Tag Archives: quiet

The Beauty of Silence, Meditation and Donuts

IMG_3402There’s nothing like a donut to bring two people together.

I brought my truck in for a long overdue oil change yesterday.  My five year-old son came with me and we decided the one hour wait would be a perfect opportunity to visit the donut shop next door.  We hustled in from the cold and ordered up a couple of hot chocolates and sweet treats.

I invited my little man to choose our table and he pointed toward a two-top in the far corner.  The space felt noticeably peaceful.  Nearby three old men sat reading the paper, enjoying a warm ray of sunlight shining through floor-to-ceiling windows.  We smiled at them as we passed and I followed my son to the corner, listening to the quick, rhythmic shoosh-shoosh-shoosh of his snow pants he walked through the quiet shop.

We sat down and got cozy, shaking off our jackets and releasing shocks of staticy hair from under our hats, then reached for our goodies.  I unwrapped my go-to flavor, Boston Cream, and he slowly revealed own his favorite, Strawberry Sprinkled.  He laid the pink donut on a napkin and sipped his cocoa, “Too hot!”  I peeled off the cap and poured in a little more milk.  He tried it again.  “Mmmmm.  ‘S good.”

“What happened in school today, buddy?”

No answer.

“Did you learn anything new?”

Shrug.

He was not interested in conversation.  He pushed his cocoa aside and turned his focus on the awaiting spongey delight.  I decided to stop talking and simply enjoy the sight of my little guy wholly engaging in an exquisite eating meditation.

With deep concentration he examined his snack on the table.  He picked it up and sunk his teeth in.  When a tiny red jimmy toppled onto his napkin, he pinched it between his thumb and forefinger and meticulously nestled it back into the icing.  He chewed and paused and chewed some more.  He lifted the donut high above his head with one hand, clearly in awe of its deliciousness.  He held it up to me as if to say, Look, Mamma, isn’t it beautiful?  But he didn’t utter a word.  He just returned his full awareness to the slow and methodical extinction of one pink donut.  He carefully selected which portion to bite, mindful to save the sweetest bit for last.  He chewed and relished and appreciated the donut so entirely, I could only imagine that for him, in those moments, not one other thing existed in the whole wide world.

The last bite was upon him.  He popped it into his mouth, chewed for a long while, swallowed, then tossed his head back in the chair, staring at the ceiling, seemingly reconciling the experience.

I paused to take in the warm hush of the donut shop.  And I realized that silence is a pretty amazing way to communicate.

I smiled then laughed out loud.  I told him I loved him.

“I love you, too, Mamma,” he finally responded.

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Like Vanessa’s post? Adopt, support or share these similar intents on Intent.com!

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intent - peace hope

Intend to Disconnect to Reconnect

(140/365) Computer magicIt may seem like a conflict in ideas but the only way to connect is to disconnect. To connect to your real self  – to know your talents, strengths and passions – that will allow you to connect to your best life – you have to disconnect from your world. Not for long. Just every now and then.

See, the more we are connected to the distractions and noise of our world, the more difficult it is to quiet things down enough to focus inward. All important information happens within. We have information about who we are, what we believe, what matters to us, what we are passionate about and what we are good at. We don’t have access to this information unless we disconnect from our busy and distracting world; we have to tune out to tune in.

In nearly every moment, we are connected to a world that demands our constant attention. We are on the Internet, texting, calling, communicating. I did an informal test this morning while I was stopped, waiting for my left arrow light to change from red to green. I counted the cars that passed me; of the thirty-two cars that passed, twenty-four were on their phones. Seventy-five percent of the people just at that light were connected.

True, while driving is not the place to disconnect to connect – when driving we need to be fully present to the road and the conditions. But it was an indication of how many of us are unable to disconnect from today’s distractions. And the more this happens, the less we create the space to be able to connect to the really important things – our sense of self. Without this information, we don’t know what we are good at, passionate about and what matters to us. Without this information, we are unable to look at our world and know how to find our fit – our place. And because we don’t know what opportunities fit us, we listen to others and herded around life by those who tell us where to go, how to live and what to believe. We have to disconnect to connect, we have to tune out to tune in.

