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Quiet Vs Chronic Excitement

Categories: Uncategorized
Sources: Nerves And Common Sense

SOME women live in a chronic state of excitement all the time and

they do not find it out until they get ill. Even then they do not

always find it out, and then they get more ill.

It is really much the same with excitable women as with a man who

thinks he must always keep a little stimulant in himself in order to

keep about his work. When a bad habit is established in us we feel

unnatural if we give the h
bit up for a moment--and we feel natural

when we are in it--but it is poison all the same.

If a woman has a habit of constantly snuffing or clearing her

throat, or rocking a rocking chair, or chattering to whoever may be

near her she would feel unnatural and weird if she were suddenly

wrenched out of any of these things. And yet the poisoning process

goes on just the same.

When it seems immaterial to us that we should be natural we are in a

pretty bad way and the worst of it is we do not know it.

I once took a friend with me into the country who was one of those

women who lived on excitement in every-day life. When she dressed in

the morning she dressed in excitement. She went down to breakfast in

excitement. She went about the most humdrum everyday affairs

excited. Every event in life--little or big--was an excitement to

her--and she went to bed tired out with excitement--over nothing.

We went deep in the woods and in the mountains, full of great

powerful quiet.

When my friend first got there she was excited about her arrival,

she was excited about the house and the people in it, but in the

middle of the night she jumped up in bed with a groan of torture.

I thought she had been suddenly taken ill and started up quickly

from my end of the room to see what was the trouble.

"Oh, oh," she groaned, "the quiet! It is so quiet!" Her brain which

had been in a whirl of petty excitement felt keen pain when the

normal quiet touched it.

Fortunately this woman had common sense and I could gradually

explain the truth to her, and she acted upon it and got rested and

strong and quiet.

I knew another woman who had been wearing shoes that were too tight

for her and that pinched her toes all together. The first time she

wore shoes that gave her feet room enough the muscles of her feet

hurt her so that she could hardly walk.

Of course, having been cramped into abnormal contraction the process

of expanding to freedom would be painful.

If you had held your fist clenched tight for years, or months, or

even weeks, how it would hurt to open it so that you could have free

use of your fingers.

The same truth holds good with a fist that has been clenched, a foot

that has been pinched, or a brain that has been contracted with


The process leading from the abnormal to the normal is always a

painful one. To stay in the abnormal means blindness, constantly

limiting power and death.

To come out into a normal atmosphere and into a normal way of living

means clearer sight, constantly increasing power, and fresh life.

This habit of excitement is not only contracting to the brain; it

has its effect over the whole body. If there is any organ that is

weaker than any other the excitement eventually shows itself. A

woman may be suffering from indigestion, or she may be running up

large doctor's bills because of either one of a dozen other organic

disturbances, with no suspicion that the cause of the whole trouble

is that the noisy, excited, strained habits of her life have robbed

her body of the vitality it needed to keep it in good running order.

As if an engineer threw his coal all over the road and having no

fuel for his engine wondered that it would not run. Stupid women we

are--most of us!

The trouble is that many of us are so deeply immersed in the habit

of excitement that we do not know it.

It is a healthy thing to test ourselves and to really try to find

ourselves out. It is not only healthy; it is deeply interesting.

If quiet of the woods, or, any other quiet place, makes us fidgety,

we may be sure that our own state is abnormal and we had better go

into the woods as often as possible until we feel ourselves to be a

part of the quiet there.

If we go into the woods and get soothed and quieted and then come

out and get fussed up and excited so that we feel painfully the

contrast between the quiet and our every-day life, then we can know

that we are living in the habit of abnormal excitement and we can

set to work to stop it.

"That is all very well," I hear my readers say, "but how are you

going to stop living in abnormal excitement when every circumstance

and every person about you is full of it and knows nothing else?"

If you really want to do it and would feel interested to make

persistent effort I can give you the recipe and I can promise any

woman that if she perseveres until she has found the way she will

never cease to be grateful.

If you start with the intention of taking the five minutes' search

for quiet every day, do not let your intention be weakened or

yourself discouraged if for some days you see no result at all.

