silence keepers

silence keepers

Sitting here, on the couch, listening to the clock tick, makes me wonder if I am afraid of silence; of being idle; of stillness.  I always encourage others to cultivate that empty space – that quiet well – for themselves, but do I do it for myself? The pull to constantly be reading or figuring out a problem or checking for a message or writing a blog post (*ahem) or vacuuming or making something better, or cleaner, or more worthwhile…the pull to be productive in some form – to be doing something, always – is strong.  Sometimes almost always, it’s too strong, and I give in to the pull; the allure of constant engagement or stimulation or growth or value creation.  The desire to always have something to show for how I am spending my time.  Proof of worth.  Validation that I am thinking or doing important things that matter.  Ensuring I am making something of myself.   Being the one who always knows the answer or who can figure it out, or refer you to someone who can. Continue reading “silence keepers”

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To Be Thankful

To Be Thankful

I think it annoys God if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.

– Alice Walker, The Color Purple.

I have been keeping a gratitude journal since November 30, 2012. I don’t remember why I started doing it. Probably because I read about the idea in one of the countless books that I consumed that year, and it sounded like a good idea at the time. Fortunately, it was a good idea and has proved to be a worthy practice as I walk through the days and the weeks and the months.  I have missed one day so far – June 21, 2013. Perhaps the longest day of the year doesn’t need extra acknowldgement because it is already so saturated with light.

The intent to notice these little bits of happiness each day has created a sense of spaciousness that wasn’t there before. Or maybe it was there, but I didn’t take the time to invite it into daily life. To be thankful for something is to recognize how it has added a layer of beauty to an ordinary day.

Looking back, some days sound pretty routine.

November 30, 2012: Watching Eva notice the world around her.
February 24, 2013: Hearing Nick read books to Eva before she goes to bed.
March 5, 2013: Listening to Eva babble to herself as she wakes up in her crib.

Some days have events that are unlikely to ever be duplicated.
December 16, 2012: A bird, standing on ice that is barely covered with water. A Jesus bird.
August 23, 2013: The neighborhood black bear cub, strolling past my office sliding door in the morning sun.
April 11, 2014: Passing the neighbor kids walking their new goats on leashes before their parents could tell them to stay off the road.

Some days are more challenging.
December 5, 2012: Being able to offer comfort to Eva when she’s not content.
October 14, 2013: The contrast that is provided by people who don’t see what I see.
November 13, 2013: How the gift of soup from a neighbor can erase loneliness.

Most days celebrate the way a physical body can move.
September 16, 2013: Running around the lake and picking cherry tomatoes to start the day.
November 2, 2013: Yoga – the way movement and breath provide a way to re-center on the present.
January 13, 2014: Skiing across the frozen lake into the rising sun.

All days are punctuated by the presence of life and the vibrancy of the natural world.
December 26, 2012: The way a single snowflake can catch the light and sparkle like a diamond.
January 16, 2013: Pink clouds moving across a late afternoon sky, filling the horizon with warmth on a cold day.
April 3, 2013: New life emerging from the soil as the mid-west welcomes another spring.
August 20, 2013: Tangerine skies and evening shadows that hint at possibilities yet to come.
October 5, 2013: The way that orange maple leaves command attention.
January 14, 2014: The muted beauty in fresh snow falling off of pine trees in a gentle breeze.

 

To be thankful. I think the beauty in the world can only grow if we remember to notice it. Perhaps noticing it – and giving voice to the noticing – will allow it to seep into the spaciousness that exists in each of us as we walk through the days, and the weeks, and the months.

What gratitude practice will you use to invite beauty into your days and weeks and months?