Take Advantage of the Quiet Time

Have you ever tried meditation? Me neither. But I like the idea of quieting the noise inside my head so I can relax and approach life with a new perspective.

The slow period in the construction year over the winter is the just the right time to reevaluate

By Paul Deffenbaugh

Deffenbaugh Headshot 1

I’m not certain about you, but the noise in my head is pretty, well, noisy. I have a todo list rattling around up there and immediate problems banging on the inside of my skull, and issues that don’t need to be solved right now but I’m pretty certain they’re going to grow from mild headaches into full-blown migraines. At times, I feel like my brain has all the restfulness of a cat in a dryer.

Here we are approaching the holidays and the traditional quiet time for construction. Now is the perfect moment to find the peace you need to let you approach your job, your company or your problems in a new way. Yes, you’re going to have a houseful of kids scrambling up the walls, but even that noise can allow you to take a respite from the ordinary problems you bull through every week. After all, would you rather confront a toddler on a sugar rush or a building owner ticked off over yet another change order? Okay, maybe that’s not a good example. Those toddlers can be frightening, although there is an uncanny similarity between the two. (Just kidding.)

Recently, I was walking through the electronics department of a big box store and started trying on different earphones. I was looking for something to use while I was running, which is a constant, unmet goal of mine. Eventually, I edged down toward the noise-cancelling headphones. What a revelation! I put on a set, and the quiet was delicious. I felt my entire body relax, and I realized how tense I had been. I thought the noise inside my head was unnerving, but apparently we live in a world where the noise out there is like a stick poking a rat in a cage, and we’re the rats. It’s constantly jabbing and poking and alarming us.

Have you ever daydreamed about what you would say to someone famous, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, who suddenly came forward in time and you had to explain to him the world around us? The thing I think that would unravel them the most—more than cars or flying or even smartphones—is the noise. It’s constant, never stopping.

A few years back my family took a hike up into the mountains above Crater Lake in Oregon. More than 10 miles away from the lodge that stands on the rim of the crater, we could still hear motorcycles roaring their way up the winding road to the lodge. In today’s world, it’s nearly impossible to shake the noise.

Over the holidays, during our time of peace and quiet, I think it’s essential for all of us to find that bit of solitude we need to recharge and rethink how we move through this world. Get away from the noise and the job and the family, and find a moment to gather yourself. Put on the noise-cancelling headphones if you must, but this holiday, give yourself the small gift of some quiet moments to yourself.