too much distraction

The artist knows he must be alone to create; the writer, to work out his thoughts;the musician, to compose; the saint, to pray. But women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves.   Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I don’t think it is just women who need some solitude; men could do with it as well. Unfortunately in today’s culture we are surrounded by sound, visual distractions and even odor overload.

I find it difficult to walk down the laundry aisle of the grocery store – there are so many scents in that area it gives me a headache – or at the very least, a burning nose. Sitting in traffic  – not only are you treated to everyone else’s music playing full blast but the awful odors of diesel exhaust but garbage trucks and regular car exhaust and sundry odors floating up from any nearby restaurants. Oh, for the simple pleasure of light floral scents wafting on the breeze… .

The city in which I live prefers to have all signs at a low profile. Any new sign going up for a business – or even billboards must be kept below a certain height, which is nice so that the sky above is not blocked out by all sorts of stuff. Other nearby cities are not so careful and sometimes you can’t see the sky for the signs. And, what about all the phones, laptops and tablets so many people walk around with? Not content to have their vision disturbed by visual pollution, they seek safety in their visual devices. Oh, for a view of nature without the disturbance of mankind.

And let me not forget the sound of leaf blowers and lawn mowers on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Nothing like intrusive high decibel noise to ruin a quiet weekend morning of sleeping in. Or the vehicles with no mufflers and a whole lot of bone-shaking booms and roars.  Or the neighbor who won’t turn their music down whether inside or out. Oh, for the peace of silence.

Too much distraction can drive me away from my Center and ultimately my Peace. Too much distraction makes it hard to Listen and hard to pray. Too much distraction must be guarded against. I have to find time and space where olfactory, visual and audio distractions are at a minimum if I am to find peace in this world. They can be found, if I choose to seek them out.

jelly

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clay feet

Postures of the body often give courage to the soul. Smiling dissipates fear, raising the chin diminishes inferiority and a positive answer emboldens the heart. The words we say (“I know I can if I try.”), the attitude we embrace (“It may be difficult, but it’s possible.”), and the action we take (“Let’s give it all we’ve got.”) are postures of confidence that give God a chance to show what He can do.

Niki Anderson, What my Cat has Taught me about Life 

My grandmother used to remind me as a child to sit up straight and walk with my head up, not bent, looking toward the ground as I normally do. Even today I constantly remind myself to sit up when I find myself slouched over or to look up at the world around me when walking when I realize I’m looking at the ground. When I do those simple things, my attitude changes.

When I slouch or look down, my body is telling my soul and spirit and mind that life is bad and I am defeated by it. But when I tell myself to stand tall and sit tall, I am physically saying my life isn’t as bad as all that and I refuse to be defeated by it.

LadyBird, my Chihuahua, came to live with me in fall. When I would take her out in the morning (3.15 am) I would find myself trying to stay warm and trying to hurry her up. By the time winter had arrived I really hated taking her outside because it was so cold. I would huddle up in my coat, look to the ground and say things like, “hurry up!”  But if you have a dog then you know they really don’t pay attention to their humans during their ‘toilet’.

Then one morning I looked up – not just straight ahead – but straight up – at the sky.  I saw how beautiful the sky was on a clear, cold morning and most importantly – how quiet it was, how still the neighborhood was and even the interstate (which is just down the street and provides a constant white noise background virtually 24 hours a day) was silent.

At that moment I realized how I was wasting not only those precious silent minutes but also how much I still look down at my clay feet and how little I look up to God. When I look at my feet I am reminding myself I am a human with no help to move through this world. But when I look up to God, I am telling myself I may be human, but with God’s Love and Help I am able to move through my life and not be defeated or downtrodden by it.

If you find yourself with a bad attitude or in a bad mood then ask yourself – where am I looking? Down at my feet or up toward God? It may make all the difference in your day and maybe your life.

outside-c

we have to talk…

We have to face the fact that either all of us are going to die together
or we are going to learn to live together and if we are to live together we have to talk.
– Eleanor Roosevelt, The New York Times, October 15, 1960.
William O. Foss, First Ladies Quotations Book

It seems to me that one of the first things I lose in a relationship is talking to the other person. It doesn’t matter whether that person is family or a friend or significant other – the talking goes first.

Case in point, virtually every friendship I have ever had (and destroyed) has gone down the same path – we are the best of friends, do stuff together, talk on the phone often, sit around and talk, go to dinner and talk, talk, talk, talk. Then one day the other person does something or says something that hurts my feelings. Or, I say or do something that hurts the other person’s feelings. And instead of coming forward with the truth and tell the friend that I was hurt by what he or she said or to ask why that person is no longer talking to me, I, at first, ignore it – maybe it will go away. Sometimes the silence does and we go back to being besties.

But the silence between us that wasn’t explained never really goes away. It just gets buried under the desperate need to be loved regardless of the cost. And then one day, it happens all over again. Only this time the bitterness from the previous silence surfaces and we don’t come back together as friends so easily, if at all. Another relationship is thrown on the pyre and is sacrificed to self-preservation and silence.

But what would have happened if I had broken the silence with a question, “why are we not speaking?” What would have happened if I had been brave enough to confront my fear of rejection and ask my loved one what was the reason for the silence between us?

I can only ask the question for I have no answers. I can’t go back and fix what has been broken. I can make attempts to repair but do I want to? I was a different person then, so was my friend. Perhaps it was the cycle of our relationship and we simply grew apart. Perhaps it was the silence.

All I can do is take care with the relationships I have today – to not let silence intrude; to make sure the talking continues, no matter what. Have I grown enough, healed enough to risk being rejected? I hope so, but only time will tell.

 

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