes find myself shaking my head at the ridiculous sight of what appears to be someone having a very loud conversation with himself. People used to move with purpose, but between text messages and phone calls anywhere and everywhere, half the time people can’t remember where they were headed to in the first place. People used to go to coffee shops, not for coffee, but for conversation. Now, people are plugged into computers and have earbuds dangling from their heads. Do you remember when we used to make eye contact and smile when someone walked by? Now, we are just shadows that go unnoticed because the glare on our cell phone fades others out. We are juggling phones and carrying computers and really who has time to stop and make eye contact anyway? Everyone is so busy rushing around. Where are they rushing to? Sometimes, I try and get together with friends but they are always busy. Really people? Busy doing what? Too busy to sit a few minutes with a friend that might make all the difference in that day in their life? What if that conversation is the one that will save that persons life; are you still too busy, even for that? It saddens me that people’s lives are so consumed with everything except human interaction. We have time to send 500 text messages, watch hours of meaningless tv shows, who knows how many hours we spend surfing the net, not to mention the never ending games we play on our phone in between commenting on our favorite social network, but yet no time to spend with a friend? Do you know there are 24 hours in a day? That is 1440 minutes. You can’t find even 30 minutes to make time for coffee or lunch when there are 10,080 minutes in your whole week. I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining, I just sometimes wish things could be like they used to be. Have you heard people talk lately? They are so used to talking over all the noise, that they’ve lost all volume control of their own voice. Car rides have become excruciating! Not only is music blasting, but one kid is playing video games with the volume turned all the way up, because the other kid is face timing from the back seat. I feel like throwing my hands up to my ears and screaming “Please make it stop!” That is a time we used to set aside to talk about our day. Just the other day, I stepped in my closet and heard someone say ” Hi Mrs. H!” It nearly scared me half to death. There was my daughters phone on my dresser with her friend waving wildly at me from inside the phone. How the heck did she shrink down and get in there anyway? What is going on? Can you imagine walking in on that 10 years ago? What would I have done, “Rosemary! Cover your head! I’m gonna bust that thing and get you out of there!” No-one would have believed it. See the parody though? That is exactly what has happened. Our personal interaction has shrunk down and we are trapped in our cellular devices….sometimes literally! Our world has become so small that we can do everything from our cell phones. Who needs people anyway? Heck, now we even have a voice that comes from our phones ready to meet our every demand. I remember My phones voice asking “how can I help you?” to which I responded “find some peace and quiet”. Her response, “I will search the web for peace and quiet”. Do you know what that search came up with…”A Little Peace and Quiet is the 2nd segment of the 1st episode of the 1st season of the new Twilight Zone”. Hmmmmmm….maybe that voice is smarter than I originally thought. Maybe even someday that voice will run for President! Don’t shake your head at me! Did you ever believe we would be able to see the person we were talking to through our phone, or that a voice would talk to us from inside the phone? Do you remember a time…..I remember and I miss those days. I can only imagine what life will be like in another 10 years…Thank goodness for my new found insomnia, that is a time there is no tv, no singing and banging a cup by my daughter, and Id love to know who started that lovely combination, no guns firing in the middle of a Halo game…just quiet.