Have your ever had a little sister? One that will NOT stop TALKING ever? It’s like a constant hum of nonsense shaking your cerebellum?
That is what comes to mind when I (fondly) think of my chatty little sister, Cara. So when I heard that she would be participating in a vow of silence to benefit Invisible Children, I was thrilled by the prospect of peace and quiet, and inspired by her dedication to promoting awareness.
SoulPancake (pg.126) asks it’s readers to:
Cease your chatter. Don’t speak for an entire day. Just Listen.
Below is Cara’s reflection on her experience of mouth-muting. I hope you find her as witty and thought-provoking as the usual banter I post. Brilliance may just run in the family…
Saying that I like to talk is an understatement. I’ve been known to concentrate deeply on inanimate objects when trying to restrain myself from compulsively interrupting. Whether you chose to view this as a positive trait of expression or simply an annoyance, I consider it a significant part of my character. So when I took on the challenge to stay silent for 25 hours, the most common response was that of amused disbelief.
But this isn’t about me. I chose to speak out without speaking for Invisible Children, an organization dedicated to ending civil war in Uganda and helping its people develop safe, healthy, and stable lifestyles. This war is considered one of the most neglected humanitarian crises to date, having lasted nearly 25 brutal years being fought by children abducted from their homes. Invisible Children’s commitment to encouraging development and peace within the Ugandan communities is surely worth the loudest silence possible.
To be completely honest, I never knew “Mute Your Mouth” was a SoulPancake challenge. I began my silence at 7 PM on April 24that home with my family. At first it was simple enough, and even relaxing. I took the opportunity to have some quiet time to myself and get a good night’s rest—thankfully, I don’t have a habit of sleep talking. Lasting until 8 PM the next day, however, proved a more difficult feat. Many others I knew participating would break their silences to ask a question or speak to teachers, moves I considered cheating. Proudly I went about my day sporting a sign proclaiming my vow of silence and handing out information cards to explain my cause.
I must admit the perspective I gained was both refreshing and frustrating. I could sit back and listen to the world around me, or just mind my own business without interruptions. Then again, I also couldn’t ask for a medium skim iced coffee, please, or apologize to the underclassman that I accidentally knocked into. A brief lesson in sign language allowed me to say “Thank you!”, but no more. Teachers and peers alike congratulated and encouraged participating students as we bonded together in shared silence.
April 25th, 6 PM. I cracked. Going through classes without speaking is one thing. Running a rehearsal for a musical without speaking? I’m surprised I lasted so long. Yes, I broke my silence early, and no, I was not able to attend the Break the Silence event in New York City, but man, was I LOUD.
Technically, the experiment was a failure. Falling just two hours short of the Invisible Children goal and a pathetic one hour for Soul Pancake, at the moment I was pretty disappointed with myself. Yet by doing something as simple as committing myself to silence for an entire day, I was able to participate in raising awareness for a wonderful cause. And that’s something we all can be proud of.
So now I’ll ask you, fellow waffle makers—will YOU mute your mouth?
Isn’t she the best? Thank you Cara for your karma contribution (the universe is sure to thank you too), and please feel free to mute your mouth again at any time =)
Cara & I - Boboli Gardens - Florence, Italy - Spring 2010