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Archive for the ‘Silence’ Category

I write about silence a lot, it’s healing power, why we need more of it in our lives, ways to find silence in the midst of our hectic lives.  But as with so many important truths, there is a paradox.

Silence is vitally important- but so is speaking out.  As with so many things it is using discernment and wisdom to determine what the situation calls for.  There is a time for silence and a time for speaking our truth, for using our voice and breaking the silence.

Watching Ted talks is one of my favorite pastimes.  I always find something interesting and it helps to give me new ways of looking at things.

I recently watched this Ted Talk by Clint Smith who is a teacher and a slam poet.  There were so many times where I wanted to stop the talk so I could write down some of his wisdom and to take a moment to let the wisdom sink in.

 

One of the things that struck me was this:

I have four core principles posted on the board that sits in the front of my class, which every student signs at the beginning of the year: 

Read critically,

Write consciously,

Speak clearly,

Tell your truth.

What a different world it would be if we followed those core principles.

The recent events in Ferguson and the ensuing discussion have reminded me that we all have different experiences, we all walk through lives with our own filters, our own perceptions of how the world is and should be.  It has reminded me that silence about our experiences doesn’t serve anyone and that we have much to learn from each other.

I have determined that life is much better when I recognize my sphere of influence and begin with me, so in that spirit I will recommit to reading critically, writing consciously, speaking clearly, and telling my truth.

And one thing I can trust, beautiful things happen when you take risks.

 

 

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Grace

Lucky for us the lessons we most need to learn keep showing up.
Sigh…

I have been antsy lately, crabby and feeling overwhelmed by pretty much everything.  Instead of going to the things that I know bring me closer to my center, closer to a little bit of peace- getting enough sleep, working out, finishing one project at a time- I have been starting more and more, cramming more and more on my little plate and feeling the pressure of trying to keep it all contained on on the plate.  My soul has been craving space, silence and expansiveness with a large dose of grace, but instead it has been on a steady diet of have to’s, shoulds and ought to’s crowding out any space for grace.

Luckily I was reminded last night of the gift of being given grace by another when you can’t give it to yourself.

Then today, I came across this blog post, and was reminded this quote by Thomas Merton:

“The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. More than that, it is cooperation in violence. The frenzy of the activist…destroys his own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”

And this from Courtney Martin in her post the Spiritual Art of Saying No:

“So often when this issue gets talked about, I feel like it is portrayed as a problem of wilting flower women who just want to make everyone happy. I don’t mind disappointing people so much as I’m voraciously and indiscriminately interested in the world. I want to learn everything, be everywhere, collaborate with everyone. In thoroughly modern terms, I’ve got major FOMO about anything that fascinates me.”

One of my greatest strengths is also one of my greatest weaknesses.  Life fascinates me, and there is so much to learn, discover and experience.  And so many amazing people to befriend, to share life with, to adventure through life with.  And yet, this quote, and my recent days have reminded me that I can’t do all things, be all things to all people.  It reminds me to give myself the gift of stepping back, of taking a deep breath, of centering first and moving from there, giving myself more of the grace that was gifted to me.

So my reminder for myself, “Make space for grace”.

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Phase of rest…

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Keeping Sabbath…

They have been popping up everywhere lately…
reminders of how important rest, silence, solitude, prayer, meditation, movement, and reverence are…

A few weeks ago the sermon was on the idea of Sabbath, keeping the Sabbath, what it means to rest, what it means to allow God to renew you.

And this passage has been just behind my consciousness since I read it more than two weeks ago.

“The heart is a leisurely muscle. It differs from all other muscles. How many push-ups an you make before the muscles in your arms and stomach get so tired that you have to stop? But your heart muscle goes on working for as long as you live. It does not get tired, because there is a phase of rest built into every single heartbeat. Our physical heart works leisurely. And when we speak of the heart in a wider sense, the idea that life-giving leisure lies at the very center is implied. Never to lose sight of that central place of leisure in our life would keep us youthful. Seen in this light, leisure is not a privilege but a virtue. Leisure is not the privilege of a few who can afford to take time, but the virtue of all who are willing to give time to what takes time- to give as much time as a task rightly takes.”

