The Quiet Always Comes


Quiet sneaks up on you in the most peculiar places. You know what I mean, right? That restless quiet that taps you on the shoulder in the grocery store as you toss an 89 cent box of linguine into your cart, or while you’re running  a soapy hand down your child’s back in the bathtub, or slapping together another peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Sometimes Quiet skips right up to you and gives your shin a good kick while you’re sitting on your deck, sucking oysters out of the half shell. Sometimes it digs a nail into your bony spine while you scrape burnt eggs off the bottom of that non-stick fry pan you bought on QVC. Other times still, it gives you a whack across your face. There you are, stunned by the tears dribbling into that useless pan.

You make a fat fist, wipe the tears away, and shake that restless quiet off like a chill. Shake it off like a heavy coat. Shake it off like a dog shakes off snow, and begin mumbling about how much you never liked eggs anyway and swear that you’re going to write that letter to QVC, demanding a full refund. To work off your anger, you get to the task of scrubbing your toilets till they shine, but the quiet comes. The quiet always comes. This time you curse the toilet and fantasize about walking to your closet, and tossing your clothes, even that shirt you hate, into  a big ‘ol box along with your boots and heels and clogs and slippers and sneakers, and hauling that box outside, chucking it in the trunk of your car, and driving away. Maybe you’ll go to Alaska and live inside an igloo.  Or maybe you’ll head to the mountains, build yourself a one room hut, and fish with a stick and a fat piece of string. People with far less skill than you have done it. Why not? Fuck it.

Shake. Shake. Shake. You slam the toilet lid down, inhale a beefy breath, button your life back up like a white starched shirt and carry on. I know, because I was a pro-shaker. Had that move down. Every time that quiet came around and cramped my space, I shook till my teeth chattered and fell out in the palm of my hand. The night before my (first) wedding, I was twenty-three when Quiet wrapped itself around my heart and squeezed it so tight I had to check myself for a pulse. When the tears came, I shook it off…nothing but pre-marital jitters. Three years after the “I do’s” I was lying in my bed and felt that same squeeze. Only this time the scream that lodged itself in the back of my throat wouldn’t let me do anymore shaking. I had to go. I knew I had to go. But where? When? How?

Kind, loving and good-hearted people don’t walk out on kind, loving and good-hearted people. They just don’t.  I was Italian. I was Catholic. I was good and kind and loving. The problem was, I couldn’t ignore the whirr of my own heart anymore, or how my skin felt too tight as if I’d outgrown it. It was time to shed, to stretch, to grow. It was time for me to walk into that quiet place; a place where my fear gripped me by the throat.

Change doesn’t have to be a boulder-sized life-altering move like handing your boss some melodramatic resignation letter, or pawning off your treasured jewels to fund your trip across the country to go live in that hut, or a divorce, like it was for me. It might be, but most of the time, it’s far simpler, like taking that course in Spanish, or sticking your hands in the dirt and planting that garden you’ve always wanted to, or buying yourself a frilled-skirt and signing up for Flamenco dancing, or taking that one risk and telling that one person that you love them; you’ve always loved them. Or starting a blog, like I did this time around when I had to step into that quiet scary place. Every time you read one of these posts, you’re bearing witness to one person who took a baby step inside her own fear. You can do it too.

Do you feel it? That urge. That knowing that something awaits you, calling out to you like an old friend. That self, eager and wanting to grow, to stretch, to bring more of it’s being into this world. Do you hear it? That whirring of your own heart? What desire are you swallowing back? What do you shake off when Quiet comes a knockin?’ What fear grips you by the throat?

I get the scary part. I do. I really do, but I can make this one promise…that one step forward is not half as scary as standing still. Take your box out of the trunk. Put your sneakers on. Tie ‘em up. Get a flashlight and take one step inside that dark scary place. Now take another step and another. Soon you’ll be clear across that bridge onto the other side meeting up with that old friend that’s been calling to you for a long, long time. Only this time, you listened. This time you called back.

Please leave a comment and share with us one tiny step you took into the dark scary place…that place where you shed your skin.  We ALL need to hear from you!

Note: postings will go out on Mondays, unless I run out of things to say!


