Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Peace [and Quiet] on Earth

"Communion" © 1992 Cynthia Friedlob [hand-colored photograph]

I've been thinking a lot about how my need for uncluttered, open space includes the need for quiet space. Emptiness allows room for reflection, but the reflection won't come easily unless there's also quiet. Kaid Benfield wrote an article for The Atlantic in which this idea is pondered on a larger scale, that of a city:

"I have a theory that, the busier and livelier a city is, the more it needs places of retreat, places where one can get away and be quiet and still."

Parks, gardens, libraries, museums, and places of worship can offer quiet relief from the pressures and fast pace of city life, but what do you do when you're home? Where do you go for relief from your busy and lively day? If you're surrounded by clutter, there's nowhere to go, and that's very unfortunate for both your mental and physical well-being.

During the holiday season, it's common to hear expressions of hope for peace on Earth. For those of us who are fortunate enough to have our basic needs well met, in fact, to have much more than we need, it might be time to acknowledge that uncluttering is not just an aesthetic issue, or even a basic stress-reducer; it's also an important part of finding a deeper, personal peace. And there's no chance for peace on Earth until we can find peace within ourselves.

Best wishes to you for peace, now and in the coming New Year.

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