Listen to This
I have always loved the sound of pages turning - preferably onion skin paper like you might find in an old Bible. I’ve always loved the sound of horses' hooves or a person walking on gravel, and the sound of typing on a typewriter or a computer. I’m not picky.
Sometimes when Paul and I are watching a tv show or a movie, the sounds within the show, such as a character opening the refrigerator, are so crisp and prominent that they become an integral part of the story and not just a by-product of the action.
Have you ever heard of ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response)? Basically it’s when certain sounds, such as whispering or crinkling of paper or tapping, cause some people to experience tingling on their scalp and the back of their neck. Because of the emergence of this phenomenon, people are becoming much more attuned to sounds and how they make us feel.
One of the most prominent differences between the generations is that women of my mom’s generation iron. I don’t know if they actually LIKE to do it, but they do it nonetheless. So growing up, I was accustomed to the hissing sound of the steam iron.
I’m not sure if it was the actual sound of the iron or if that was just coupled with slowing down in general. Mom wasn’t rushing around trying to get dinner on the table or the laundry done. She was standing in one spot, slowly and methodically ironing one article of clothing at a time, always accompanied by the relaxing sound resembling someone letting out a long held breath.
Somehow I always ended up taking a nap. It was as if the act of ironing calmed everything and everyone around.
You’re going to start to figure out how much I love Anne Morrow Lindbergh by how often I quote her, but she said in her book Gift From the Sea, “Instead of stilling the center, the axis of the wheel, we add more centrifugal activities to our lives - which tend to throw us off balance.”
Ironing, or whatever particular activity does it for you, slows us down, “stills the center.”
The other morning I got up and had been rushing around trying to get 100 things done before work. I managed to have about 10 minutes extra and in an effort to have maximal productivity, I figured I had time to iron 2 of the shirts in the mountain of ironing that had piled up.
Within 5 minutes my breathing had slowed as had my movements. I was no longer rushing, trying to get things checked off my to-do list. I was fully immersed in the experience. I was in the moment, absorbing all it offered. And even though my day did not have less that needed to be accomplished, in that moment all was right in my little world.
As these thoughts tumbled through my mind, I picked up the iron from the cloth and heard its soothing encouragement, “Shhhhhhh…..”