making room for quiet

I stood in my kitchen crying and losing perspective. I was tired after a week of attempting to do everything all at once so I could have the satisfaction of shouting “All done!” I cried because I am terrible at time management.

Scott often says, “Rest is a discipline, too.” He offers up this advice stretched out on the couch while casting a meaningful look.

As I dissolved in his arms blubbering about school forms (what is with the sheer volume of paper that comes home from school??), a doctor’s appointment and the list that looms on my dining room table which also serves as my desk, I can feel the I-told-you-so as he rubs my back.

Scott shooed me away. “Go upstairs for a while. Close the door. I’ll look after the kids.” Romance is not dead in our house.

I turned to go up the stairs. He called after me, “You’re leaving your phone here.”

I clutched my phone to my chest. “I have stuff to do, people to get back to. A whole bunch of emails…” I loosened my talons and plunked it down on the counter.

Phone-free, I realized how noisy my life has become. If we’re not chauffeuring, emailing or working, we are liking, favoriting and commenting. We are awash in a steady flow of Facebook notifications, tweets, emoticons and texts. Being thick-skinned is a requirement now when I turn on the computer. Not just to handle a snarky comment but to sift through the barrage of information. I’m not lamenting the information age (are we still calling it that?) and hearkening the good ol’ days because, c’mon, sending a quick text is far superior to the telegram or the postal service or even voice mail. I have to press 1 and # again? I love cute photos of kids, funny stories and a good, soulful blog post. But I am recognizing a gnawing in the pit of my stomach, a craving. For quiet.

Quiet makes room. For rest. For perspective. For the unimagined and unexplored. Feelings get lost, buried in noise and I don’t want to miss sadness or joy. I can’t stop everything right now. I don’t want to escape, although I wouldn’t mind moving to Paris. I’ll live vicariously through the people with wealthy employers on House Hunters International. I accept that life is busy and in the middle of overwhelmed I need to make room for quiet.

Swept up
in Dreamcatcher

dreamcatcher bookcoverTara Pohlkotte is a gifted writer (one of my favorites!) who has a collection of poems and essays all tied up beautifully in Dreamcatcher. Her writing both stills and feeds my soul. You can get your copy here.

11 thoughts on “making room for quiet

  1. Tara Pohlkotte

    I did this exercise when I went for a walk yesterday… alone, for an hour I could not do my standby of checking anything…email, instagram, Facebook… nothing. and every time I had the senseless urge {it was many. I’m kinda shocked how many times my fingers itched.} I made myself NOTICE 5 things around me. The color of the house I was passing, the shadows dancing in front of me. I made an October commitment to go longer stretches with that thing out of my hands. To enjoy a walk not looking for an angle to Instagram, or to write a blog post about… just to live in that second. I feel you, seriously I do. I’m committed to creating more of this beautiful and sometimes terrifying space around me. Love you. {and goodness, to have me listed here?? such a gift. *THANK YOU!*

    1. heidi

      Tara! Yes. To noticing the shadows and colors and not announcing, photographing or tweeting it. It’s hard, isn’t it? To just back off for a while and leave the phone alone. Being present. I love this commitment you’re making and what a perfect month to do it too with all the gorgeous fall colors!
      I am in love with your words and the eloquent way you string them together. You’ve created a haven in Dreamcatcher.

  2. Kerstin

    I hear you! Loud and clear in my (now) quiet house… It’s so easy to get overwhelmed and want to to allthethings and be everything for everyone. We wouldn’t let anyone down now, would we? Sigh.
    I find that even a little bit of alone and quiet time already goes a long way. It doesn’t have to be a drastic change all the time!
    Also: you do not want to move to Paris, believe me. That is the smelliest city I have ever been to. It stinks 🙂

    1. heidi

      Oh my gosh – I am laughing!! Is Paris the smelliest? Alright then, Italy! I really want to hang out in Italy for a while, a long while.
      You are so right – it can’t always be a drastic change. That isn’t even an option for me right now. There is far too much going on here. I’m learning it is all about acceptance and carving out that space.

  3. julie gardner

    Yes. Rest is a discipline, too.

    I’ve been struggling with the noise of the world for most of this year, wishing for more quiet and less…everything else.

    But it is hard to find the right balance, isn’t it? To listen when we need to hear while filtering out what is simply chatter; to read the words that move us but not those that will disturb. Rile. Hurt.

    For me, the time I’ve spent away from the blog and Facebook and Twitter in recent months has been a blessing. But it’s also a little like the old cliche about “throwing the baby out with the bath water.”

    When I’m “gone”, I miss my blog baby, my friends, the connections. I just have to be better about letting the good parts in and the bad parts wash away.

    Here’s hoping you get some peace and quiet.
    And cheers to more House Hunters International and fewer forms to fill out from school…ugh.

    1. heidi

      Julie, yes, yes and yes to all of this. It is about balance.
      I can’t walk away from anything, especially right now. It’s impossible. I made some of these choices to be this busy and that’s okay – I just need to find that time to be quiet and find rest. Otherwise my body protests. On that particular day I got a whopping migraine. My skin, my head, some part of my body always lets me know when I’m doing too much. I have to learn how to prevent the breakdown and I know it’s about being still for a while.
      I blame the long line of Mennonite women before me who never stop. 😉
      Oh yes! The forms. You should see this document I have to fill out and get my doctor to sign for my son with a nut allergy! Out of control.

  4. OpinionsToGo

    A very timely and important post. A post that a whole lot of people can learn from. What we call busy and hectic is really chaos, and we shouldn’t teach our kids that this is the way to go. Whoever coined the phrase, “Less is More,” was absolutely right, especially when it comes to social media…”Less IS More!”

    1. heidi Post author

      Yes! For sure. I like that. I’m going to apply “less is more” to the computer and phone. Thank you for this!

  5. Ally

    I’ve been feeling an itch of this quite often lately. Unable to stop myself from checking the notifications on my phone, opening the laptop, taking on too much that I could delegate to other family members, not saying ‘no’ when I should. I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about daily mediation, and doing none of it. Taking me time shouldn’t be so difficult to do.

    1. heidi Post author

      Hi Ally,
      I only just saw this comment you left! I don’t know what is going on with email notifications.
      Thank you for coming by and leaving a comment. I think this is a struggle many women face. I am still learning to say no. And the delegating, right?? I think it’s a control issue for me. I’d rather do it myself than trust someone else to do it, but it wears on you and before you know it you’re having a meltdown. Well, I am anyway. 😉 Make time for yourself. It’s something all of us need to do. Indulge in YOU for a while. That’s my plan today….watch some Downton Abby and ignore my to-do list. 🙂

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