Last night, Josh came home and I was wearing my japa mala beads. "Hard day?" he asked.
For those who don't meditate, mala beads are used to help you focus on your mantra. This string is a Rudraksha mala with 108 beads and a red string that lets my finger know when I've said my mantra 108 times. Sort of like a rosary.
Last year, I switched the mantra I had since high school. I still love my old mantra and use it sometimes for certain situations. But one day, I woke up and decided I needed a new mantra and the mantra I should use instantly popped into my head and it felt as right as when I changed my blogging name to Lollipop Goldstein. Which is not to say that other mantras were not contenders (after all, I came this close to calling myself Popsicle Jones), but they were dismissed very quickly.
Yesterday evening, I was teaching the ChickieNob how to use the japa mala beads and gave her my old mantra to use. After we were done, I threw them around my neck for safe keeping rather than putting them back in their pouch, which is how I greeted Josh at the door. But yes, they did make me feel better to have them around my neck. It was a hard day.
My life has taken on a lot of general work-related chaos and deadlines. A to-do list that cannot be prioritized. And I finally understood why everything was getting under my skin and setting me on edge when Josh labeled all of it background noise. He was using the term to mean, "just ignore it and take it all in stride" but the fact is that I am not very good with background noise. I like a quiet space to work and think. When I can't focus in one area of my life, it spills into being distracted everywhere else. It is all small things, quiet buzzing, but I am hearing this figurative background noise and my mind is literally everywhere at once.
Whereas Josh needs the background noise. If I am not home, he plays the television while reading his Twitter feed and doing a crossword puzzle. He plays music while he works and needs sound while he drives.
Perhaps I was subconsciously wearing the beads to try to keep all the figurative background noise at a lower hum until I can deal with it and take it off my plate. Return to the quiet house. I feel like I need my life to be quiet in order to have those definitive moments come--the ones that brought me my new mantra or blogging name. But what a chicken-and-egg since I can't get the quiet until I clear my plate of the noise. And I can't clear my plate of the noise until I can find some quiet.
Do you work best with background noise or in silence? And is it different for different situations? Do you need music to focus or do you work best in a quiet space?