In the quiet of tuning out, we start to listen to our inner voice. We can only hear this when things are still – quiet. Though our internal voice is very powerful, it rarely can compete with our ego and our world’s voices. To be able to hear our internal voice, we have to find the volume control and turn the outside voices down. Our deepest self has amazing wisdom, as it is our core – our spirit. It has all that it needs to help us show up wisely, happily and successfully each day. It is just that we haven’t ever learned about what it has for us, and how to access it. We have instead been taught that today’s wisdom is in books, schools and in others. Few of us realize that today’s wisdom is in ourselves – unavailable until we choose to access it. And for that, we must take the time and create some quiet space.

How can you take 15 minutes at the beginning and end of each day to disconnect from the world so you can connect to yourself? What will it take for you to see the value in listening in the quiet to your own personal wisdom? How could life change for you if you did?

Tune out to tune in; disconnect to connect. It takes effort to break our old habits but the benefits of developing the habit of creating quiet time to access our inner knowledge and wisdom is the key to living our most amazing lives. Now stop reading and go spend time with your awesome self.

photo by: Sarah G...

Journey To Peace

A Course In Miracles says:

“Learn to be quiet in the midst of turmoil, for quietness is the end of strife and this is the journey to peace.”

So many times when we are in turmoil, quietness will not be what we reach for.

We will get on the phone or on FaceBook, we will murmur and complain to anyone who will listen.

We will pace the floor, wring our proverbial hands and turn on the TV.

We will try to find peace through every external source known to man.

Finally, we come to the end of our own strength.

Unable to dial another number for fear of loosing the few friends we have left who haven’t heard our complaints, we will settle down and turn inward.

We will sit with our fears and our feelings and honor them and what ask what gifts they bring us.

We will enter into that Holy of Holies and find God, waiting patiently for us to sit with Him and hand over our cares.

So the next time turmoil in any of its varied forms comes calling, remember this:

“God comes to the quiet mind.”

Reach for the strength and power of quietness before you reach for the phone and you have started your journey to peace!

What Brings You Serenity?

Taking vacations is a no-brainer. We spend copious amounts of money traveling exotic parts of the world, looking for a hide away where we can indulge our senses. Be that our sense of adventure, exploration, a place to unwind and reclaim a lost sense of calm, or just a simple get away from the bustling lives we live in the city. 

 But what about the larger chunk of our lives that is spent behind our desks, in our homes, around wailing kids, amid deadlines, pending bills, home repair etc etc? Isn’t that where we need to find little windows of respite, that are healing, productive, nourishing and calming at the same time? 

 

I have found that the simpler things are what help us assuage our otherwise over-populated existence. For me, sometimes its an hour alone with a pot of my favorite tea (rose melange and lavender),  and a good book. At others, its just the daily ritual of lighting a candle when I work. The dance of an open flame giving off a calming scent is sometimes all I need to take me to that little wonderland in my mind, where everything is at peace and manage-able. At other’s, its transmuting feelings through inexplicable shapes on a piece of canvas, in a dance of colors that attract my senses–amateur art but very healing. 

 

Rituals are delightful, and we already have so many centering around our daily lives. Our morning ritual of coffee and the news, our desk-cleaning or cluttering ritual, our nap ritual (if we can manage one), our once-a-day or once-a-week talking to mom ritual. Why not cultivate a quiet little space for oneself, a private ritual that helps one re-connect with that lose or displaced sense of wonder that gives us the fire to keep living and thriving in this beautiful life? 

 

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / this lyre lark

Laying the groundwork for meditation with your children

We all know how important it is to meditate and some of us struggle more than others for various reasons, including finding the time and feeling as thought we’re doing it well enough or successfully…

Much has also been written on the appropriate age to start your children meditating and if you’re a mom to busy kids you’ll know how hard this is! My children can barely focus on brushing their teeth and get distracted easily and often!

One tip I would like to share, and I am by no means the expert on this topic, is from my own experience with my oldest child, age 6.

