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 excitement.
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.