Today’s post if from one of my favorite bloggers. I have read him since he started and his life because of his blogging has changed dramatically. He and his wife have 6 children and have created a new life of peace and commitment. Hope you enjoy him also.
From Leo Babauta’s zenhabits: “Living the Quiet Life”:
When I first started simplifying my life, about 8 years ago, I remember my life being much busier.
I would say yes to everything, and go to lots of social stuff, and drive everywhere doing a crazy amount of things, rushing wherever I went. By crazy I mean it can drive you a bit insane.
These days I know a lot of people who do an amazing amount of socializing online instead of in person — chatting and sending messages and tumbling and posting pictures and status updates. While I understand the need for social connection, I also recognize the addictiveness of it all, to the point where we have no quiet.
Quiet space is incredibly important to me these days. I like my quiet mornings where I can drink a nice tea, meditate, write, as the day grows light and the kids are sleeping. I like quiet on my runs and long walks, so that I can process my ideas, give my thoughts some space, reflect on my life.
The quiet space I allow myself has made possible my writing, but also all the improvements I’ve made to my life: healthier eating, the exercise habit, meditation, decluttering, procrastinating less, etc. Because the quiet space allows me to be more conscious about my actions, and gives me the time to consider whether what I’m doing is how I want to live my life.
And so, while I still socialize, I live a quieter life now. I have my quiet mornings of meditation, tea and writing, but also my nice runs, some time drinking tea or working out with a friend, alone time with my wife, reading with my kids, and some time alone with a good novel.
Is every minute one of quiet? No, the kids make sure I have some noise in my life, and I’m grateful for that, but the quiet is also in how I respond to the noise. A quiet response is one that absorbs the force of noise, with compassion, and doesn’t throw it back with equal force.
Today I wish the quiet life upon you.
Create a little quiet space in the morning.
Meditate for 2 minutes a day (to start with). Just sit and put your attention on your breath, returning when your thoughts distract you.
When you feel the urge to socialize online, pause. Give yourself a little quiet instead.
When you feel the automatic urge to say Yes to an invitation, consider saying No instead, unless it’s something that will truly enrich your life.
Don’t take music on a run or walk. Instead, give yourself space with your thoughts.
When someone talks to you, instead of jumping in with something about yourself, just listen. Absorb. Reflect their thoughts back to them. Appreciate their beauty.
Make time for the people closest to you. One-on-one time is best. Really pay attention to them.
Make time for creating, with no distractions.
Spend some time decluttering, and creating peaceful space.
Create space between your automatic reaction, and your actions (or words). Even one second is enough. In that space, consider whether your reaction is appropriate.
Instead of rushing, take a breath, and slow down.
Pay attention to sensations of whatever you’re eating, drinking, doing.
Have a daily time for reflection.
You don’t have to do all of these, and certainly not all at once. A slow, happy progression is best.
In the quiet space that you create, in this world of noise and rushing and distraction, is a new world of reflection, peacefulness, and beauty. It’s a world of your own, and it’s worth living in.
“In the adult there lurks a child—an eternal child, something that is always becoming, is never completed, and that calls for increasing care, attention, and education. This is the part of the human personality that wishes to develop and become whole.”
1. Guess what normal is: “Own Your Crap: Trade Blame for Honesty about What You’re Feeling”
“You ever notice how when you go at your partner with strong emotions, it pushes him or her away? Isn’t that weird? Ever wonder how that works, exactly? How could your important, strong, emotions become a big cow plow, ramming the person you care about most out of your path? I mean, you just want them close, right? Your only (secret, inner) wish is that they would perceive your misery behind the emotional storm and thunderbolts you’re throwing–hug you, hold you, save you from yourself. “
“But they just see the storm. And who wouldn’t?”
“When I’m in the heat of an emotional snafu, I don’t get what’s obvious. Not at all. Later, when I’ve cooled to a normal, human temperature, it’s all too obvious: Duh, my partner can’t “hear” me (well, he can sure hear me, but not hear the issue), not when I’m in a flurry and talking (in circles, scratching an emotional itch) about what sounds a lot like…blame.”
2. Just be Real: “Survival Mode–Pretending”:
“My teenage years were the darkest for me. I shiver just thinking about how awful they were. I grew deeper and deeper into depression and isolation. Had no one to talk to. Sometimes I felt I lost touch with reality. Creating my own fantasy world with my own dialog and cast of characters in my head to ease my pain and to have some kind of life. As sick as it was. That was my survival mode. La La Land.”
“This late in my journey, some 40 years later, I am just now feeling some compassion for my mother. The Lord is showing me that she too was in her own pain. She did not know how to comfort me. She was in her own misery of guilt. She was hurting and she went into her own survival mode.”
“How have you survived?”
“Some of us become perfectionists to cover up our pain that we can even drive ourselves crazy with our rituals. Pretending all the way nothing is wrong. Which can drive us harder to perform perfectly for people. To please others. To somehow think our pain will ease if people will accept us.”
“But God does NOT ask for such sacrifices from us. It is NOT our job. God is aware of our brokenness. Our pain. He does not come to shame or condemn us.”
“So very easy to put on paper. Still it is a big pill to swallow. Sure my walls have thinned considerably around my heart, but some still remain. All in time. All in God’s time. The more I am willing to let Him continue do His surgery, the sooner I will be able to heal into the person I was intended to be! That surely will be freedom then!”
3. Understanding My Son: “The Letter”
“We updated our letter from last year to make it current and it went out to the classroom parents this week. G’s teacher was very enthusiastic about the idea and specifically told us we were doing a good job advocating for G. I feel like it was our choice this year, vs last year when we were trying to head off problems with parents. DH already got some positive feedback from another dad.”
‘Yet I still feel conflicted. I know this is a proactive and positive step but I can’t help but feel that we’re betraying G’s privacy. It’s a bit hypocritical of me, I talk about his autism with other parents often. The difference is that is one-on-one where I can get a feel for the individual person before I say anything. This feels more like taking out an ad in the paper.”
“However, I know this is necessary. The first few days have gone smoothly, as is typical. We generally start seeing problems during week two that stretch into the remainder of the first month. By giving parents a head’s-up, we’re garnering a little leeway while we work through the issues.’
“I know not everything relates to alcoholism, but I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t the true root of my discomfort. When you live in an alcoholic home, you spend an extraordinary amount of time and effort covering up your family problems. You create a facade of perfection so that nobody will suspect anything dysfunctional is happening behind closed doors. Sending out this letter feels like I’m exposing our family secrets. There is nothing shameful about autism, it’s just a fact of life, but taking this action goes against everything I’ve ever done from the time I first realized my dad wasn’t like other dads.”
“Maybe the issue isn’t really one of betraying G’s privacy. Maybe the issue is really with me and my fear-based need to be seen as perfect.”