“The quieter you become the more you can hear.” – unknown
As a child I hated quiet time, the quiet game or anything that symbolized being still. Since becoming a parent, I have also attempted to play the quiet game with my own children while in the car when they were younger, typically to no avail. As a busy adult I long for moments when I can sit still, reflect, meditate or do nothing at all. Like those times when I have the house to myself for a few hours, make time for a walk or maybe even take a scenic drive. Perhaps it is because I grew up with three siblings and there was no such thing as quiet time. It was always full-time play until you crashed, got up and repeated the steps.
For me, there is nothing like sitting on my couch or bed reading a book, lying near the fireplace on a pillow enjoying the fire or maybe taking an impromptu nap. I often feel refreshed, rested and a bit calmer afterwards. Although these types of days seem to be more infrequent due to the demands on my life, I have learned a few ways to keep my quiet time as a part of my regular life style no matter what the schedule entails, and more importantly I have discovered the biggest opponents of me consistently living a peaceful lifestyle.
Busyness manifest itself in many forms and will always have a tendency to invade the precious spaces that we call our own, if we allow it.
So is this just a matter of improving in the area of time management? Perhaps for some it is, but as for me it was something more that I had to get a grasp of before I became a slave to every whim that came my way. Whims that were either self-induced, or from those around me, which applied to both my professional and personal life. Who and what was dictating my time and why was I allowing it/them to get the best of my days and nights? Essentially stealing from me, but the only problem is I was giving the thief the keys to come as he chose. What were those key items and how did they impact my life?
In my case the main keys were:
My desire to please others – Now there is nothing inherently wrong with pleasing others. My issue was it usually occurred at my own expense. I typically did not confer with my own schedule or anyone else close to me. I simply said, “yes” and off to the races I went, fixing some problem for someone else, while simultaneously creating a new one for myself.
Fear of letting people down – This attribute most certainly stems from my childhood. I had a habit of becoming that “go to guy”, just so others could be happy and indirectly affirm me.
A need to be needed – I once told my counselor several years ago that I was frustrated with dating someone who I termed as “needy”. He simply laughed and told me it was not her that was needy, it was me. It took me a minute to grasp the concept, but once I did I had to agree that he was correct. As much as I was frustrated with her seemingly dependent on me for certain things, I chose her to fulfill a deeper need within myself. A need to be there for her, which became a pattern for me until I recognized the potential detriment of it.
A failure to prioritize my own life – When we fail to manage our own time and schedules, everything else appears to be more important.
A level of comfort with being second to everyone, which ultimately caused me to become tenth, fifteenth or worse – I often found myself comfortably forsaking my previously committed plans to help someone else. There is no problem with this until is becomes the norm, and everything I planned took a back seat to what I felt was a greater good, but in actuality it was not. It was someone else’s greater good.
These attributes became the key components to me chasing my tail and effectively perpetuating my ineffectiveness. My life was always busy, always cluttered with something to do next, and for years I thought this was okay. Thankfully I discovered the core issue, but unfortunately it did not come because I suddenly had this revelation, it came because I crashed and was at my wit’s end one day. I believe overwhelmed is the word here.
Hopefully you do not have to crash to recognize how your time is being robbed with nonessentials. Many times we want to blame others for placing extra pressure on us, but ultimately we have the power. It’s just we often fail to recognize this truth, so we become subject to our own set of weaknesses. Bottom line is we do not exercise the power we do have, therefore we remain victims to the circumstances that we could change. We become bitter, perpetually fatigued and certainly not good company.
Quiet time is one of the most important and essential things that we can do for ourselves. With all that is going on in the world, the moments that you choose to tune out will prove to be critical for your well-being, and once you begin, you will find that while you were away, life was okay. The world actually did not stop spinning, so fight those tendencies of your inner child that never wants to rest. Go to your proverbial closet, or your favorite recliner and recapture the essence of you, in a quiet space.