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Posts Tagged ‘Silence’

Backyard

There are a few poets that I go to on a regular basis when I need some centering,

a reminder of the sacred or a deep breath.

David Whyte is one of those poets.

Everything is Waiting for You

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.

— David Whyte
from Everything is Waiting for You
©2003 Many Rivers Press

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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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Some days…

Blessed

Today here in the US we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  And although many use it as a National Day of Service, with so much of my life being the director of a Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Advocacy Center is about service I generally use this day to be more reflective and to fill myself to be able to continue to be of service.

By this point I am usually drained from the extroversion of the past few months… between the Holiday gatherings, the weekend of service being an advisor with 1,600 of my favorite young people at the YMCA Minnesota Youth In Government and all of the rest of life that continues to roll on I usually need a day or two of hunkering down and finding some restoration for my soul.  It was negative 12 most of today, and with windchill (which those of you who don’t live in MN it essentially means what it really feels like) it was negative 35.  Crazy cold is an understatement.  Today my restoration was found in some poetry and time enjoying the warmth of the fire and the counting of the many blessings that have been unfolding in my life over the past year.

I want to share with you some words from one of my favorite poets and I hope that they bring your soul the peace that they did mine:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My wish for you…

That you create some time to allow your blessings to find you, that you feel the warmth of a fire, that you “become inclined to watch the way of rain”, that you allow yourself to be deeply nourished.

P.S.  If you like the Blessed sign that I have, you can get your very own from my friend Amy at Little Fish Designs.  Some great items on there!  Be sure to check out all of her fantastic wares. 

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The above graphic is from Kristin Noelle.  Her site Trust Tending sends out these beautiful little Trust Notes each week and they are simply delightful.  She has all sorts of other great free and wonderful things you can sign up for as well.

About two months ago for a variety of reasons I decided to get rid of TV (note that I did wait until after football season was over).   Everyone has their vice right?  But for me it went back to looking more closely at my life and living more intentionally.  Although I didn’t watch a whole lot of tv I would find myself turning it on and watching things that after an hour I wondered… did I really need to know which flat they chose in London, or what the final outcome of the Extreme Makeover was?  And all watching the Food Network all it would do is make me hungry… and I wasn’t working on things that were truly feeding me.  Right now I am focusing on saving money, on putting my time and energy into things that deserve them and I realized TV didn’t fit for me anymore.  After getting sick and not turning it on for a few days I decide to take the plunge and I decided to make it into a fun experiment and get rid of TV, at least for the summer.

Giving up TV for the first week or so was a bit tough because it is so instinctual to come in the house and turn it on, “catch up” on the day and what I missed.  But I realize that with all of the access to news online and listening to NPR I am still up to date with current events.  I also worried about whether or not I would have something to talk about with certain people if we didn’t share our stories of the most recent episode of X show… but I am realizing that we are having better conversations about ourselves rather than some other stranger’s life.

Sometimes there is an echoey silence when there isn’t radio or TV on to fill it.  So it started me thinking about silence, and what would happen if I truly befriended silence, and thus the 40 Days of Silence  was born.

I have been reading and writing more, I have been listening to more music, I have been getting more restful sleep, I have been working out more, I have been praying and meditating more, I have been outside more, I have enjoyed my silence more, and one of the unexpected benefits is that I am more content.  When I do go online to watch my shows that I watch I do so intentionally, with the purpose of enjoying them, not as a default setting or as filler.

What has brought me the most peace is not having the constant underlying reminders of what I “need”, what I “can’t live without” and how I don’t “measure up” – the empty promises IF I got this certain product or service my life would be amazing.  The average American consumes over 3,000 ads per day, between radio, TV, billboards, newspapers, online etc. and it seeps into our subconscious coloring our opinions of ourselves and our lives.

Another unexpected benefit is that I have been having some great conversations as a result of this little experiment.  Turns out several of my friends have done this at the same time without really talking about it, and I have yet to find one that wishes they had it back.   It also has created some great conversation about what role the TV plays in our lives.  And for many it isn’t about cutting it out completely so much as it is being more mindful about it, for many it isn’t something they want to consider but the talk of an experiment to change something inspires them to think of some other experiment they have been toying with but haven’t yet done.

What experiment would push your comfort zone?  What kind of experiment could create more space for you to follow your dreams, to invite more fun and joy into your life, to create deeper relationships?  What kind of experiment could get you out of your rut and into your radiant life?

 

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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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I have been excited about rolling out my new Facebook page, unveiling new writing, opening up three spots in my coaching practice and working on some new blog posts and I was so excited about this being the week that I started doing more on the blog and on Facebook, and instead I have been wiped out by a nasty virus for the past four days.  My lips are chapped from breathing through my mouth, my muscles are sore from coughing and everything aches, and I am about as far from Radiant as I can be.  

It was one for the record books for me, being up for about 4 hours in a 48 hour period where just thinking about moving was an effort.  And yet, even in the midst of the pain and discomfort there were many moments of radiance, moments to string together to remind me that it wouldn’t always be this way.  Friends and family who would check in, drop off needed items like 7-Up, Orange Juice and more Nyquil, also those who called and reminded me that I am so very loved.  

Moments that reminded me that sometimes it isn’t me that needs to create radiance, sometimes the radiance is love from another, shared by their giving, and by my receiving.  Sometimes radiance is found in rest, in receptivity.  I have trained myself to always be the creator, the giver, the bringer, and I forget to find the balance.  I have been drawn to quotes and writing about silence lately and I could feel my very cells calling out for it, but I didn’t stop, there was so much to “do”. 

Sickness tends to bring out vulnerability, and reminds us that we can’t always do it “all by myself”.  It reminds us we don’t always have control- sometimes we need to surrender to something larger than ourselves, to remember that the world will continue to spin even if we aren’t there to guide it, sometimes we need to stop and let everything catch up, and if we don’t do it, sometimes our bodies will do it for us.   

So the past few days I have been silent, drinking in the stillness, my body and soul thirsty for that time, and it has caused me to recommit to my scheduling in silence for myself.  To be mindful of my balance, to honor my needs, to recommit to deep listening to my own wisdom.  It has reminded me to remember to provide nourishment for all of me, body, soul and spirit on a regular basis.  It has reminded me that sometimes a little silence, curling up in grandma’s quilt made with love, eating chicken and rice soup also made with love is all a girl needs to feel radiant againImage

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