Silence is Golden


I’m a “Shhh-usher.” I don’t know exactly when I became a “Shhh-usher,” but I’m pretty sure it was around the time I had kids. I “Shhh-ushed” people when the babies were asleep (For the love of God, don’t wake them up!!!), and then I “Shhh-ushed” the kids themselves when they became, well, kids, who tended to talk, or yell, or blurt things out at inappropriate times. I also “Shhh-ushed” them when I really just needed a break from tiny, high-pitched voices. (Oh, don’t give me that judgey thing–you’ve wished them temporarily mute, too.)

It’s a tremendously useful word–or sound, or whatever it is. One quick “Shhh!”, accompanied by the requisite glare, was magic when it came to the need for blessed silence. It didn’t always work, but when it did–Aaaahhhhh!

I’m pretty sure the sound, and the gesture, are universal, too. Which may be rather telling when we recognize that we all, no matter who we are or where we’re from, have the need for silence.

Recently, I read My Stroke of Insight, by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. It’s the story of her devastating stroke and recovery, and it’s fascinating stuff. However, one part struck me. When Taylor had her stroke, she remarked on how a part of her brain was silenced–the constant “brain chatter” running through her mind, quiet. She was entirely, completely in the present moment, given her brain’s injury.

As she recovered, and her mind began to heal, Taylor made a choice: She would decide when to allow her brain to talk to her, and when to tell it to “Shhh.”

I’ve tried it, and guess what? It works! Not perfectly, and I usually have to repeat it to myself (I don’t like people telling me what to do, even if it’s me doing the telling), but after a few well-timed “Shhh-ushes,” and an internal glare towards my chattering mind, I’ve been able to grab moments of silence.

Silence. What a gift, in the midst of the non-stop assault of noise in our world. With life’s constant commotion, I don’t need my own mind to add to it. And in our nation’s current of angst, my brain’s been chattering overtime. It’s time to take a break.

So, “Shhhhhhh, already!” And if you happen to see me “Shhh-ushing,” and no one is around, I’m likely “Shhh-ushing” myself. I probably deserve it. Sometimes, my brain needs to remember that silence is indeed, golden.

2018-10-30T09:39:32+00:00July 17th, 2017|4 Comments

About the Author:

MARY FRAN BONTEMPO is a speaker, author and humorist who teaches audiences to control their most powerful influence: Self-Talk. Author of The Woman’s Book of Dirty Words, and Not Ready for Granny Panties, Mary Fran proves small changes in self-talk yield big life changes, allowing individuals to redefine their lives both professionally and personally in a rapidly changing world. A Huffington Post and Thrive Global contributor, and regular columnist for Women’s Voices Magazine and Best Kept Self, Mary Fran inspires and motivates readers and listeners to tame the self-talk beast, leading them to personal and professional renewal and success. After thirty years’ experience as owner of a full-service recruiting firm, and finding herself in the middle of a perfect life storm—turning 50, a crashing economy, and most devastating, a son with serious addiction issues—Mary Fran created the blog, Not Ready for Granny Panties, authoring two books in the series and developing a life-affirming brand full of practical wisdom and wit. A frequent media guest and speaker, audiences delight in her empowering and entertaining message.


  1. Mary Fran Bontempo July 17, 2017 at 8:42 PM

    Susan, Thank you for the kind words, and for putting me in the same space as Maria Shriver! The everyday is my favorite place to be, and I just try to do it as well as I can. So grateful to call you a friend; thanks again! xo

  2. Susan Zubak July 17, 2017 at 1:17 PM

    I so enjoy reading your wit and wisdom! Your posts, along with Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper, bring calm (and sanity and direction) to an otherwise noisy world. You gals are both on my favorites to cozy up and read.
    Just this morning I put on slow jazz music to shush the noise in my brain. So this article was so refreshing that I’m on the right track!
    Thank you my friend for your refreshing insight into the everyday:)

  3. Mary Fran Bontempo February 9, 2017 at 8:37 PM

    Yes, it’s fascinating stuff. Also gives me a little hope that I can calm the voices in my head on a regular basis. Thanks for checking in, Chrysa!

  4. Chrysa Smith February 8, 2017 at 8:12 AM

    So timely. I was watching On the Psychiatrist’s Couch (yes) and he was doing brain scans of people with all sorts of brain problems—stroke, depression, Alzheimers and the emotional centers of the brain that were firing either way too much or way too little. I was fascinated to learn that you can improve your brain’s health, even if it’s bad now and learn how to quiet those firing synapses? to relax the mind.

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