A lot is going on in the world, so I sit here bathed in solitude and fishing for a thought. Let the noisy silence of second hands and chirping birds lend me the inspiration needed to write. Let the calm of the rain suicide its face onto my windowsill, onto shingled rooftops, ripping puddles, or perhaps it will only melt itself into the concrete.
Have you ever sat back and listened to silence? It is hypocritically noisy. I can hear the laughter of locusts and the singing of birds as they intercourse themselves into the wind. This noisy wind. It whistles and shouts and spreads its hum across the troposphere, just silent enough for us not to notice amid the growling of car engines and groaning of electricity. If you listen closely enough, you’ll hear angels sing in the wind.
Give me not the physical right now. Not the booming lyric of music or the chatter of distraction. Give me focus so I may snag a thought from the roaring voices of spirit and memory hanging from the pictures on my wall. We are familiar with the sound of noise, but not the noise of silence. Not the tickle of an idea brushing past our thoughts or the seductive wooing of trees to wind. The giggling fabric against the windowsill. The peaceful lullabies of daylight.
Indeed, nature has its way of suckering us out of quiet, but what an incredible stillness.
Welcome back to another episode of No Whining Wednesday! Today, you cannot whine, criticize, or complain.
If you are new to this blog or new to this segment please visit the NWW page herefor past episodes.
Today’s inspiring word comes from a powerful word from an amazing poet I follow on Instagram named Obbie West:
I give these NWW’s a lot of thought, but I ain’t have it in me this week. I couldn’t discern what to write, and I decided I was not going to force it. I am just going to post an inspirational quote and remind everyone not to complain today. But then, I heard a poem with these words.
A common saying I’ve used is, “only speak when it improves on the silence.” I might have even put it in a poem. It means to speak when you have something of value to add to the conversation. I’ve used this saying as my personal barometer on whether I should say something or not for years, so when I heard West say, “speaking just to be accepted is the same as being silent,” it instantly resonated with me, and brought me back to the first quote. We can also say, “speaking just for the sake of speaking is the same as being silent.”
This quote also brought me back to writing. Writing is speaking, too, and I am not just talking about writing books or blog posts. Posting something to Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, and Twitter is also speaking. This is where I think we take much for granted. When you post something on the internet, you talk just like you uttered the words out loud. Here is where we come back to the topic at hand: whining, criticizing, and complaining.
The ease of posting and instant gratification can make us think that what we have to say is important even when not. Everyone has an amen corner, and sometimes they be doing too much, and you have to be careful not to let the hype go to your head.
Confused about The Amen Corner? Come with me to Mt. Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church of Zion, of Mt. Calvary.
In the black Church, especially Baptists, there are always “mothers” huddled together on one side of the room. They are usually older women, mothers, and grandmothers, wearing white with larger-than-life hats in the front pew. They are the ones with the candy and gum, the shawl to throw over your shoulder, or the blanket to drape over your knees if your dress is too short. Chances are they grew up in said Church, know everyone’s business, were the secret originator of church gossip, and serve as the church elders. In short, they are not to be played with. Their facial expressions will kill you, resurrect you, and kill you again.
You can expect them to rock back and forth during the sermon, shake their heads, and wave fans in their faces as they grunt their agreements with the pastor. Every few minutes, you can hear them shout, “Amen!” This starts a trail of amens from the rest of the congregation.
But, after a while, it starts to get annoying because black baptists churches are an all-day affair. After the sweat has crawled its way down the pastor’s neck and he has finished his run down the aisle and lost his breath, he finally declares, “Hold on for a little bit longer. We almost there.” The sigh of relief in your heart brings a smile to your face. It’s finally over.
But not really.
At this moment, the amen corner says, “Take ya, time, pastor!” This is followed by a waving of the handkerchief or hand in the direction of the pulpit. Thanks to these mothers, we will be here for another two hours.
You see, the amen corner means well, and their support is appreciated, but they do too much.
Many people will cosign what you say even if it doesn’t make sense, primarily online. Because of this instant feedback, we complain a whole lot on this here innanet, and, to be clear, I am not saying complaints don’t have their place, but just because it’s on our mind doesn’t mean we should say it.
Social media is not your diary, journal, or therapist, and these people following you on these free apps are not your counselors. Most of them aren’t even your friends.
I find it sad I know people more by looking at their most recent Facebook post than I do in person because people seem to confide in social media in ways they don’t do offline. We don’t have time to get into that, but people just be talking to hear themselves talk, or as we say in the black community, “talking out the side of their neck.”
All to be accepted, verified, or gain the approval of the amen corner.
“Speaking just to be accepted is the same as being silent.”
People often say I have this joyous energy, but I am not always joyful or motivational. I show up excited because I genuinely enjoy what I do. It wakes me up in the morning and gets my blood pumping. I complain and criticize like the rest of us humans. I try not to let it spill out into the public without a purpose.
What I practice is typing things into the notepad of my phone. When sporadic thoughts come, I type them in that notepad to get it down. It may be beneficial later on, or I may delete it. I know myself enough to know I should not post everything that’s on my mind.
I also journal when I feel sad, depressed, angry, or just in deep thought, meditative space. I write a lot of poems this way, by hand in my journal. These things help me to cut down on complaining publicly in ways that aren’t always healthy. When I do complain online, it’s to serve a purpose or bring attention to a situation.
I understand the power of words and choose to use them carefully. I am not a small talk kind of person. I don’t even like to talk on the phone. I speak much more passionately when the conversation serves a purpose. Otherwise, I find it best to keep silent.
Speaking / Writing is a responsibility. Let’s use it wisely.
