When so much public discourse right now fits the definition of cacophony (1. harsh discordance of sound; dissonance. 2. a discordant and meaningless mixture of sounds), how do we manage?
Here I share a few practices I do daily that may not help anyone else, but I suspect we all need as many methods as we can manage right now to remain stable.
Cacophony is the WordPress word prompt from two days ago, and I have been busy enough that I am only now taking this moment to jot down why it occurs to me cacophony management is one more way to think of mindfulness. One aspect of my work listening to human voices is to notate ambient sounds in a transcript. This means I get paid to manage cacophony and include both foreground and background sound that can be heard in the same moment. After 10 hours of listening in stereo, I can be pushed to a certain edge of overwhelm where all my daily practices are needed.
- I begin each day with coffee and a bowl of oats. Making my morning oats has become truly a gratitude practice and causes me to focus methodically and allow myself to absorb pleasing aromas of cinnamon, anise, allspice, cloves, and apple all of which go into the steaming bowl of comfort. And now in the season of pumpkin spice lattes, I make my own version with a bag of cinnamon spice tea that contains orange oil and almond essence, a teaspoon of honey along with soy milk inside my coffee.
- I listen to nonhuman communication. Tonight an owl calling and smaller birds in the woods.
- I walk in nature, darkness, rain, wind or shine.
- For one hour that I am not working, eating or sleeping, I make sure I connect to something real, whether literally sitting on the ground, stopping to take photos of natural beauty and pausing to “see,” and allowing worries or concerns to be released to the world outside my screen brain.
- I knit for an hour most days.
- I thank trees for being there for me and all that benefit. I never stop being amazed how each tree is an ecosystem in itself for countless creatures. (As humans are too, if we can manage to get past our squeamishness to reflect on that truth).