Monday, 3 September 2012

Paradoxes...Quiet Stillness or Hectic Busyness

I'm still trying to settle into my changed routine.  It was very easy while I was sick to have quiet time so I could reflect and meditate.  As the summer has progressed and I'm regaining my strength and stamina, I'm living life to the fullest as well.  This seems to translate into less "quiet" time.

My husband has always labelled me as a type A personality.  I like to keep busy and fill my day with activities that promote my relationships with my husband, family and friends.  It makes me feel like I've accomplished something worthwhile.  I love to visit with small groups of friends.   So in order to keep in touch with everyone, I used to fill our weekends with activities with friends.  At the same time, I would fill the weekends with errands for our children, or going to activities that they were involved in so they knew how much they meant to us and we totally supported them in their endeavours.  It used to be the norm that I would be up at 6:30 a.m. and running solid until 10 or 10:30 p.m.  Then I would fall into bed and start the next day all over again.  This has a type A personality agenda written all over it!

While I underwent chemotherapy, my body's lack of health forced me to sit quietly for hours at a time.  What a relief this was!!!  How nice it was that I didn't have to organize, plan or "run around like a chicken with its head cut off".  The paradox to this was that while I was embracing a slower lifestyle, I still wanted to watch my children's activities.  I still wanted to "do".  But....I also learned how to stop and enjoy some "quiet" time.

My current challenge is to achieve a balance of quiet and serene time in conjunction with my busy lifestyle of teaching and organizing a busy household.  One of the new routines I want to continue is to take a full 30 minutes of uninterrupted, absolute stillness and quietness.  During this 30 minutes, I read "The Friendship Book" and take time to absorb and contemplate the entry for the day.  Next, I read "The Book of Awakening" by Mark Nepo and, again, I take the time to absorb, contemplate and act on the suggested meditation exercises for the day.  I find when I do this, my day seems to go much easier.  I seem to handle any negativity that comes my way so much better.  You would think that because I enjoy this time so much that I would not have any difficulty building it into the start of my day.  Wrong!  My type A personality gets in the way.  I get up in the morning, put the coffee on, read the paper, check my email, read the blogs I follow and check my facebook.  By this time, the other members of the family are up and the hustle and bustle of the house is beginning to hum.  There goes my "quiet" time.

While I was in California, I was able to do my readings and meditation every day.  Since I've come back, I seem to be missing days at a time.  This past week, I've started to contact my students and get myself organized to resume teaching private music lessons in September.  As I'm getting stronger and taking on more tasks, I'm forgetting to nurture my inner self with the meditations.  Again, the paradox of all this is that I want both the quiet, serene and contemplative time as well as the busy, "worthwhile" time.  Perhaps this is my problem.  I've bought into the world's measure of worth.  In order to be worthy, we need to be multi-tasking and "doing" from the time we arise in the morning until we fall into bed at night.  I have to keep reminding myself that my inner self is just as worthy and the quiet time of just sitting, reading, contemplating and meditating is just as important or more important than the doing.

I know that I use an agenda/calendar to keep myself organized and on task.  In order to get in the habit of daily quiet time at the beginning of the day, I may have to enter this into my agenda.  I may have to arise earlier in the day and "schedule" my meditation time before anyone else is up and about.  I just know that I want to continue this routine which started back in March while I was still undergoing treatments.  These daily moments helped me cope with anxiety and the unkown of cancer and treatments.  I truly believe these daily moments will continue to help me cope with the stress of living life to the fullest.  So I'm raising my cup of coffee to the art of finding the balance between quiet stillness and hectic busyness.

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