30 thoughts on “The Quiet Always Comes

    1. You are a beautiful, lovely, amazing woman…no more “fat-suit” talk…do you hear me! You have a beautiful story here to share of when you listened to the quiet…tell it! xo

  1. One thing I learned in Sedona when I took running jumps down all those drops: The scariness, not out of abject fear, or a fight-or-flight urge; but a kind of scary to leave the comfortable place; the place of familiarity; that place where you have your routine down pat; and optimized the heck out of it; and finally that place of friendly chatter – that kind of scariness… whenever that happens, is when you actually go for it, instead of hesitating and reeling away from it, you rush headlong into it as if it was a lover you miss; or your favorite food sitting there tantalizing you to come and get it! There are many different kinds of scariness – the emotions is the same, but there are subtle flavors of it brought on by the sponsoring thoughts and feelings that differentiate it.

  2. The first time that I felt that TWINGE, was when I had been working for a corporation that was going through a merger, two in sequence – one that ended up falling apart at the 11th hour; immediately followed by a successful merger with a second suitor corporation. I had worked at this company for four years, was making oodles of money; had all the tech toys and access a computer nerd would ever want; had a mad scientist experiment going that I had sunk over a million dollars into over a period of three years; and had a nice place with comfortable spots. Despite all the positive news; autonomy, even better benefits, better severance packages, better synergy, etc. Deep inside, that TWINGE happened, and told me that it was all false, that the reason why I loved working there was because hard and passionate work was well rewarded, by PEOPLE and management who actually cared; and supported by great people. I was going to lose that if I stayed on. It was 2005, at the peak of my comfort, warts and all. The next morning, I went into my Department head’s office, bypassing my immediate supervisor; and gave my two weeks’ notice. He asked the reason for my sudden desire to leave – there were absolutely no signs, and I had every reason to stay – uber positive reviews, coworkers knew and loved me, quirks and all, and I worked hard like a demon on steriods and enjoyed the heck out of it. I said to him in reply: “I felt like it.” He had asked me in front of all my co-workers, friends, and supervisor amongst a whole conference table full of my favorite foods, treats, ice cream, drinks – expensive stuff at that! None of that mattered anymore – the TWINGE was persistent, the TWINGE was like the most annoying pinprick against the heart, not strong enough to hurt, not subtle enough that you can ignore it, scary as hell because it asked me to leave all those creature comforts. Just enough to be really annoying! Bada-bing, bada-boom!

    1. Peter,
      Thank you for taking the time to write this example of listening to the “twinge!” It took such tremendous courage to leave this job behind with all the bells and whistles and money. Can you share with us what happened with the Bada-bing, bada boon occurred? It’s such a terrifying experience to leave a job when we are unhappy and believe there is hope and promise on the other side. SHARE please!

      1. At the moment of the TWINGE, it felt like I had no choice but to GTFO (get the f*** out). There was no promise of anything, nor any hope on the other side. There was simply no income and no job on the other side. I did not even dream of what might be. However the TWINGE was there, persistent, and more annoying and persisting than anything. Anything was better than staying at the best job in the world; but to have this TWINGE bugging me like a nag. I was scared s***less, exactly the feeling I describe in my other comment, except add on the anxiety of having no job, $2200 monthly electric bill, and the possibility of not being able to get the latest tech-geek-nerd gadget to cackle over. When the bada-bing, bada-boom occurred, I simply mentally stepped forward shaking in my proverbial boots, virtual fecal matter running down the back of my leg; shaking like I was on the vibrating bed in those old sleazy motels on maximum tilt; into a road barely illuminated by my high-beam headlights; with the darkness pitch black; that made tar look like weak translucent matter. The virtual air felt cold and crisp, promising to keep me completely frosty and attentive the whole way through – like a great morning that offers no warm and fuzzy promises; but will guarantee you to the other side ready to stay forever-frosty. All was needed was a grim determination to simply survive and live another day. Another example of the norm in my life up to that point.