I have been mentioning from the age of 4 that it is okay to be quiet sometimes, you don’t have to always find something to say. I chat with him about the need to fill every space with words and explain how the brain needs down time. From small I introduced classical music (for kids) at moments before nap time that I played in the background as we started the ritual of getting ready for sleep.

Once he got older I invited him to sit with me on the yoga mat and practise some of the poses, which he actually enjoyed! I also started asking him for some mommy time alone so that mommy could sit quietly and clear her mind. This did not work perfectly every time, I assure you! But the idea was to get him used to the concept and understand the need for it.

Now my son is 6 and he has progressed to sitting quietly in the car and listening to calming music such as Gregorian Masters of Chant, which he loves (couldn’t believe it). I am of course ecstatic that I have moved  past the Barney stage and onto more of what I used to enjoy! At home he can also sit quietly in his room for some down time and he is beginning to understand that this helps him and feels good. My son is quite active and energetic, easily excited and can get wild at night which doesn’t do his sleep any good. This down time encouraged rather than prescribed as I want it to come naturally to him, which it does.

My daughter is 3 and often tries to sabotage his efforts, especially in the car, but she will learn by our example. I have explained to them both that Mommy can’t have too much going on in her head all day from morning to night and it has to be cleared. My worst time is driving in the car with them screeching in the back so this "car meditation" is working like a charm for me!

I intend to introduce him slowly, age appropriately, to meditation and spirituality but with HIM leading the way, not me. What amazes me constantly is how perceptive he is about God and questions about life. My goodness, I wanted to wait until he was old enough to understand energy and the depths of the subject but he has a need to know! His questions are AMAZING and I am in awe. I hope to answer as best I can and I try not to impose my opinion on my answers – I am finding this the most difficult task as a mother. Breastfeeding was nothing by comparison!

I have learnt that you can keep nothing from your children, their minds are too inquisitive as well as insightful. Although I feel unqualified for the task I try to keep an open mind for the both of us despite him being "influenced" by the school and his friends (their religions, esp to do with SIN). I just have to learn more and read more so I can keep up with him!

Luckily we have a great open communicative style between us and we discuss God and life and everything else. He also observes my spiritual practises, asks many questions, and I am hoping that his awareness and openness are enough to open the door.

I think I succeeded

I have read often about the benefits of meditation and have wanted to try it, though have never truly gotten around to it, at least not to a degree where I actually achieved meditation.  It was recommended to me by another user after I posted an intent to clear my brain fog and help be rid of my depression, that meditation was great for brain fog.  I finally sat down today and got myself to commit to the meditation. 

Lately and probably all my life, I have felt that I do not really ever take time just for myself, just to, do something I really want to, just for me.  This has seemed more evident to me lately, and it has gotten to me a great deal.  So, today, amongst the other few things this morning, I went to the gym, for the first time in a few weeks (due to preparing for vacation, vacation itself, and then having a sinus infection-which I sadly still have), afterwards when I came home, I took a shower and whilst in there, I told myself, "ok…when I get out, I’m going to stretch from the gym and meditate, I’m taking this time for myself".  So I stretched a little and eventually found a comfortable corner in my bedroom to sit against the wall.  I actually had to use noise muffling earmuffs due to all the noise outside of my house that my walls are too thin to stop from coming within.  It took me a few minutes to find a word to repeat to myself, but when I did find it, and could hear my breathing, it was a bit intense.  My head felt very…"full" I suppose, not full like when your brain is cramped full, just…full.  At one point, I noticed that I could no longer feel the floor under me, and could barely feel the wall against my back.  I forced myself to merely take note of this and then let it go so it would not interupt the state I had reached.  After a few moments, I slowly pulled myself back, letting my mind wander a bit, moving my toe against the carpet to help ground me back to the world and just slowly started to move and feel things around me to "get back to earth" you could say, lol.  I must say it was rather nice, I’m not sure if I’m content from the meditation or content from the fact that I think that I actually succeeded in reaching a state of meditation.

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