There have been many times that I have reflected on the calm and serene feeling that can come when we step outside of the constant activity in our lives and allow ourselves to find a few moments of peace and quiet! Some of my biggest heroes have stories of stepping away for a few moments and allowing themselves to be still and enjoy a little peace and quiet.
I remember, as a young mom, how valuable a few quiet moments were to me. I am probably not the only mom who has hidden out in the bathroom once or twice to finish a phone call or to simply get a small break from the noise and needs of little scampering feet and hungry bellies.
I can sit on a beach for hours and enjoy the peaceful sound of waves crashing along the shore,
I can relax and completely let my mind empty when I am in a yoga class,
and I can enjoy quiet reflection time in the early morning stillness-
But, I really struggle finding peace and quiet when my surroundings are crazy and chaotic. I am one who can HEAR and SEE everything that happens around me. Though I have never struggled with anxiety in the past, the goings on of this past year have brought on panic attacks and high anxiety that I am unfamiliar with (to put it lightly). Though the need to FIND quiet moments has increased for me this year, the OPPORTUNITY has drastically decreased. With family emergencies, health challenges, a move, a kitchen remodel, a career change, and blah, blah, blah… it has been a busy and eventful year- not a BAD year, a REALLY eventful year and somedays it is hard to find time to catch a long breath, let alone catch a 10 minute quiet break!
Which is why I have found myself thinking about how to find a little quiet in the commotion and the chaos of everyday life!
A few nights ago, I had the great privilege of teaching a yoga class outside for a beautiful evening flow. The day had been gorgeous and the night was mesmerizing; we had a view of the rolling hills of a nearby golf course, beautiful trees and a gentle breeze. AAAaaaaahhhhhh… even in reflection, I feel incredibly peaceful.
Throughout the hour long clas, dancers came in and out of the nearby dance studio, moms conversed on the sidewalks & in the parking lot, and employees of the local businesses left work for the day. We had to give a little more attention to focusing on our yoga mats than we might have done in a closed off yoga room, but the effort was well rewarded in the strength and perspective that we enjoyed.
The sun passing over the golf course and setting for the night was stunning. The breeze seemed to flow through my body and cleanse my thoughts, my stress, and my tension… but the biggest treat from our outside practice came during our final resting pose. The sound of cars driving by, parents chatting, and dancers laughing were all drowned subtly out by the most beautiful sounding bird as he sang us a gentle evening tune.
The busy-goers of the night missed this beautiful gift of that VERY moment!
It was such a tangible lesson to me in the value of stillness in the middle of chaos. This truly is one of the most difficult challenges of the technology age… distraction is in every room and every moment of our lives. Vibrations and cute sounding notifications are a constant reminder that life is moving and we need to pay attention and get on the conveyor belt that is swiftly moving forward, weaving in and out of text messages, email, and instant messaging.
It takes a conscious effort to quiet down and simply let ourselves be in the moment. We cannot, and probably should not, try to control all that surrounds us and every environment we might have need to be in. Though we cannot control all of our surroundings, we CAN control what we FOCUS on; what we see, hear, feel, and sense. Be still and know that peace does not mean being in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or pain. True peace is enjoyed in the calming of the heart, mind, and soul even in the midst of noise, trouble, and pain!