Lessons in Stillness

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I received an unexpected gift from The Hubs this morning.

Since he was working close to home, he offered to take the kids to school - sparing me my typical morning of routine of screaming at the boys to hurry-up-we're-already-late, followed by an 11 mile drive to school, dash to the train station and 1/4 mile sprint from the parking lot to catch the 8:56 into the city.

I think the boys felt relieved as well, because the morning routine went along swimmingly, with nary a tantrum in sight and a pleasant round of hugs and kisses before Daddy swept them out the door at precisely 7:45am. After a final wave good-bye from the window, I sat down at the computer to order The Hubs a new pair of work boots, cleared the breakfast dishes and swept the crumbs from the table. I poured a cup of tea and sat down at the kitchen counter. The refrigerator gently hummed in the background, accompanied by a steady blurp-blurping from the monster goldfish tank (my goldfish is a monster, not the tank....but I digress).

Without warning, a sense of dread rose from my belly.

I was alone, in my own home, with nothing to accomplish. Rather than reveling in the moment, I found myself struggling to remain calm and just sit still. How crazy is that? For years I've complained about the perpetual motion that is my life and the first chance I get to simply sit still, it freaks me out!

I've been reading so much lately about the power of stillness, quiet. How important rest is for the mind, soul and body. As busy mothers, we know that these moments are hard-earned but sorely needed. If you're anything like me, when you find yourself with the gift of time and solitude, you may be uncomfortable as well because it is just so damned foreign to us. Perpetual motion has become our comfort zone - not because it is comfortable, per se, but because it is familiar.

As we enter the season of universal perpetual motion known as the holidays, I am making a vow to become re-acquiatined with my old friends stillness, solitude and quiet. This morning, I managed to sit still and enjoy the warmth of my tea for 8 whole minutes. I know it doesn't seem like much, but those were 8 of the most delicious, refreshing moments my soul has experienced in years.

Maybe tomorrow I'll shoot for 10...


Bet Rank said...

With grown children I initially had to learn to accept the quietness. It was as if someone had slammed the brakes on my life when they became self-sufficient and chaos moved out of the home. Now, I've grown so accustomed to the quiet that I am at a loss without it. This week my nephew needed me to watch their youngest children. Each evening after they leave I go into "go away, leave me a lone, I need my quiet time" mode.

I hope you make it to 10 minutes tomorrow! And now I'm off to separate the 3 and 4 year old sisters who have started a war over the blocks. Auntie UN to the rescue.

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