Journeying toward quiet...
How can I get there from here?
How do I find
moments of mystery,
pockets of peace,
a shadow of stillness
in this hyper connected, overscheduled, frantic world?
It seems that whenever I am able to make time for stillness,
time for sitting with God,
time for sitting with myself in that inner quiet place where hardly anyone visits,
I come away nourished and strengthened and refreshed, even if the visit was relatively short.
And I wonder, how can I find my way to this place regularly? I've been thinking about this question in recent weeks, and here are a few ideas that I am finding useful. Sometimes.
I offer them as road signs and map notes on the journey toward quiet. The first, last and in-between lesson I am learning is that I must...
It isn't just going to happen; I don't generally stumble into quietness and rest. I have to choose. Over and over again. I don't know what that might look like in your world. It might mean picking up a book instead of scrolling through another day's worth of facebook status updates. It's hard to find quiet if my head is always spinning with the unnecessary details of someone else's life. Sometimes I must resist the urge to "get my day started" with a load of laundry and sit in silence before the hubbub begins. "Not yet," I say to myself and sit back down with the Book open before me.
Sometimes I don't have a choice. Life is what it is. Like in my last post. I didn't choose the lawn mower, the construction racket, or the chain saw. But sometimes I do have choices, and I'm learning to...
Choose less noise.
It's time to turn off the sound already. When I'm alone in a vehicle, some days I hit my mental pause button before I turn on the…noise. It's not that it isn't okay to sing along with the radio at top volume to the radio, but sometimes, the quiet is what I need. (Even if it's praise and worship instead of "Something Bad…")
It's hard to just choose quiet, but most days there are times when that is exactly what I need.
When I walk into the house after a busy day, it's not always best to automatically turn on…anything. It helps to listen to the silence if it exists, to take a few moments to simply absorb the calm of an empty house. This is easier when I've purposed to...
Do I have to run out and make that one stop now, or could I make all three stops tomorrow and have a few extra minutes this afternoon to breathe, a few extra minutes to sit on the porch and read.
Or just sit.
Do the kids really need to go here/there/everywhere to have fun on a summer afternoon,
or could I risk "I'm bored" in order to create space for all of us to encounter…quiet.
One practice I found helpful through the years was to create some boundaries for part of a day when children could play freely but separately. One in the living room, one in his bedroom, one under the kitchen table, one on the front porch...it wasn't a punishment, it was the opportunity to play uninterrupted, to read without distraction, to learn the pleasure of being by oneself. And even if it wasn't necessarily still, the "quiet" time created space for creativity and solitude.
In a busy household, finding quiet time and space is almost impossible unless I...
I have to be intentional about what I do, or the time/place for quiet never happens.
I can go to bed fifteen minutes earlier and read until I drop the book on my face. Again.
I can pause in the rush of life and look up...just for a few moments, I can take in the wonder of puff clouds or the stateliness of a heron silhouetted against the darkening sky.
I can say, I am going to write a letter now; I will clean those windows another day.
Instead of playing another round of online nothingness, it helps me, body-soul-spirit!- to take a walk. I don't always power walk; meandering can be magnificent. I often find I have to move really fast for the first part of my walk; it seems to help quiet the noisy stuff going on in my head. Then about halfway on the way to wherever, I realize I need to...
Choose to breathe.
Seriously. It does help to consciously pause to breath, in, out. A few times. I sometimes (sometimes!) think of it this way:
"Breathe in - grace. Breathe out- praise."
I continue my walk but with less vigor and more wonder.
Less power, more pause.
This is the time for listening to the sounds around me, to the thoughts within me rising noiselessly to the surface once the debris is cleared. My need for silence is affirmed. I listen for the Voice, "This is the way, walk in it." And the process repeats, layer upon layer, and I realize once again that in my journey toward quiet, I cannot get there from here unless I choose.