    1. Oh…thank you Suzanne!! I almost cried to see my favorite mentor and teacher and friend take the time to read my post. Still hoping for miracles with the book…I’ll keep you posted. I hope your life is going GREAT! Think of you so often and love you.
      with eternal and immense gratitude,

  3. Amazing you!!! Love this post. And boy, can I relate.

    For me, it reminds me of being tossed back and forth between my love of coaching/psychology and my creativity. So hard to tell sometimes; do I feel fear that I need to step into? Or is this feeling telling me this path is not for me.
    My answer right now? Go where the joy is. I remind myself that feeling good is the Soul’s way of shouting: “This is who I am!”

    Sweet friend: With these words you painted a picture of Who You Really Are. And I for one, love what I see.

    1. I LOVE this…”GO WHERE THE JOY IS!” and “feeling good is the Soul’s way of shouting: “This is who I am!”

      Yvon…you dear one…thank you for the comment and thank you for being so splendidly you!

  4. Yep, I know that quiet…usually his me on Sunday nights when I should be asleep but resist because I don’t want Monday to come…as if my act of protest will somehow magically freeze time! Actually had the same experience last night-another sleepless one-I feel like I’m losing my mind. But you’re right-you just keep moving forward. You just welcome the presence like an old friend. No sense in fighting it. Make the best of it. Befriend it, and use it for good. Not perfect at it over here, but it’s a practice, after all.

    1. Alissia,
      I love this comment! I have bouts of insomnia…they rattle me to the bone some nights and I do all those things…count sheep, and lizards, and birds…and anything else I can think of…I pray and deep breathe…but sometimes…I just have to be with me and “weather” the night like a slow moving storm…and we have to just “sit” there and be with ourselves…and get through those “I’m-losing-my-mind nights” Thanks for sharing this post! xo

  5. Wow , That stirs up some very good memories. Now that I live alone I have that feeling sneak up on me all the time, Kinda keeps me company as my mind takes off in the fury of past present and future…..

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Toni…yes…that quiet creeps up…especially when we are along…more time to think, to feel, to contemplate…I’m excited about your future! xo

  6. When I was in my twenties, my favorite Rune I could draw said, “Leap empty-handed into the void.” New York City with no housing or job? No problem. Thirty-six hour trip to New Orleans with $50 in my pocket? I’m in. I have wondered where that girl has gone in these years of stability and responsibility. I have moments when she tugs my arm, sparkly hula hoop in hand. This post made me hear her voice a bit more loudly. Thanks love. Your words matter.

  7. I believe the quiet you hear is your inner self…the real you…pining for release. In order to take that step into the dark you must learn to look inward to your fears you hold close to you….those emotions you’ve buried, the hurt you’ve hidden from others because needs of others must be served first, life must go on whether you acknowledge those hidden feelings or not. One day the quiet comes knocking… is all of your fears you’ve buried and not faced….the real you that you MUST acknowledge. It’s painful to bear but you know what? It’s more painful to suppress. Once you begin listening to the quiet, you really hear yourself, accept your worth, appreciate yourself, know your real likes and dislikes and what you are happy to settle for and what you are not going to settle for. As you grow and mature and slowly face your fears and the impending quiet, you eventually look forward to that quiet, that moment where you connect with self…in order to see if you’re traveling on the right path. Then, quiet isn’t so scary anymore…it’s anticipation for a well lived future. 🙂

    1. Oh, Eve, so beautiful, so true…thank you so much for sharing your insights…I just LOVE this!! and I love you. And you’re so right..we do eventually look forward to that quiet…and it’s not scary anymore…sometimes listening and making the changes can be…but once on the other side…it’s magic.

      love and hugs and gratitude for you, Susan

      1. I love you too! Always put one foot in front of the other….the path is always there….you just may not immediately recognize it. 🙂

  8. What of the nights when the Quiet is deafening and the feel of your own hands clamped down over your ears does nothing but keep the sound of silence inside your own head? Is it then that you recognize the Quiet for its true purpose…to allow your mind to embrace solitude for its healing powers rather than succumb to its overtures of loneliness?

    1. Hmmm…nice post, Greg. I’ve had those nights with hands clamped over ears, stepping into what can feel lonely and healing at the same time. For me, It’s about having the courage to step inside that quiet place and take a good long look around, to listen, really listen to the calling of my own soul and then take action…no matter how scary it feels. Thank you for reading, for commenting, for your friendship.
      with love,

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