Hi everyone! Happy Friday 🙂
I’m ecstatic to announce this new chapter of my life is off to a great start…even though it’s only been a week, I feel like a new person. My mind is in a better place, I’m sleeping again, my stomach is treating me well, I’ve started spending more time with family and friends, and I’m attending adoration again. When I close my eyes and take a deep breath, a sense of peace drapes over me instead of worry and doubt. I guess you could say I’m starting to find happiness again 🙂
I think I’m unique in the fact that I love silence. I always have. As a kid, I remember finding time to let my mind wander. I never knew why, but something inside of me compelled me to retreat from all the chaos and close my eyes. Contrary to popular belief, I was no Aristotle or Plato. Quiet time usually consisted of me thinking about the burgers I was making dinner or the trashcans I needed to bring in before my parents came home.
Thankfully, I’ve matured a little since then. I still think about a nice juicy burger, but my thoughts have a little more depth now. Quiet time has become an essential part of my day and life. Even my friends and family know that I need it. They also know to steer clear of me if I don’t have it.
With my schedule a little freer this past week, I spent a lot of time in silence, and I concluded what some of us might already know…
There’s something fundamentally wrong with the way we approach life today.
Children are brought up valuing their gaming system more than the outdoors. Teenagers have to have the fast car or designer clothes. We tell students they must attain a certain GPA or their future is lost. As adults, we aren’t satisfied until our bank account is overflowing or our children are spoiled beyond justification. We give success numerical and physical values. But what happens when we hit that value? Even worse, what happens when we fall short of it?
It’s simple: we want more. We want more because we’re trying to satisfy a thirst that those items cannot quench. It’s like we spend our lives trying to smother a fire with gasoline. The more we pour, the brighter the fire burns.
I’m 100% guilty of this. I’ve always thought of success as grades, honor societies, GPA, and obligations. If I managed to do achieve all these things, I must have been doing something right. When I was 18, I had to have the nice car. I had to have the Mac instead of the PC. Off-brand shoes? Ha! I’ll take the Nike’s.
I’d like to think I’ve left a lot of those idealisms behind me, but the truth is that some of them are still there. I don’t think it’s a far reach to say that most of us are guilty of this in some way, too.
But as I’ve spent more time doing what matters this week, I reflected on all the sacrifices I made along the way to have those things…and they penetrate my core. I finally see the scars and holes that mark my journey.
Take college as an example. I’ve spent three years chasing honors and awards instead of figuring out who I am, what I love, and who I love because building my resume was all that mattered. Isn’t that sad?
Three years later and I still have no idea what I want to do. Yes, college has been a journey vocationally. I recognize that if I had never gone down that path I wouldn’t be at this point, but I wish I had spent more time focusing on myself in the process. I wish I had dedicated more time to do what I loved and not what was expected of me. Maybe I would have ascertained what the flame inside of me burns for instead of covering it up with more obligations.
Granted, there’s nothing wrong with achievements and setting goals. There’s nothing wrong with nice cars, a big house, or a 4.0 GPA. Personally, I want a high GPA because I think it’s something that shows my dedication. You bet I want to make a decent salary and not have to worry about money in the future.
But issues arise when these things become our priority and our focal point. I never should have missed my cousin’s high school graduation because I had finals the next week. I shouldn’t have missed my parent’s birthday because I couldn’t bear to lose 2 hours in the car that could have been spent studying. That’s an issue.
So my message this weekend is to take time for silence. Closing your eyes for 10-15 minutes a day can open your heart and mind to joys and passions you never knew existed. During this time, consider your priorities, choices, and values. Are they where they should be? What do you value? Do your decisions reflect that? Mine didn’t.
I’ve learned more about myself in the past week than I did all semester because I made time for silence. I let my mind explore. I started reading again. Most importantly, I started working on becoming a better version of myself.
The truth is, none of us are too busy to not take 10-15 minutes a day to read or mediate. We all have the time, but we choose to scroll through Facebook or lounge in front of the TV. Neither of these situations improves who we are. While it is important to unwind, imagine what could be if we all took 10 minutes a day for silence, reading, or mediating. Imagine if doing these things became how we unwound? I’d venture to say the world would be a different place.
I can promise you one thing: it won’t be easy. You will be scatterbrained. Forgotten tasks will flood your mind. You’ll start to get antsy and wonder why the heck you even thought silence was a good idea…but I promise you after a few times you’ll develop a personal awareness you never knew you had.
I hope you all enjoyed this post! As always, thank you for reading and don’t forget to like, share, and comment below! I’ll talk to you on Monday 🙂
“Silence is not the absence of something, but the presence of everything.” ~ Gordon Hampton