Sunday, September 5, 2010

a little alone time …

052310 scenic view fog

Settle yourself in solitude, and you will come upon God in yourself. ~ St. Teresa of Avila

Solitude – we live in such a hustle-bustle world that solitude and quiet can seem hard to come by. It can be challenging to find true silence.  Everywhere there is noise assailing us: on video screens in the grocery store’s check-out line; from people’s cellphone conversations; traffic noise; children playing; radios and TV blaring. Many of us have difficulty finding a place of solitude when there are children to care for, jobs to do, errands to run. I know of folks who always have the TV or radio on to have “background noise.” Many people feel uncomfortable and squirmy in silence.

Silence provides peace and calm to the spirit. It can have a physical effect, lowering blood pressure, tension and anxiety. (Listen to loud, raucous music for a few minutes, then turn it off. You can almost feel your body say “aaaaahhh …”) Silence allows us to go within to hear the voice of the Divine. The voice of the Divine doesn’t yell and jump up and down to get our attention. It doesn’t shout; it whispers … gently, in our hearts. Yes, it’s also present in each moment of our day-to-day lives, but when we want to really touch and engage with our Divine consciousness, it can be best to find a quiet place of solitude, free from any distractions.

To find her quiet place, a friend spent time sitting under a Banyan tree each day to reflect and to write. A friend in Hawaii swam with the turtles. My mother used to sit in her big upholstered rocking chair, rosary beads in her hands, her children playing around her, eyes closed, lost in the ecstasy of prayer. Jesus often went off by himself to pray, out in the wilderness, up on a mountain, to a “lonely place.” When my ex-husband left us, I went to the beach nearly every day, just sitting and watching the waves come in and go out, gaining peace from just being in a quiet place and feeling the presence of the Divine with me, making me feel safe and Loved.

091109 waves II

The act of solitude—of removing oneself from the distractions and chaos—gives us a quiet place to Be, to listen, to hear the voice of the Divine whispering in our hearts. It might be out on a hike, pausing to quietly gaze at the natural creation around us. Or on the ocean on a surfboard, bobbing up and down in rhythm with the waves. On a beach, in a garden, in a park, in a quiet place at home.

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.
God is the friend of silence. ~ Mother Teresa

052310 pink gauraEach morning, I spend those first quiet minutes in bed feeling the energy of Love in my life. I awaken happy and joy-filled, connecting with the Divine consciousness present in all of life—in the trees outside my window, in the chattering of the squirrels, in the light of the day. Afterward, I sit quietly on the floor, breathing full, deep, lung-filled breaths at first, then just sitting. Nothing to do, nothing to undo. Just sit and Be. In those quiet moments I can best hear the Divine whispering in my heart, starting my day.

How do you find peace and solitude in your life?


Debra She Who Seeks said...

You're right, solitude is so hard to come by. Silence is even harder. Every once in a while, I will go on a silent retreat for a few days at a retreat centre to get a big dose of both! But you know, not even silence is absolute silence. There's always the wind, birds, small sounds of nature, even the sound of our own breath. But the quieter it is, the more we can turn inward and listen to the still, small voice (as they say).

rebecca said...

My daughter moved out 8 years ago. When she did she took the "bulla" with her! LOL! Yes, its been blissfully quiet in my house since. The Beloved is a quiet dude, I am a quiet dudette, how we ever got a child that just loves, loves, loves and is all noise I'll never know. But I think I got my sanity when back when she moved out. =)

But then I go to work and the constant chattering is non-stop. Sometimes it makes me so nutty that it just short-circuits me and I lose my emotional balance. I need quiet; I cannot be without silence. In this hustle-bustle world, it is something so hard to find, but find I do. I drive home many times in silence. I come home and do my chores in silence. This is how I balance my life and my self and stay sane.

So, I definitely hear you though I have to say I like your wake-up ritual and will have to try it myself. It might just make a difference.

Stacy Wills said...

i find your blog to be a peaceful place. many times i have visited just to read your thoughtful words and listen to the soothing music. thank you for creating such a tranquil oasis.

Laura said...

Rose this is so beautifully written...I too long to sit with the Divine (and do) each and every day in silence. First in the early hours before dawn, before the rest of the family arises and then though out the day when the girls are at school or doing there own thing some place else. My favorite silent places are walking on the beach in the summer around sunrise or on top of a mountain with the wind, clouds and stunted trees and my husband sitting silently near by. I have not been able to do these last two things this year...and this feels a bit of a loss...but I manage to find pockets of quiet outdoors near our house or on our screened porch. It is an essential practice for me.

sheri said...

Oh Rose. As you know, I'm so needing this right now. I love those quotes. At this stage in my life, i voluntarily run errands just to get 5 minutes alone in the car to find the quiet.

The sea. There is nothing as peaceful to me as sitting at dawn listening to the waves break and the sun come up and it's where I, too, go to both celebrate and to mourn.

Love that visit me still - it's like having a cup of coffee with a good friend. xoxo.

sheri said...

what i meant to say at the end was that i love that you still visit with me, and thank you for that.

Mike said...

Lovely to hear from you again! Such a good post... it takes courage and discipline to carve out these silent times. For me it is sometimes stilling of the 'noise' of things, or people, or anything that stops me hearing Him. Thank you.

Connie said...

Rose, you bring me peace and solitude whenever I think of you. Whenever I think of you, you bring me such joy, peace and love. Even though we have not been able to me, I know God brought you into my life for a reason. I am so Blessed to know you.

Lori Webster said...

Love this post, Rose. Such a great reminder that quiet times have a place and a purpose in our lives. How can one plan, pray or ponder when there is too much distraction? I'm still trying to work that out.

Rose - The Center of My Self said...

Debra - How nice that you go on silent retreats! I'd love to try that sometime to listen to that still, small voice ...

Rebecca - Chuckling about your daughter. :-) I'm a quiet dudette, doing many of the things you mentioned in silence, too. At work, I often put in my earbuds, not listening to music, just tuning out the chatter. I hope you try that morning practice. A happy way to start the day.

Stacy - Thank you. And your blog brings such beauty to my day.

Laura - I imagine you are a beautiful beach and a peaceful mountaintop within your core. I sense that peace and stillness is part of your nature.

Rose - The Center of My Self said...

Sheri - I love to visit with you! I perk up when I see you have a new post. May you find pockets of peace throughout your day.

Hi, Mike! - I believe you're right: it takes a conscious effort to find those places of stillness.

Dearest Connie - When you mentioned that bench on your trip, I thought how lovely it would be sit there with you. I value our friendship.

Lori - We live in a world filled with distractions, don't we? It can be challenging to make time to find a pocket of peace and solitude. I imagine sitting in your yard, watching the sun set would be a gorgeous way to do that.

Jan said...

Rose, beautiful post. Solitude is my mainstay, I would say. It is not just what I do, but who I am. (Just posted on FB on this today - "being the practice." I am glad that solitude nourishes you too.

Now that my new online course is launched, I hope to be more regular with my blogging. xo

(Alias Buddha Chick)

Lance said...

So good to be here and read these words. I too find much solitude and peace in the quiet of the early morning hours...before the rest of the house has stirred.

And when I make the time to be fully present in this, my day begins in such a beautiful way...