Photo Friday: A Quiet Hum

Something has been abuzz beneath my skin for the past few months. I’m not really sure where the feeling came from or when it started precisely, but it’s almost like an itch that can’t be scratched…an unsettling that won’t be stilled. It isn’t an altogether unpleasant sensation, but none the less I’ve begun to half-jokingly refer to it as my “early mid-life crisis.” Truth is, that would be writing it off too simply.

Over the years I’ve struggled from time to time with letting my inner voice speak loud enough to be heard. More recently I have found myself pushing it aside with late nights working…and just the other day, with the hasty decisions to cut off all my hair. But even with a constant stream of activity to distract; softly yet more persistently than I’d like, there remains a humming that won’t go away. Through past experiences, I know that this means that I’m at a crossroads of some sort, and I need to allow myself the time and space to sort things out.

So, I’ve decided that it’s time for me to listen. Today (and this weekend too) feels like the right moment to finally pay attention to whatever that little hum is trying to say to me. I know this all sounds incredibly serious, and I hope I’m not bumming you out on this lovely Friday…but really, I’m looking forward to what’s in store. There are so many possibilities! Once the noise has been made sense of, I know I will be feeling world’s better about the next steps I want to take on this little journey called life. I’m ready!

Does any of this sound familiar to any of you? I would love to hear what ways you have of making it through “crossroads” moments in life with clarity and without losing too much sleep (or sanity). I am sure you have wonderfully inspiring and insightful things to share. You always do! xox Ez

P.S. I recently came across this wonderful post on Verily titled Propelled by Discomfort & Fear. It’s a quick and easy read, and something that will be sticking with me for a long while. Highly recommended.

Photograph by me (Ez Pudewa)

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26 Comments

  1. Masha / / Reply

    I know exactly what you mean, Ez…and I'm sure something good and beautiful will come out of it if you take the time to truly listen to your inner voice.

  2. Carla / / Reply

    That sounds so familiar, a few years ago I was going through the same, and I decided to end it all.
    An excellent career, a life that everybody else thought it was perfect, and I started following my inner voice.
    I lost a lot, but nothing compares to what I gained, I'm me now, I do what I feel like, I don't have to impress other people.
    Since then, I never looked back.
    Follow your dreams, listen to what your inner voice is saying and have time for yourself, to 'be' with yourself, and the answers to all your questions will come
    It worked for me, I'm sure it will work with you.
    Be strong, and enjoy Life to it's maximum!!
    Have a great weekend

  3. Sharon @ Discovering Blog / / Reply

    I've been feeling "off" lately too. I think it's for several reasons, one being my son's anxiety with starting a new school. The way I tend to get through times that I know are only temporarily rough is to just remind myself that in Oct, we'll be ok. It helps to take me out of the current state of stress and plop me into a time that I know will be calmer.

  4. Ellen / / Reply

    I just love that blog post about being propelled by fear and discomfort. It rings so true to me. Thank you for sharing our thoughts with us.

  5. Lindsay / / Reply

    So wonderful for someone to so perfectly put to words what I've also been feeling for a long while now. To try to sort out my humming I picked up yet another hobby. Whittling. Hoping that working with my hands but being forced to focus on just one task will help me make sense of where my energy needs to be spent more. Because it hasn't been the right place for a long time. I feel it yet I don't know how to unsettle it. I wish us all luck in finding a bit more peace each day.

  6. EB / / Reply

    Have you heard of the new book "Tiny Beautiful Things?" I highly recommend reading pieces of it if you have the time… A friend gave it to me, I've since given it to other friends, and they have also given it to friends. This part spoke to me, and your post about crossroads reminded me of it…

    Q. What do you do when you don’t know what to do about something?

    A. I talk to my husband and my friends. I make lists. I attempt to analyze the situation from the perspective of my “best self” – the one that’s generous reasonable, forgiving, loving, bighearted, and grateful. I think really hard about what I’ll wish I did a year from now. I map out the consequences of the various actions I could take. I ask what my motivations are, what my desires are, what my fears are, what I have to lose, and what I have to gain. I move toward the light, even if it’s a hard direction in which to move. I trust myself. I keep the faith. I mess up sometimes.

