Listening to Silence

Living in a big city, it’s hard to get away from noise. Horns honking, people shouting, construction blaring. That’s why so many of us cover our ears with music to drown some of it out. And while I’ve even written about the power of music in my life personally, sometimes there’s even more power in silence.

Today I took a walk to a nearby park to clear my head. And, being New York City, it was hardly a quiet trip. But in the noise of kids yelling and dogs barking, I was overtaken by a stillness and quietness inside my head.

All of the noise around me faded away and I was able to find peace.

How?

Through the power of breath and meditation.

Along my walk I really didn’t want to think about anything. In fact, I wanted to think about nothing. So I mindlessly walked around the park, watched people pass by, and the only thing on my mind was my deep breaths – in, and out.

As I continued walking I noticed that while there was so much around me that I heard, I wasn’t listening to any of it. 

And instead I began listening to the silence. The thoughts that began to come into my head. Things that made me pensive, reflective, and curious.

It sparked something within me to begin to plan and to be productive with these thoughts, and I realized on my way back home how deep into this meditative state I had become.

With all of the noise and the craziness that fills our lives, especially in recent times, we all need to remember to remove the headphones, to remove the space and sounds around us, and clear our minds.

Through deep breathing and focused meditation, we are able to listen to this silence and begin to ponder. Some thoughts that present themselves are easily ignored, while others stick around and begin to elaborate.

Focus your attention on what is important and let other thoughts go through breath.

If we are always letting the busyness of our lives consume us, we will never have time to let in thoughts and ideas about our lives, our friends, families, and things that we are grateful for. This can lead to a sense of sadness and loss of hope.

Because there’s a lot that we have that we should be grateful for. There’s a lot that we have that we should be thankful for. And there’s a lot more our minds can tell us about our wants and needs that will make us stronger, healthier, and happier.

We just need to give them the chance to present themselves when we meditate, breathe, and create silence in a world that seems so hard to ignore.

The Power of Music

Music has played a very important role in my life. I have been listening to music ever since I can remember, both by choice and by force (I grew up on my parents blasting Hall & Oates, Chicago, Stevie Wonder, and Frank Sinatra seemingly non-stop). But even now, music plays a huge part in who I am, how I think, and how I feel. So for those who don’t listen to music that often, I challenge you to read this carefully and give it a try. And even those who do listen to music often, I am going to talk about my top 3 reasons why music is extremely powerful and important, both in the gym and in our daily lives, in the hopes of putting some new ideas in your mind about what it can do for all of us.

Music allows you to enter another world

The first and most important reason why music is so powerful is because it has the ability to transform your mood and can put you in another world. In the gym, the right song can trigger just the right feelings to give you that adrenaline rush or endorphin release to help you power through that last quarter mile, or give you that boost to hit a new PR. Whether it is the right beat, the right lyrics, or just a feel good song that always gets you in the mood to focus, a good playlist in the gym tells your body and your mind that it is time for your workout. These sets of songs are probably different than ones you listen to normally outside of the gym, and some may overlap. But the point with your gym playlist is to choose those songs that have that ability to make you focus and amp you up, telling your mind and matter what you’re there for.

Outside of the gym, music can also be extremely powerful in putting you in a different world. Whether it’s soft background music to help you focus at work, or a sad song that makes your mind wonder, reflect and meditate, it’s that ability to tell your mind and your body what it should feel, and where you should put your attention and focus, that makes music so important.

Music can connect you with others

Music, among many other things, is a great way to bring people together. I find so much joy in finding someone who has the same (or even totally different) taste in music as I do, and discussing, listening, and exploring all of the different types of music that are out there. Opening up your mind and allowing others to bring new music into your world can allow you to see a new perspective, and also to learn a thing or two about who that person is based on what they listen to. It’s a great way to become more open minded and accepting. If you really dislike a particular artist, talking to someone who really enjoys them can help you understand why they like them, and you may even end up changing your mind once you become more knowledgeable. I know that has happened to me on multiple occasions.

We also all have our particular tastes in music, and it makes us feel good to find someone who likes similar things. Playing music with a group of common interests, or different ones, often creates some great discussion and connection with those around you. You all know the words, you’re all grooving and tapping your foot to the same beat, and when played in the right setting, is make or break in having a good time. Think about it – have you ever been somewhere that you’ve LOVED the music and remembered because of it? It’s the same way when you’ve hated it. Right from the start it can shape the way we feel about a situation, person, or place.

Music allows you to let loose

Another extremely important and powerful thing about music is that it allows you to let loose. People who know me know that I’m the first one to put on some music nice and loud and start singing and dancing along. The escape I feel when listening to music is so powerful to me and like no other. Like my first point about entering into another world, music allows us to relax and get us comfortable. The power of this comes from the fact that when a certain song comes on that everyone knows, everyone starts to sing along mentally in his or her head. When that first person breaks that mental karaoke into a real live performance, everyone gets a little more comfortable and joins in on the fun.

You can feel when your mind and your body like a song. It rushes through you and it is so hard to explain why. But when the right buttons are pressed, that power subsides your self-conscious and self-awareness and takes over. This creates joy to you and those around you and gets us all in a place of happiness and community. Combine that with a little alcohol and you’ve got yourself doing to worm across the dance floor with the whole crowd laughing and having a good time.


So try it out, make playlists for multiple different occasions, settings, and moods. It’s power of focus can help your gains in the gym, it’s power of connection can help make some new friends, and it’s power of escape and letting go can help you have a better time with those around you and to forget about what anyone else is thinking.

Don’t have a big music library? I recommend using Spotify. The free version gives you everything you need on your computer. But if you download the app and pay for a subscription, it’s a great way to get all the music you could ever dream of, anywhere you want it.