The sound industry brings me such reward. There’s nothing else like it. I mean just a month ago I was hiking up to the highest waterfall in the world with 20kgs worth of gear and camping equipment on my back, doing location sound for a short film (we entered the Rode Reel competition for 2021), and the fact that I could call this “work” amazed me. Getting back to the city, I was pressed for time with a three-day deadline to deliver an original composition, post-production audio editing, sound design, and foley. The “rush” of the job had me pulling all-nighters and feeling like I had a purpose.
Then, not surprisingly, I crashed. Exhaustion hit, and along with it came imposter syndrome, frustration, and feeling like I wasn’t good enough because I couldn’t get what I could hear in my head out onto the DAW. Not to mention I was working with the cheapest and most frustrating laptop and software (a major downgrade from what I was used to when I was at Abbey Road). I felt depressed, deprived of sleep, and full of self-doubt.
I quickly realized that I had done it again – getting myself into the “go, go, go, crash” cycle. I had to remind myself of the most important lesson I have learned in my life – to be like a crotchet rest. (I even have one tattooed on my wrist to remind me!).
I like to think of it like this – a crotchet rest is actually a note. What I mean is that it is a part of music where you “play silence”. It’s intentional, and without these written into the music, the piece would just be noise.
In life, you must be intentional about where you insert your stillness, your silence. You must create space for the notes so that they can transform into a complete piece of music.
It’s just like in life. I figure that one must be deliberate about where one fits silence into their existence, and not be freaked out by it (because we tend to believe that when we are still, we aren’t accomplishing anything). I see this intentional rest as a fundamental requirement in my path to success. It’s almost like intentionally “playing the silence” in my life for it to form a whole, “successful” piece of music.
So much of the brain’s energy is taken up on regretting or dwelling on the past or fearing and worrying about the future. And if it’s not spending its energy trapped in some irrational fear, then it’s almost certainly using whatever it can to distract itself from stillness. Things get so chaotic, and we fall into the trap of resisting stillness.
One tends to resist stillness, especially when life gets busy as there seems to be “no time”. But the act of making stillness a priority – of playing the silence – is one of the most valuable things to remember when life gets tough. It requires you to go within, to consistently check in with yourself, to observe without judgment, and to listen deeply so that you can determine whether the thought, action, or feeling you are currently experiencing is harming or helping you. It helps you see if there are things you are giving your time and energy to that are not serving your highest good. It allows you to take ownership and responsibility for where you’re stumbling and to redirect yourself toward a healthier you. This stillness is a space of infinite potential. It gives your mind and spirit a chance to expand, explore, and let go.
That is why, being like a crotchet rest – intentionally playing the silence of life – is one of the best pieces of advice I can give you. So, perhaps in your day today, think about playing the silence in your own life. Where can you make stillness a priority? Where can you stop resisting stillness? Where can you be intentional about moving into the space of infinite possibility?
Give it a try. Even if it’s just for five minutes and begin to see the ripple effects of its power in your life.