And I wish someone would give it right back to me. I am declaring that my creative space, my life, my waking and sleeping hours are filled with too much noise, too many distractions that are keeping me from what I should be doing. Want to be doing. I have had it and need some peace and quiet.

But where do I find that peace and quiet? I don’t think I could afford a week at the Plaza where I wouldn’t be disturbed except for meals and urgent calls from Colin Firth or Javier Bardem. I just want to stay with this thought for a minute.

Back here on earth, the noise level has reached a point where even those sacred places of quietude are hard to find. I went to sit in a mediation group a few weeks ago, and people were chatting and singing outside the door and I could not protect my quiet from the onslaught of everybody else’s agenda. It sucked and I felt like my right to some peace had been infringed upon. And I think there is nothing worse than getting into a verbal battle over the right to some quiet. Not very Zen-like.

So what would a Chinese Taoist Philosopher do? Lao Tzu said, “Silence is a source of great strength.” That resonated with me. I can’t change the world even though I would like a shot at it, but I can change me and how I deal with world and all its noise pollution.

So I am going to try to make the world’s noise part of the daily rhythms in my life and I am going to be grateful that I can hear it. And I am going to make time to remove myself from it. I even put up a Buddhist altar in my sunroom and I must say that one of my cats, Minnie, goes there every day and hangs out with Buddha. I may not get there as much as I would like, but when I pass by, I take a deep breath and am happy that I had a place to design my little altar.

My Lab, Ruby, meditating after a nap.

I am going to listen to what the silence is trying to tell me and I am going to learn something from the noise. We can’t go backwards because our world never sleeps, so I am going to get inspired by it all. And my art and writing will benefit from the sounds of silence and the pulsations that will also make up my day.

“An inability to stay quiet is one of the most conspicuous failings of mankind” was coined by  Walter Bagehot. I think Wally needs to loosen up a bit. Have a glass of wine and chill out a bit. He died in 1877 so he never experienced the likes of radio, TV and all things beginning in a small “i.”  He might have completely freaked out. Not very Zen-like.

So how do you turn off the noise?


To submit a question for elizabeth’s column, please e-mail elizabeth at [email protected]. Every letter is important and reviewed carefully. However, because elizabeth receives a very large number of letters, she cannot answer every one. Thank you for understanding.

            elizabeth just took 3rd place in the Long Island Press’s Best of 2102 in the life coach category.

To schedule a complimentary coaching session with elizabeth, contact elizabeth through her site at

To read her blogs about life and the world at large, please go to: