SHUT UP!!! More "Enlightened" Ways to Deal with NOISE!
The kids are screaming, the dog is barking, the washing machine is spinning, the dishwasher is humming, the TV is on, the ipad is beeping and I feel myself getting more and more irritated as I try to put my tired baby back to sleep for the fifth time today…
I start thinking thoughts like:
- “Why can’t the kids just be quiet for once!”
- “Nobody cares that I have to put the baby to sleep”
- “Will that bloody dog ever shut-up!”
- “I can’t stand all this noise”
- “SHUT – UP!!!!”
I start reciting the Serenity Prayer…
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference."
And here is what God and I came up with:
1. If possible…STOP THE SOUND!
- Ask kids to play (or fight) outside or in another room with the door shut.
- Turn off the TV and other noisy devices
- Shut the door to the laundry
- Stop the dog from barking … give him a bone or something … ANYTHING!
And there you have it! Silence! Well, relative silence!
Notice how you can now relax more, breathe more deeply, hear yourself think a little straighter…
2. MASK THE SOUND
If you can’t get rid of the kids or TV won’t turn off … try masking the irritating sound by:
- putting on your headphones and listening to your favourite playlist
- playing “white noise”. If you have a baby attached to you and sleeping in the sling like I do at the moment then you can play “white noise” (or river, ocean, rain sounds which you can easily find on phone apps these days). This will mask any sudden, loud noises that the older kids will most likely make while baby naps. This really works! I play the white noise during the night too so that baby and the kids will sleep longer without being disturbed by birds cheaping, rain pouring, wind howling, thunder booming, kids snoring, kids sleep talking, dogs barking, cars brooming, aeroplanes zooming etc that normally would wake them up.
- singing! Notice that as soon as you start singing the annoying noises don’t matter anymore! Try it!
- playing your favourite music on your stereo loud enough so the other noises aren’t so prominent.
3. IF YOU CAN’T BEAT ‘EM JOIN ‘EM!!
The kids are banging saucepans…
The kids are singing the same song over and over and over again…
The lawnmower is going for it next door…
The dog is barking (again)…
The 3 year old is winging…
The kids are laughing and being super silly in the back of the car…
You know…the typical sounds you hear in your everyday life as a mother…
If you can’t stop or mask the noise for whatever reason here’s what you can do!
Make that crazy sound that is driving you nuts! Use your voice and copy the annoying sound you hear! Go on! GO FOR IT!
- Make the sound of the lawnmower!
- Copy your 3 year old winging at you and notice the look on his/her face!
- Sing that song that your kids keep singing over and over and over again!
- Laugh your head off with the kids!
- Bang the saucepans too!
- Bark with the dog! (Kids LOVE this one!)
By choosing to make the sounds that you are ultimately resisting, you transform your resistance into lightness, fun, laughter and joy!
Not only will you feel better but your kids (who are just being kids after all) haven’t been shamed again for expressing themselves.
4. The Ultimate Solution – BECOME TRANSPARENT
If you can’t stop the sound, mask the sound, or make a sound, what a great opportunity you now have to practice transparency!
Eckhart Tolle writes in The Power of Now,
"Feel yourself become transparent, as it were, without the solidity of a material body. Now allow the noise to pass right through you. It is no longer hitting a solid “wall” inside you. Practice with little things first. The car alarm, the dog barking (a good one for me!!), the children screaming (another good one for me!!). Instead of having a wall of resistance inside you that gets constantly and painfully hit by things that “should not be happening” let everything pass through you.”
Similar to number 3 but you don’t have to laugh your head off or be a lawnmower which doesn’t work too well if you happen to be in a public place! This exercise is a great spiritual practice. Put a Zen monk in a room full of screaming kids and see how enlightened he really is! Mothers are SO privileged in this way. We don’t need to meditate for hours (we can’t anyway!) … all we need is to learn to be present with ‘what is’ whether that is hearing kids playing, wiping babies bottoms, cleaning up spew, feeding baby in the middle of the night … again, pushing the 2 year old on the swing for half an hour, preparing the tenth meal for the day etc etc…
Practice being transparent with sound as it presents itself in each moment and you’ll reach “enlightenment” in no time!!
So, there you go! My 4 cents worth on coping with our sometimes incredibly noisy world! Try these out and please share with me your experiences! Let me know if you find other ways to cope with those sounds that “grate” on you!