Brother David Stiendl-Rast
Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer

Lately I have found myself seeking ways to bring the Sabbath feeling into every day. To find balance in my life that can be maintained long-term, a balance that allows the ebb and flow of life, and doesn’t leave me exhausted.

After spending the past two years in a program to become a Spiritual Director I have been thinking a lot about the ideas of Sabbath, of nourishment, of how to let the Sacred fill and renew me. Although it was an intense program there were these moments of rest that were built in that kept us nourished and filled through the time. I remember listening to the schedule of weekends and looking at the reading list and being a bit dismayed because I was already feeling torn and overwhelmed by my commitments, and the director nodded reassuringly and smiled as she read my mind “Although it sounds like a lot you will leave feeling more rested and filled.” Honestly I didn’t believe her at the time, but two years later I am in awe of how true that was.

And now that the program has ended one of my intentions is to begin to learn how to do that for myself in new and more meaningful ways. There is rest, and there is deep rest. And to learn what is deeply restful is an integral part of self-care.

So as you begin a new week may you find time for a “phase of rest”, may you take the feeling of Sabbath into your week and may you find the renewal you seek.

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Northern Minnesota

Silence…

I have been following my own advice and making time and space to find silence lately, some days five minutes comes easily, and then some days finding myself rushing until the moment I lay down at night only to realize that I never took that time to be silent and still.

I have found silence in various places lately.  Last week I spent one of my 5 minutes with my nephew after putting him to bed, sitting in the chair in his room sharing the sacred space before a little one goes to sleep just listening to him breathe in and out.

This weekend I went on an adventure to Northern Minnesota where silence was woven through the weekend.  Snowshoeing as the snow gently fell walking in silence on freshly fallen snow.  The sounds of the forest muted by the 10 inches of fresh snow they had gotten a few days before and stillness emanating from every tree and rock.  Sitting by a fire in silence with a friend, a glass of wine and no internet, no cell phone reception, watching the waves and listening to the lake.

It reminded me that by giving myself silence, by taking the time to soak it all in things sort themselves out, so often I fall into the habit of fixing everything now, going faster, doing bigger, better things- and so often it is in the silence that reminds me that this moment is enough just as it is.

And as will almost always happen, when I step into stillness, when I offer myself the time to stop, to get off the hamster wheel I emerge refreshed and ready to reengage, recommitting to my promise to myself to live my life from a more authentic, clear, and centered place.

I found this quote upon my return and smiled as I thought about the wisdom of the Lake and all that it had shared with me this weekend.

Wash the dust from your soul and heart with wisdom’s water.

~Rumi

After sitting, centering, being silent I found that my words were tumbling forth… and this is part of a response to a journal prompt my friend had given me:

As I listen to the lake

As I listen to the lake it reminds me that it is a big, vast lake, filled with so many individual droplets of water, yet all are integral to the whole… there are water droplets who revel in splashing against the rocks, who love the idea of jumping onto the shore, and other drops of water who prefer to be in the still, depth and center of the lake… there are yet others who want to glide on the top, gently swaying and rocking, and other drops who want to travel a long ways- distance is their goal, and others who long to stay as close to their home as possible… and all ways lead to the beauty, reflect the who of the lake… the lake is all of them and none of them… the lake simply is… this ancient stillness, this watery heartbeat of the waves… in and out… pulled by the moon, warmed by the sun…

As I listen to the lake it reminds me that there are so many worlds yet to explore, there is so much left to uncover, unearth…

I have only just begun.

Indeed, I have been struggling with a few things lately that have taken a toll on my soul, and my healing has been found in this silence.  This silence has held me in the midst of so much grace, in so much love, in so much compassion.  The silence has helped heal old wounds, it has given me strength to support others as they navigate difficult times, it has given me strength to make brave choices, it has reminded me of my power and my voice and it has reminded me to move with more intention in my life.

In the silence I have heard the voice of love remind me that the story is not over yet, there is so much of my life yet to be written.

In so many ways I have only just begun.

Sitting with silence has brought me so many gifts and I am looking forward to hearing if any of you are experiencing the same…

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