Peace and Quiet

20 Jun

Sooo, sorry about last week. While visiting Will’s family, my car broke down and I was stuck staying with my parents until the parts came in. I’m back home now but unfortunately, I’m still car-less until this weekend. It hasn’t been an awesome experience but I’m thankful that we broke down so close to my family and I was able to spend some quality time with all of them.  Now you know why last week was all dead air here on the blog and I’m pretty behind on my reading and writing goals too. I’m letting it go, though, and writing up last week as vacation time so I don’t have to feel guilty for doing a whole lot of nothing. Which kinda leads into what I’m talking about today: the value of quiet-time.

I have to be careful about how I spend my time and who I spend it with because I have a tendency to become very solitary. I truly don’t mind being alone for long periods of time and in fact, I usually enjoy it.  I like to go out for lunch by myself sometimes and spend some time with a book at a cafe. I like to take the dogs to the park and walk around on our own. I love people very much but I don’t necessarily prefer their company  all the time. I’m a classic introvert in the way that I need lots of time to recharge after being social so my life is a balance of spending time with people and then taking more time to do “me” things.

Being like this makes me somewhat of an expert on taking time to rest and just be still. It’s very important to me but I also think it should be an important part of everyone’s life. We spend so much time working our minds and filling our time with insignificant worries and thoughts that often silence can feel nerve-wracking. If everything is quiet and still, something must be wrong, right? It’s as if peace has been equated to laziness or being unsociable in our society. I feel myself being told to watch more TV or text someone while I’m waiting. As I’m writing this, I’m also watching TV and that’s kind of the norm for everything. I listen to music while I’m cleaning, talk on the phone while I’m playing a video game. I’m guilty.For me, the constant sound–the constant words–are exhausting. I live for words and yet I overload so easily. I want them but at some point they start doing more harm than good.

About a month ago, before my yoga class started, a middle-aged woman leaned over to me and introduced herself. We exchanged small talk and she started to tell me how much she loved yoga classes. Her life was so stressful, she explained, that the gym was the only place where she got to have any quiet. At first I felt a little ashamed because my life is usually the opposite of stressful and I have all kinds of time for peace and yet…I still related. My favorite part of the class is the very end when we get to lie on our sides in the dark, essential oils in the air, and just bask in the pure silence. When I leave, there’s an afterglow of relaxation that I feel trailing behind every step I take. I come home and lean my whole body against my husband, who is typically working on dinner at that time, and just sigh. He starts to talk and I shush him because the stillness is so nice.

In a way, I’m most myself in those moments. I can feel every part of my body– all the space I have inside that doesn’t need any filling at all. I feel empty but absolutely overflowing with self-awareness. I’m alive and deep and dripping with rest, like I’ve emerged from pool or lake after a long swim into its deepest parts. I feel sexy too. I’m not thinking about the skinny stick of a starlet from some tv drama who looks better than me in a bathing suit. I’m not too worried about our bills or job prospects. I just feel instead of thinking.

I doubt anyone can get to that place and be allowed to stay for too long but I think everyone can find and feel it for as long as she needs every day. It might be that you only get ten minutes of quiet on your way to work or you have to take a five minute walk on your lunch break, but you deserve every last minute you can make for yourself. Turn off the music, the TV, your phone and then stop thinking about all the things that keep you preoccupied– your plans for dinner, your social calender, your next paycheck. Let go and create a moment for yourself, as long as you can manage, that’s completely silent. Do nothing but reside in that empty space inside of you. And I know how mystic and unattainable that sounds but you have that place and you need to be inside it every day to appreciate and love yourself. You can read, you can journal, or maybe meditate if you’re into it. Just take a break for some quiet time. It will do you good.

For me, this time is very close to what worship looks like. So tomorrow I’m going to write a bit more about how silence can be enriching and how worship is more than just singing in church.

Love always,



2 Responses to “Peace and Quiet”

  1. Dori Fraser June 20, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    I like watching the sprinker water the lawn. I know sick right? It takes me back to summers as a kid when we used to run through the sprinkler. The whole world takes on a “just washed” look. I find it soothing to watch the rainbows the water makes and the sound of the sprinkler as it moves across the grass.

  2. Angela Jackson June 20, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    As you can imagine, quiet time is just not an option at this house 🙂 While Maggie is with grandparents this week, one of the things I look forward to is quiet. I like to have time where no one is asking me anything and I’m not asking anything. Just quiet. While I miss Maggie, I need this little break to recharge my batteries.

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