Update: Missed this? Check out the replay @writepath247 on Instagram.
I’ve been intentionally missing in action this week. There’s a saying somewhere that says that when you’re working on anything that you want to succeed, it is really dangerous to listen to what everyone says. Sometimes you just have to tune everything and everyone out for your sanity.
In addition to solidifying some business endeavors, I’ve been putting the final touches on the ARC Copy of Renaissance for my advanced readers next month and have decided to lay low in the process. I’m so excited to introduce Nora to my team! (Email Me to join my Advanced Review Team for Book One in The Nora White Story). I am officially knee deep into revising Book Two. I’m not even going to look at Book One for at least a month! After spending so much time on a project you get to the point where you are relieved to let it go out into the world. Sure, you’re nervous about what others would think of your creation (I am trembling). At the same time, there’s a weight lifted at having made it to this point. A sigh of relief to have been done with it. What happens now is what will.
But that’s not all….
I’ve also been away because I’ve not felt motivated to speak. I have been tempted to re-blog! But I didn’t want to break my silence until today because it’s the day I set for myself so I held back. Silence is something I think we all need every now and again. I look forward to it and enjoy being still. I’m not unhappy, I just appreciate silence in a world that never stops talking, as the saying goes. This also helps me to write. There’s something amazing that happens as a result of muteness. How the creative juices flow and the mind ignites with clarity. I’ve had blog post ideas but I have not felt like saying anything. Sometimes you just gotta take a step back and reevaluate. Like looking at a chess board, it will require you to step outside yourself to see the whole board. You’re able then to see your moves in a genuine and unbiased way. What could I do better? Where have I went wrong? How can I improve? What revelations can I turn into tangible action? I turn inward and listen for instruction on the next move.
Dare I capture a photo of last nights meal? I suppose I could upload it to IG. At least then you’ll know I’ve eaten, right? Or maybe I’ll weigh my self-esteem against the number of followers, out of which only a handful are actually interested. What if my anniversary was yesterday? Does it cheapen the experience that I didn’t post about it?
We live in a world so dominated by technology and by sight that we rarely take the time to notice the small, silent, and seemingly insignificant. Usually, when we think of supporters we hearken to those who are outspoken enough to make themselves known. Visible. These are the commenters, likers, subscribers, and followers. After all, without this kind of support, how do we know if we’re doing something worthwhile? Is our content life changing or are we wasting dashboard space? Well, this thought led me to the intriguing world of the silent supporter. You know, that person who supports everything you do on the low. You may find them listed among your every social media outlet. Silent Supporters. The people who support your every endeavor but never have anything vocal to say. Instead they hang on to your every word in the background, taking it all in, applying, researching, and agreeing in the dark.
I think silent supporters are great and may actually be the backbone to success because they are the people who do. Act. Apply. Listen. Now success is more so determined by the personal standards of the individual, but from the basic perspective of the kind of primary support we all need to keep going, silent supporters play a significant role. They are the people you inspire every day but you will never know it. Well, if your paying attention you just might. You see, the silent supporter doesn’t say anything, his presence alone is necessary. He’ll follow you any and everywhere as long as you have something to say. The point is: don’t lose hope and don’t give up. There are people who actually follow your advice, except you won’t know it because they choose to instead put it into practice. (They laugh at your not-so-funny jokes too). And when it comes down to investing, these are the people who put their money where their mouth is, hanging on to your every word and taking into account the wisdom of your perspective. Makes you consider the weight of influence we each have on every single eye that scans across these blogs. It’s really something if you think about it. As individuals we make such great impacts on so many people worldwide and we would never really know to what depths. So then, what are we giving them? Is it something worth having or a waste of someone’s time? Are we givers of life or takers? How will your blog influence someone today? You choose.
Success is not always what you can see. Silent Supporters are out there. They are listening, they are watching, and they are learning. Never lose sight of that.
The sun had not completely set on my first night away before I was flooded with post and story ideas. And by the time the sky was overspread with blackness and poured into my bedroom, I’d written two poems already. To what do I owe this sudden flood of inspiration? I suppose it’s because a relaxed mind is a creative mind, or so they say. But in my reflection, I’ve had a lot of time to think and have come to the conclusion that there is some truth to that saying; separation from the online scene does tend to resurrect a kind of motivation lost during the constant interaction online. Personally, the desire to force a thought on top white paper seems to ring too loudly when I want to write, or rather feel I have to as opposed to when I’m just living life. The anxious stroke of the pen, or the thrashing keyboard always comes in that moment when you’re consciously aware that you must scribble something into existence. You thus search desperately for something to spark a flame, something to satisfy this urge but pushing always pulls away. The more you push a thought, try as you must to force a post, the more ideas slip from your fingers like liquid desperation.
It is at this point that the mind needs to be set aside for a while. To separate, to relax, and to calm from the influx of emails, WordPress Readers, and advice on how we should transfer our thoughts on to the page or rather, the screen. This tends to, for me, bring to life a sudden rush of creativity. Where thoughts have been left to grow and to mature before hitting the spotlight. To give my thoughts a chance to breathe and to exist, all neatly wrapped and stored into this place inaccessible among the crowd but dancing in a place called solitude. Even this post for instance, came easy, smooth and without effort. There was no question or debate or concern about what it would be like. It just existed and I let it be. Just a coming forth of thoughts I’d written down while sitting on my bed and yet not at all there. Somewhere uninterrupted by the perspective of others, whose words do tend to spark great creativity, but whose birth is not as beautiful as the new born torn from my own flesh. Words that come untainted and unscathed by opinion. Nothing but pure inspiration come from my own head, smack down in the midst of the quite.