At first it may be that whatever quiet you find will seem so strange

that it will annoy you or make you very nervous, but if you persist

and work right through, the reward will be worth the pains many

times over.

Sometimes quieting our minds helps us to quiet our bodies; sometimes

we must quiet our bodies first before we can find the way to a

really quiet mind. The attention of the mind to quiet the body, of

course, reacts back on to the mind, and from there we can pass on to

thinking quietly. Each individual must judge for herself as to the

best way of reaching the quiet. I will give several recipes and you

can take your choice.

First, to quiet the body:--

1. Lie still and see how quietly you can breathe.

2. Sit still and let your head droop very slowly forward until

finally it hangs down with its whole weight. Then lift it up very,

very slowly and feel as if you pushed it all the way up from the

lower part of your spine, or, better still, as if it grew up, so

that you feel the slow, creeping, soothing motion all the way up

your spine while your head is coming up, and do not let your head

come to an entirely erect position until your chest is as high as

you can hold it comfortably. When your head is erect take a long,

quiet breath and drop it again. You can probably drop it and raise

it twice in the five minutes. Later on it should take the whole five

minutes to drop it and raise it once and an extra two minutes for

the long breath.

When you have dropped your head as far as you can, pause for a full

minute without moving at all and feel heavy; then begin at the lower

part of your spine and very slowly start to raise it. Be careful not

to hold your breath, and watch to breathe as easily and quietly as

you can while your head is moving.

If this exercise hurts the back of your neck or any part of your

spine, don't be troubled by it, but go right ahead and you will soon

come to where it not only does not hurt, but is very restful.

When you have reached an erect position again stay there

quietly--first take long gentle breaths and let them get shorter and

shorter until they are a good natural length, then forget your

breathing altogether and sit still as if you never had moved, you

never were going to move, and you never wanted to move.

This emphasizes the good natural quiet in your brain and so makes

you more sensitive to unquiet.

Gradually you will get the habit of catching yourself in states of

unnecessary excitement; at such times you cannot go off by yourself

and go through the exercises. You cannot even stop where you are and

go through them, but you can recall the impression made on your

brain at the time you did them and in that way rule out your

excitement and gain the real power that should be in its place.

So little by little the state of excitement becomes as unpleasant as

a cloud of dust on a windy day and the quiet is as pleasant as under

the trees on top of a hill in the best kind of a June day.

The trouble is so many of us live in a cloud of dust that we do not

suspect even the existence of the June day, but if we are fortunate

enough once or twice even to get to sneezing from the dust, and so

to recognize its unpleasantness, then we want to look carefully to

see if there is not a way out of it.

It is then that we can get the beginning of the real quiet which is

the normal atmosphere of every human being.

But we must persist for a long time before we can feel established

in the quiet itself. What is worth having is worth working for--and

the more it is worth having, the harder work is required to get it.

Nerves form habits, and our nerves not only get the habit of living

in the dust, but the nerves of all about us have the same habit. So

that when at first we begin to get into clear air, we may almost

dislike it, and rush back into the dust again, because we and our

friends are accustomed to it.

All that bad habit has to be fought, and conquered, and there are

many difficulties in the way of persistence, but the reward is worth

it all, as I hope to show in later articles.

I remember once walking in a crowded street where the people were

hurrying and rushing, where every one's face was drawn and knotted,

and nobody seemed to be having a good time. Suddenly and

unexpectedly I saw a man coming toward me with a face so quiet that

it showed out like a little bit of calm in a tornado. He looked like

a common, every-day man of the world, so far as his dress and

general bearing went, and his features were not at all unusual, but

his expression was so full of quiet interest as to be the greatest

contrast to those about him. He was not thinking his own thoughts

either--he was one of the crowd and a busy, interested observer.

He might have said, "You silly geese, what are you making all this

fuss about, you can do it much better if you will go more easily."

If that was his thought it came from a very kindly sense of humor,

and he gave me a new realization of what it meant, practically, to

be in the world and not of it.

If you are in the world you can live, and observe, and take a much

better part in its workings. If you are of it, you are simply

whirled in an eddy of dust, however you may pose to yourself or to