Sean’s Silence

photoPlease share your reasoning for going silent. How did you chose to express silence?

Last time I went silent I borrowed the silence from a dear friend and fellow marcher Mary DeCamp.  She is an inspiration to me.  As are the others who have stood in solidarity with the countless unheard victims of climate change, experimenting with what it means to be without a voice.
Before the march started I realized that rather than scream my grievances, shout sorrows and argue with those who do not yet understand the severity of our situation, I would take a break from voicing my thoughts and ideas.  Oh so excited to listen, very ready to learn new ways of communicating, the plan was to cross the country without speaking.
The plan always included laughing, feeling it necessary to mental well being, and wishing to use laughter as a tool to connect positive energy.  The plan did not include singing, though soon was adjusted as many pointed out that singing was not quite talking and music is another one of those magical things that just make the world nicer.  Another adjustment to the plan was a decision to speak three months into the march even though there were somewhere around 147 days left.  At the time Mack was about two weeks into his proposed vow of three weeks so the silence, and the voiceless were held on the march.
Speaking again has led to a new energy, one that brings happiness.  But I am entirely grateful to take up silence again.  Inspired by 100 days in silence, listening lead to many, many meditations which enabled new truths to ring out.  In listening there was opportunity to let go of “my” story, there was a chance to leave individuality alone to feel and live in the connectedness that we all are if we just let ourselves be it.  With fewer means of communicating, there were no expectations of explanations.  Actions could be what they needed to be, love, hug, laugh, sing, smile, be in the present moment for no reason at all and it felt beautiful.  It was beautiful.  And now I am lucky to see this beauty shine through fellow marchers who selflessly agree to help carry the souls of so many with us.  At times it is a burden.  At times there is frustration and confusion, sadness and feelings of hopelessness.  But thanks to the wonderful march family, ready and willing to listen, I always felt heard.  I am so humbled by their careful kindness.
This is what we need in the world today, an acknowledgement of those who have been ignored and forgotten.  With love we can come together in one voice of hope.  In love we can find truth and forgiveness.  Love, true understanding, will bring us together in a time where we have no other option.
Thank you all you beautiful folk for your support.  Thank you for your love and your hugs and laughter. Thank you for listening with me.  Can’t wait to reach our next understanding together!

Can your share some of the reactions to your silence?  What were some typical reactions?  Or any less typical reactions you got?

One reaction I heard time and time again, most times by boys but sometimes from girls was, “Wow!  A woman silent for that long!”  I never thought I would get such a reaction and was shocked to hear it over and over.  Thank you Mack for the lovely response of, “Anyone silent for that long! Ha!” I was also surprised, though I understand the connection now, by all of the prayers and blessings I received in silence.  I was always so grateful.

What were your expectations of what silence would be like and what was the reality?

I expected it to be magical and it was.  I cannot wait to take another long vow with hopes of reaching a point where the noise in my head can be turned off.

Did you have any notable experiences in silence? 

One day on the way to a rally we took a break and a mother and daughter brought us cookies and watermelon.  They were really lovely people and where so kind to us all.  I went up to hug the two ladies to say thank you, these were some awesome hugs!  After our embrace the mother just looked into my eyes, she told me she felt the world in our hug.  She teared up and shared that she appreciated the nature in me.  She saw such a direct connection to the natural world in my efforts.  I was honored by her words and so happy that we were able to share such a moment of deep connection.  It was wild.