Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Stillness of the Quiet

"In the stillness of the quiet , if we listen, we can hear the whisper of the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, hope to despair." ~ Howard Thurman
Stillness can be disconcerting. We can be left to our own thoughts if we abandon civilization's constant din of activity.

The good news is our own thoughts are healthier, happier, more honest and true than before we set out upon our recovery journeys.

Still, the stillness, the quiet, the absence of the white noise of constant conversation and busy-ness can be a condition to be feared.

We've even been programmed for this through media - movies, television, radio ...
"Did you hear that?"
"Hear what? I didn't hear anything?"
"Exactly."
Even in our pursuit of our personal parental recovery as we strive to SEEK and SEE what the Universe has awaiting us, as we endeavor to move forward, we can be caught up in the joyous uproar of our own activity.

This is not a call to regroup or take Five, to postpone our journey to rejuvenate and recharge. This is an invitation to awareness.

During the course of navigating through the cloud forest of our early recovery or even in our triumphant first emergence from despair and darkness we were perhaps too focused on the escape to take note of the silences surrounding us. These quiets as we can call them were largely ignored as we persevered to accept the abundance of The Universe.

We had a purpose in those early stages to escape the vortex of our children's disease. What we did not realize at the time was those quiets, seemingly as dark as the mire from which we were endeavoring to escape could have served us well. We realize this now - or soon will -  yet embracing the quiets of our lives may take some getting used to. Allowing ourselves to accept the stillnesses, the breaks in the clamor of everyday life may either seem impossible or something to be avoided.

For years I would jog or take long walks through our Great Creator's abundance with my ear buds firmly in place. I listened to my playlists to take my mind to another plane of existence as if the park or nature preserve I had chosen didn't provide enough inspiration.

One day a friend (read angel) mentioned she never listens to anything, music or podcasts, when she takes walks.

"Why miss out on the sounds and beauty all around," she said.

Now when I take long walks or training runs through any of our area county parks or wildlife sanctuaries I treat myself to the stillnesses of each moment. The stillnesses, the quiets, are now only interrupted by the rustling sound of deer deep in the woods or the calls of orioles and meadowlarks previously hidden from view by the clatter of my meticulously chosen playlists.

I allow the stillnesses to surround me, to quiet my soul, to allow me to BREATHE.

I am even training myself to experience the stillnesses within conversations instead of formulating what I will say in response before the speaker has completed his or her thoughts. These stillnesses represent the whole of what is being said, the words, the inflections, the body language - the entire package. I no longer respond to a snippet of my choosing from the conversation.

My recovery is leaching ever so slowly into my life, not always successfully. I allow that recovery is a work in progress.

The quiets are our opportunity to experience the whole of what our Great Creator has made ready for us. Allowing ourselves the gift of complete encounters with our world as we continue along our recovery pathways is our next small step in becoming our true real selves.

Find a quiet place, yet experience the sounds all around. Take time to find the beauty in the smallest minutiae each moment offers. Focus on the quiet of the NOW without permitting the mind to race to the myriad of the NEXTS that may never materialize. Take that pause after a friend has spoken to take in what has been said and only then, decide if any response is warranted.

Discovering our quiets, our stillnesses amid the din of media, schedule, society, family and our substance-burdened children allows us to step back, move aside and focus on the important. We are able to reject the distractions, seeing them for what they are, dangerous diversions from our pathways. The quiets whisper to us to slow down even as we energetically travel ahead on our recovery journeys. The stillnesses remind us that while we remain clueless about so many things there is an entire Universe guiding us, cheering, encouraging us to be our best selves.

Did you hear that?

I hope so!

... keep coming back
"Happiness is a butterfly which when pursued is always beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you." ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne