With our recent global pandemic and one of the solutions being social distancing and stay-at-home quarantines, it is a perfect time to practice stillness. We are being given the opportunity to quiet the noise and turbulence of the world and retreat to our homes for some quiet time. That is if we allow it. There are plentiful references to stillness in the Bible. My favorite of them is “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalms 46:10. Another verse from Exodus 14:14 says, “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
In this time where most of us have little opportunity to be quiet and slow down, this is a gift. Our phones are on us almost 24 hours a day unless you’ve come up with good phone discipline practices, you’re probably like most people and on it a lot! Teens average 7 hours and 22 minutes per day of phone time apart from using their devices for school or homework. That’s almost a full workday for most of us! At our house, we regularly check in with our kids and look at the screen time together. We allow them to see for themselves and self-adjust with our guidance. After all, we want to teach our kids to be good decision-makers, right? We’ve also played for them Simon Sinek’s talk on technology (Insert here) use so that they know the effects of technology use and it’s addictive tendencies. We want our kids to be ahead of the noise and make wise decisions for themselves as they grow.
A little more than a year ago, I was given an additional opportunity to get quiet when I became ill. I had been diagnosed with hypothyroid, the doctor indicated that mine was “stress-induced”. I found myself barely able to get up off the couch to even use the restroom. I’ve always been very active and have pushed my way through most of life’s challenges by relying on my high level of determination. I practically idolized Helen Keller. My mom read me the book “Determination” about her when I was young. This apparently made a lasting impact.
When I was unable to do anything I used to do, an interesting thing happened. Instead of jumping right out of bed and sprinting through my days as my life depended on it (there were days where I wouldn’t even stop to eat), I had to get quiet and was humbled to the point of being on my knees (literally). I was ready to ask God for his plan for my life. I had no choice.
I’m hoping I can reach you while you still have a choice-that you may learn from my story. Every moment, we have a choice to either be willful or quietly ask for guidance from God and our internal voice, whatever your higher power is, it’s always there, waiting for you to take a pause and ask for its guidance.
You can be quiet before you are in a position to make a choice and co-create with it. We always know what we need to do. If there is not time to listen, however, it’s very difficult to hear this knowing voice inside. Let’s use this time right now as an opportunity to quiet down, slow down, and give just a few minutes a day to listening to this direction.
If you are not used to getting quiet and listening here are some suggestions to try.
Meditation: For beginners, I suggest using one of these apps…we can get more specific later!
Prayer: This can be a conversation, it doesn’t have to be anything formal or fancy. Just talk to God!
Morning Pages or Evening Pages: I put both morning and evening pages because sometimes for practical reasons we don’t get to it in the morning or we just aren’t morning people. I do suggest really trying the morning pages and writing a gratitude list in the morning but if you don’t get to it, write as you wind down your day in the evening.
Sitting with a cup of tea: Make yourself a cup of tea and just enjoy sitting in a quiet space in your house or outside
Taking a walk in nature: Fresh air and getting out of the noise and hustle and bustle are great ways to tune into yourself and God, I find some of my most creative thoughts come when I jog on our ranch.
I recently heard a talk by Eckhart Tolle where he referred to the pandemic as shutting down businesses. He then changed the word business ever so slightly to sound like busy-ness. This was such a lightbulb moment for me! Our society is becoming busier and busier every day. We have access to information 24 hours a day no matter where you are. Most of our moments are filled with information coming at us. We have become accustomed to it, used to the busy-ness, it has become comforting to have constant stimulation.
As I’ve been going inward to heal from my illness over the past couple years, I have received the benefit of awareness from my therapist, doctor, acupuncturist, and the studying I’ve been doing, that if we don’t quiet the outside world intentionally sometimes, we will have a really difficult time calming ourselves and hearing God’s voice and our inner voices. My hope for you is that you will turn off the news, shut down the phones, and ask for some quiet time each and every day to start tuning into you. I promise it will have amazing healing benefits for you and you will get to know yourself in a whole new way!