A few weeks ago I was listening to a man speak about finding stillness. It was one of those moments where I felt like the heavens parted and a beacon of light rested over me. I needed to hear whatever this man had to say. We had been moving for what felt like a month from one end of town to the other. Work was crazy and any free moment that I had was spent packing, hauling or calling up daycare centers to schedule a tour. So here I was, in the midst of what felt like a hurricane, and the theme was stillness. Very fitting.
For a brief moment, I paused and I listened intently to this man share his story. He went on to talk about how he had just returned from a sabbatical in a cabin in the middle of no-where. He left his phone and his computer at home and hunkered down for two weeks. He sat in silence and reflected on his life without distraction and went on to say that when he emerged from being un-plugged, something extraordinary had happened inside of him. For the first time, he said he actually began to look at the people in his life. Not to just regard that they were there, but he began to really take them in. This was especially true of the ones that he had overlooked on a daily basis, like his wife, his four small children and the man who served him coffee everyday.
I sat there and could not remember the last time that I had actually looked at my four-year old son and asked him how he was doing. I couldn’t remember the last time that I had sat down to eat a nice meal that I had made. I couldn’t remember the last time that I had really checked in with myself to see how I was doing and what my needs were. I needed to hit the PAUSE button.
Do you ever feel like you’re on a tilt-a-whirl in life and you need to hit the pause button?
If you’re a parent, I know the answer is yes. And that’s normal. Life can get crazy sometimes and transitions are just plain hard. As much as I love the long, breezy summer nights, wearing sundresses and movies outside, summer can sometimes be a difficult season to find time and space to get still. So as we merge into Autumn and send our kids off to school, I want to challenge us this month to take a September Sabbatical.
As moms, we can’t necessarily leave our babies for two weeks to go to a cabin in the middle of no-where (wouldn’t that be nice?), but we can take ten to twenty minutes a day to get still and center ourselves. So, as part of the challenge, try and make it a priority to carve out time each day (even if it’s only five minutes at first) to get calm and quiet during your child’s nap time or while they are away at school. If you’re a working Mom, like me, I’ve found that going for a twenty minute walk on my lunch break instead of getting on my phone does wonders.
As I walked away from listening to that man talk about stillness, I decided to start making some changes in my life. After just one week of taking twenty minutes everyday to get quiet, I found that I have been more present when my son is talking to me. I started cooking again and eating at the table with my son (instead of over the kitchen sink by myself) and I’ve been calling friends and family and checking up on them. It sounds simple, but it really has made such a difference. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the intensity that summer left behind, then join me in the transition into September with a daily stillness.
How do you find your stillness?
Image via Milena Mallory