Returning to stillness

I’ve been slowly savoring Wayne Muller’s Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives over the last few weeks. I’m reading it in parallel with Richard J. Foster’s Freedom of Simplicity because the two ideas (Sabbath and simplicity) seem to be intertwined for me right now. Both desires stem (for me) from a longing for stillness and peace in a busy world.

As I’ve read through this book about Sabbath and am reminded of the gifts that it brings, I have found myself considering ways to create a real Sabbath as an intentional practice in my own life—not just an occasional break, but a committed practice to take a day off every week from my usual chores and busy work and to-do lists to settle into spacious time for rest and renewal.

In the section I was reading tonight, I realized that part of the reason I have been craving this so strongly has less to do with how outwardly busy my life is (or isn’t) than with the fact that I have lost my sense of inner stillness. As I read the chapter tonight, I was reminded of the way that I used to be able to be that place of stillness for others who needed a taste of it. That’s something that I have lost over the last few years.

A busy outer life can indeed contribute to this loss of inner stillness that I have experienced through the pressures of stress and lists of things to do and insufficient rest for my body and mind. But I’m realizing that my online life is a bigger contributor to this loss of inner stillness in that I am so seldom fully unplugged from the constant stream of emails, blog posts, status updates, and Tweets that flood my direction. There is so much good information out there to be read that I will never see all that might be interesting, but I keep catching myself trying out of fear that I might miss something good.

But I’ve discovered that the “something good” I am missing seems to be my own life!

So I’ve been paring back on the number of Facebook pages I follow. I’ve become a rather sporadic checker of Twitter. I’m skimming posts and emails more often and deleting them more quickly. I can already tell that it’s helping. I’m finding more time for things that better feed my soul than the drug of social media (like reading real books!), and that encourages me to continue to find ways to reduce the flood of input.

As I read tonight, though, I realized that while I am moving in the right direction, the real measure needs to be the degree to which I’m experiencing that inner stillness within. That’s what I’m really craving in all of this, so that needs to be my measure of success.

I will continue to try different changes and different approaches in coming weeks to find more ways to bring Sabbath into my life and into my soul. Some of those may work well and become new practices. Others might be tried and abandoned. But my true goal has finally come into clear focus for me tonight in a way that hadn’t quite resolved itself until now, giving me a deeper sense of commitment and longing for the kind of life I want to lead.

I’m firmly committed to regaining that inner stillness that I have lost and to whatever kinds of Sabbath practices that are needed to reach that.

A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a fragile and vulnerable place to be, so I am committed to keeping this a safe place for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight are not welcome here and will be deleted.

2 thoughts on “Returning to stillness

  1. KJ I have been feeling the need to “unplug” for a bit, more and more each week. With so much going on and as you aid much of my busyness online in various forms, I can feel the chaotic energy affecting my overall well-being. In fact I just upgraded to a smart phone and after having it only 2days I have had to change my email. Otifications because it was driving me nuts. I would love to hear how you are making this a part of your life as I am in need of a regular practice of this too. Thank you for sharing!

    • I’ll keep you posted as I discover what works for me. I increasingly leave my phone on silent (or “phone call only”) because the email notifications are just too distracting. It feels really good to step away from it all now and then too!

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