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By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word: ‘Silence’ as in… “Silence is not the absence of something, but the presence of everything.” So says Gordon Hempton, the founder of One Square Inch of Silence, an independent research project located in the Hoh Rain Forest of Olympic National Park in Washington State. This area is widely regarded as one of the most pristine, untouched, and ecologically diverse environments in the United States.

But I’ll admit, I had to really think about Gordon Hempton’s insight about silence being the presence of everything. What helped me most was navigating to the project’s website and listening to the rather stunning recording of the “presence of everything.” Go ahead, do that now. I’ll wait for you.

I know, right? Wow.

Close your eyes and listen for only a few seconds to the environment around you, and you will notice the lack of true quiet, of silence. Lawnmowers, traffic, road construction, and airplanes are a few things that have become so much a part of the ambient sound around us that we’re usually prevented from listening to and hearing the natural sounds of our environment. As I listened to Gordon’s 15 minutes of the “presence of everything,” I realized that there’s so much noise in my life that I rarely hear the beauty of the silence that Gordon has recorded.

At the very heart of the Thriv’ëra project is the rhythm of presence. The intent is to practice daily rhythms that lead to a sense of thriving… such as seeking margin, welcoming silence, listening well, anticipating thin space, and immersing in what each moment teaches. But the ‘welcoming silence” part is so often so difficult.

Let’s practice some Presence…

Thriving Reflections:

++ Find a place to sit down outside and notice what you hear. Reflect on Gordon’s insight: Silence is not the absence of something, but the presence of everything.”

++ Navigate once again, or maybe for the first time to and listen to the recording. What stands out for you? What do you appreciate most about what you hear?

++ How does observing silence help you thrive?



Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50words project, where he blogs about a different word each week. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche) or his blog, Thriving Rhythms.


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