22 July, 2015

Be Still and Discover - Journaling into the Quiet

Today we continue our series on journal ideas and tips. You can find the previous entries in the series here.

Last week we talked about journaling into what hurt

This week we are going to talk about journaling in the quiet.

As in being quiet. Being still. Waiting.

Be Still and Discover

Ooh we hate those words, don’t we? We hate to wait. Whether it’s at the doctor’s office, in line, at a stop light, for our family. We hate to wait. We are impatient. We take out our phones and scan the social media page we were on only moments before. We look at images and updates, and idle the time until whatever we were waiting on happens.

We are not good just being.

We want the distraction of noise. TV, radio, chatter, talk. Something about silence anymore makes us uncomfortable. It’s like a wool sweater in summer – itchy and out of place.

We have lost something precious friend.

In the wake of never being still, never without distraction, unable to take silence, stillness or our own thoughts – we have lost the ability to process and in many ways, feel.

Yet we were made to feel.

As we discussed last week, what we don’t face will come back. You cannot out run things forever.

Finding the Quiet

Earlier in the spring I went on a spiritual retreat. A group of us met and after a brief introduction, went about our own way. We had two hours and nothing to do.

The time looked different to each of us. Some went for a walk, others prayed or meditated.

I intentionally chose not to bring my headphones. It would have been easy for me to slip them in, turn on some music, and write the time away. But that was not the point. The ache is my heart was present even then (link) and I wanted to meet God.

I found a quiet corner. Looked out over His beauty and tried to quiet my mind.

It was hard. My to do list kept coming up. I thought of my phone in my purse, tempted to text my husband. I went over story ideas and song lyrics. But that was not why I was there.

I write in Emmaus about the need to simply be with God. To do this we have to de-clutter our minds, push beyond our tendency to fill every minute, confront and overcome our severe hatred of quiet and reflection.

So I chose a word and just said it over and over to myself. I let that saturate my heart and quiet my mind. When something new would come up I let it be for a moment and then went back to my word.

I found stillness. In that stillness I found something else – peace.

I was able to forget my discomfort and meet my heart where it was.

We Need Silence

We cannot exist without silence. We cannot exist without quiet. We cannot exist without time away from electronics and to dos and busyness.

We were made for more. But we’ve sold ourselves short.

Creativity requires space and quiet.

Relationships require attention and engagement.

Family requires time uninterrupted, consistency and being together.

Faith requires stillness, quieting our hearts and listening.

We are addicted to noise and distraction.

We are master numbs and avoiders.

We are told what to think, feel, believe and become.

And yet we are lonely.

We are hurting.

We are crying out for more.

But we have been taught that this kind of “more” is bad.

Simply Start

So start small.

Find a place where you can relax. Leave your cell phone behind. Do not take your tablet. Turn off the TV. Make sure you won’t be interrupted.

Get comfortable. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Pay attention as you breathe – in and out, slowly.

Focus on a word, or an image of something calming.

Your mind will wander. It will feel weird. But dear friend, that is okay.

After you are settled if you want to write, please do. If not, just let your mind be still and feel what is happening within and around you.

Maybe you only get five minutes in. Maybe you don’t have a revelation. That is okay.

The practice of quiet comes slowly. It’s a friend that beckons us back.

Maybe as you wait for your kiddo you breathe deep and just be instead of reaching for your phone.

Maybe you let someone go in line ahead of you and take the moment to recharge.

Maybe you keep the TV off before dinner, put your phone in a drawer and just engage your family where they are.

Maybe we can help silence and stillness not become bad words and things we avoid and instead turn them into ways we recharge and things we make time for.

Silence is not bad. Stillness is not being idle. It’s how we come to know ourselves and bring a bit of clarity into this fragmented, busy, over-stimulated, rushed world.

How can you bring a bit of stillness into your week? 

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© Amanda Lunday