  7. Amy N / / Reply

    I know that hum….

    For me, I think it means I need a creative outlet….I need to start creating without the fear of failure. I'm so scared that I might fail – but I have to try right?

    Good luck to you!

  8. anne / / Reply

    A mindfulness practice has been really huge for me. I think I've lived most of my life in this constant state of rushing around so that I can avoid my emotions or inner voice, because most of the time, it's telling me to stop and slow down. Now that I've slowed down a bit in my own life, I find that when I start to get frazzled again, closing my eyes and trying to bring all of my thoughts to my breath, which is ever constant, helps me calm down. Also, just trying to be mindful in the day's activities, and to listen to yourself when you need time to just be.

  9. Helen / / Reply

    I know exactly what you mean … going through the same thing myself. Just can't quite put my finger on the reasons behind the hum … if you figure out a way through … please let us know. In the meantime I'm going on a quilting course. Perhaps (as Amy says) I need something of a creative outlet. Thanks for everything H xx

  10. Vero / / Reply

    I've been going trough something similar this year. I'm still not quite fixed but the best advice I can give is, don't try to please other. Be yourself, if other people think what your doing is lazy, wrong, irresponsible, stupid who cares. My spouse told me this morning: those people are bully, they have miserable life and they take it out on others. Stick to what feels right to you, and if you have someone you love around to talk with about it, go for it.

    Last time I did something crazy and to some people opinion, selfish, (quit my job, traveled to a foreign country) I ended up falling in love and married to the most wonderful person. We have been married 2 years and together for longer. I have no regrets about it.

    Best of luck and wishes!

  11. Emily K / / Reply

    How timely, Ez. I have been feeling a nagging lately, too. I know what is causing it, but I don't know yet how to resolve it or how it will be resolved. I have thought about it a lot, weighed options, gotten scared of the unknown, made "deadlines"… yet I am still stuck with indecision. It can't be rushed into, but it can't be put off too long.
    It's so helpful and comforting to read everyone else's responses of how they go about/have gone about listening to these feelings. Good luck with your listening!

  12. kathryn / / Reply

    my buzzing is always frustration…beyond normal levels. so i sit with my frustration in a quiet place…usually when i hike up in the mountains. answers tend to trickle in slowly, thru a book, a blog post, or all of a sudden i get really inspired about something. change happens and i feel like i'm on the right path again…until the next buzzing (bout of frustration) comes along!!! never ending cycle on the journey!

  13. indreams / / Reply

    i'm right there with you…i've been doing what everyone else expects of me for so long, i've forgotten what it is i truly love, and it's hard to build that back up again! i never know when something i'm feeling is real, or just a pressure from outside 'sources'. good luck with your inner-searching…it's tough, but i think it'll be worth it. :)

  14. dervla @ The Curator / / Reply

    Ez I hope you can take some time to yourself and figure how some answers to that buzzing in your head and soul so that you can make sense of things.

  15. Kirstin / / Reply

    I've definitely been feeling like this a lot lately. I've been living overseas, running my own business for two years now, but lately I've been looking for a change. For a few weeks I had a serious idea and gave myself a year to figure out how to make it work, move back to the states (with a new baby!) and set up a new and entirely different business. Now it's starting to not seem as feasible, and I feel stuck with this feeling of directionless motivation and ambition. It's tough to figure out what to do next when you realize, wow, I really could do *anything*.

  16. Kata / / Reply

    I know similar feelings well – they can mean external change, or the need to make tiny inner shifts in perspective. Here are my two cents, for whatever they're worth – sources I consult when I feel similar:
    The broadcast of On Being with John O'Donohue. Or the NYT Corner Office interview with Charlotte Beers.
    I also love reading Rumi at such times ("Move within, but don't move the way fear makes you move… Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you love…") and, for what it's worth, some of the wisdom from Frank Herbert's Dune!
    Looking forward to seeing what your net will catch from the sea of questions where you cast it, and wishing you a beautiful weekend.

