Total Pageviews

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Listening to the Silence

I have seen a handful of foreign films in my day. They have a distinctively different feel to them than American films. Obviously, they are in a different language, but even when the actors are not speaking, I can pick up on a different energy.  I attribute this to the broad use of silence in these films. For instance, the audience is watching the character do something mundane, such as sleeping, and there is neither background music nor noise.
That led me to thinking how many times we fill our days with noise. Be it the television, traffic or conversations.  There are times I want to just bask in the glow of silence.
 Then the question arose in my mind—can we really accomplish complete silence?  The times I want to eliminate distractions, I can still hear faint noises. If I’m outside, there are birds chirping, or the rustling of leaves as the breeze blows. If I’m indoors at home, not everyone is like me and turned off the television or not speaking. Nor should they-- it was my conscious decision to try to add some quiet time in my life.  Heck, even as I type on this noise reducing subject, the computer keys are clacking.
Nevertheless, I still work towards keeping the stillness in my mind. During these times, I concentrate on my breathing and slowly, the outside noises are not as distracting.

For me, it is easier to accept that there truly won’t be absolute silence—that can only be obtained by living in a vacuum. Or by being a star in a foreign film. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Impromptu moments

Being a mother of a teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome, I find myself coaxing a lot. Reminders and prompts are in my arsenal. I try not to nag, since I really don’t want him to shut down and not pay attention to the lessons I’m bestowing. There are new studies that the brain doesn't fully mature until someone is in their 20's.  Unfortunately, for me, day to day living can make this fact a vague whisper.
Then there are moments that happen so unexpected that they are remarkable.
 I finally watched My Left Foot   (thank goodness for Netflix!) The actors Daniel Day Lewis and Hugh O’Connor were absolutely tremendous as they portrayed Christy Brown, the real life writer and artist with cerebral palsy.   As the movie progressed to the part where young Christy took a piece of chalk between his toes to write on the floor, I started to cringe. I have a strong aversion to squeaking chalk (though I believe everyone has a dislike to this horrible sound!) I muted the volume in the event that this nerve-racking squeak may happen.
My son happened to come into the living room at this time. He asked why I had the volume muted and I told him. He advised I would miss part of the movie’s dialogue and the chalk probably wouldn't squeal. I argued that I felt more comfortable with no sound.  My imagination was already playing the awful sound in my head. Why wasn't he listening to my unreasonable reason?
Then my son did something wonderful—he said he would cover my ears, listen to this part of the movie and give the green light if it was just strictly dialogue. I agreed and he rewound a few frames. True to his word, he put his hands over my ears and watched the scene. I blissfully didn't hear anything. He then removed his hands and announced that the caulk does not squeak, and he again rewound so I could hear the missed dialogue.

My heart swelled with pride. Here he was showing great traits all on his own—patience, empathy and resolve.  In that moment, I felt confident that he was indeed on the right track. I just have to remember this the next time he emerges out of the bathroom without combing his hair!