On the day this post publishes, I am driving out to a monastic town to spend a weekend with other writers at a retreat. This has been a dream of mine for so long. I am so looking forward to it. What an indulgence to set aside a whole weekend for quiet, reflection and connection! Thanks, family, for this birthday gift.
If I am honest though, part of me is also dreading it. You see, I have been drowning out the quiet in my day to day life of late. I have dived deep into numbing behaviour with technology at the forefront. I don’t like the person I have been. My values are not evident in my lived-out choices. I know that I have been doing it and yet haven’t followed through on my determination to change day after day. Why? Because I don’t want to sit in the discomfort of the thoughts and fears that arise when I allow quiet.
I feel the effects of this lack of true quiet and dealing with what lies beneath. Feeling stressed and wound up. Irritability, particularly with the ones I love the most. Concentration and focus have been nonexistent. All of this leads to wanting to numb out and withdraw more and so I sink deeper into the hole.
There’s only one person who can break this cycle- me.
How I am making time for quiet and reflection
- Deleting the apps that I was using the most
This doesn’t solve the problem. I will find other distractions! It does bring in a pause while I figure out what to reach for instead of the default selection. Hopefully this gives a greater chance of implementing the other strategies.
- Practising ‘riding the wave of discomfort’ for 10 minutes and noticing the underlying internal trigger
I am reading ‘Indistractable’ by Nir Eyal and Julie Li. It is providing some intensely practical and research-based strategies for dealing with distraction, which has been an issue for humans since the earliest records! If I can resist the pull of distraction, I can engage with the quiet and reflection time.
- Reintroducing daily pauses
I use an app called ‘Pause’ by John Eldredge. I was finding it so useful but somewhere along the way, I started ignoring the reminders. It is amazing the impact one minute of pausing and releasing the mental baggage I’m holding can have.
- Not listening to or watching anything while hanging out laundry
Simply allowing my brain space to think and ponder. I find attaching this time to something that keeps my hand busy and is a frequent part of my life helps.
- A day off from social media and email every week
This is one rhythm that I have kept to but was filling that space with other noise instead. I find the break refreshing and it helps keep social media in a lower priority space.
These are starting points for me as I reclaim quiet and reflection. No one will guard this time for me. The noise of the world will creep in wherever I let it take hold. This is my renewed commitment to my soul and to those important to me to lead myself well in this space. A whole weekend of quiet and reflection? Yes, please.