  17. y / / Reply

    Feeling the same way. I checked myself out of life a while back without realizing it. I can feel a shift coming, but I'm not sure that I'm driving the bus — I feel like change is happening to me, much as it has for most of my life. Need to do some thinking around that.

    Any idea where the picture is from? I love it.

  18. SuzySomething / / Reply

    Ez…Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts so honestly. I understand perfectly what you mean about the "hum" My own hum has been building for some time and your post has made me acknowledge it and realize that, like you, I need to listen to what it wants to tell me. I hope your weekend is a good time for you to hear your voice. Sending positive thoughts in your direction, S

  19. Sarah / / Reply

    Beautifully written! I'm sure it will slowly wash over you.
    I also can't wait to see this lack of hair! I bet it's gorgeous

  20. Deb / / Reply

    I know that feeling and tend to fill my life up with costant things to do in hopes of it going away. Over the years, I've learned that I need to do the opposite and let something go in my life that wasn't giving me what I needed. Sometimes the process has been easy, but most times it's been hard. I hope you find peace soon and I love you bunches!

  21. Donna / / Reply

    I've been trying to ignore that hum for a while. Obviously, that doesn't work. It gets louder. And then life teams up with the hum and throws obstacles at me until I pay attention. Life won the battle. For two weeks now, I've been tied up in emotional knots and I need to find a quiet place so my mind can get still and create the path I need to move forward. The trick for me is always the quiet. Working from home means so much time spent in the thick of my 'stuff' that it's really hard to put all that aside and just be still. So… I try to get to nature. Sitting by a lake is the most peaceful thing for me so… someday soon, that's where I'll find myself so I can… well… find myself. Hope you can quiet the hum.

  22. Marissa / / Reply

    Jeez. Put your finger on the pulse of my July 2012-current day. I'm 34.5 and have self-declared a "mid-mid-life crisis". Soul searching while holding down two jobs, a marriage & two little kids is not for the faint hearted. Your cutting off your hair moment was my get my long desired tattoo moment. I just finished "tiny beautiful things" and literally couldn't put "her" down. Woke up in the middle of the night to continue reading Ms. Strayed's words. And she's right. Make lists. Consult with your inner self & those you trust. Make subtle changes. And for god's sake give yourself a little more compassion because we're only human. I hope you find the source to calm your buzzing. Mine has involved more creative time, picking up a hobby I never thought I would (running) and making a trip from CT to WA for a race. I promised my husband I'll come back. Good luck, Ez.

  23. Laura / / Reply

    I know the feeling of a needed change, even if you're not quite sure what it is – & cutting off all your hair to get it jump started ;) I've listened to that hum before, taken a chance, and made a change with no regrets. It's amazing the things you see & people you meet along the way. I can honestly say it was worth the journey. And now the hum is back again. I am on the verge of taking a huge step in having everything I want. I'm nervous/excited/freaking-out. There is an overwhelming amount of things to do, including moving out of state if I take the plunge. I think I may be ready (this time I changed my hair color). Best of luck to you, Ez, in finding your way. Just remember it's the journey that makes it worth it!

  24. Kimberly K. Ludwig / / Reply

    I call this conundrum the "B.L.I.N.K. (Bringing Light Into New Knowledge) Moment:

    In everyone's life, there are moments
    when time seems to stand still,
    the heartbeat seems to stop and all noise ceases to exist.
    There is an almost frightening Knowing, deep inside,
    that we are seeing/feeling/hearing…Truth.
    Within this Truth there is an Invitation…
    beckoning us to alter the course of our lives;
    to finally Become that which we were intended to Be.
    Most, out of fear, reject this Invitation.
    Others courageously step into the yet larger room…
    of their specifically designed,
    perfectly intended,
    B.L.I.N.K.
    Moment.

    What Do You Choose?

    BLINK The Experience © 2007 by Kimberly K. Ludwig
    All rights reserved. No part of this treatment may be used or reproduced in any manner without the written permission of the author.

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