Last week I was walking along a quiet river with a very dear friend of mine. There are tree frogs talking
to each other across the river, the water is making gurgling sounds as it runs across the rocks just a few feet from us. Sometimes the conversation is full and rich, and other times the conversation between us just dies off to a quiet thoughtful moment.
All around us, and into the fields beyond there’s a constant flow of fireflies coming from the ground, heading off to create more life. For me, there’s a quiet excitement to this simple scene as all around us life is happening. There is nothing to do, nothing to change, and nothing to worry about except to simply be with it. In this moment I felt so incredibly alive, so incredibly full of life myself. I just cannot imagine a better place to be.
What is this place
The place I’m talking about, in this case, is not what is happening around me or the person who is beside me. The place I’m talking about is what is happening in my heart. It’s hard to describe what I was feeling in that moment, as it lacked so many of the qualities I would normally associate with how I feel. There was no judgement, no bad feelings, no worries, no concern. I don’t often get to this level of peace, as too often I’m busy rushing here or there in life.
It seems to me we humans have done a really good job of constructing our world to keep us so incredibly busy. We spend hours commuting to a job each week, we stay connected almost 24 hours per day, we watch TV endlessly as a way to entertain ourselves. The number of hours per week people seem to be working is on the rise. We rush off in our evenings to this event or that. Yet, how often do we take the time to slow it down and really listen to what is important?
Do you ever go to bed tired, and ready to get a good night sleep only to find yourself laying there awake for hours thinking about this or that? Do you know why that is happening? I’m not a sleep expert, but what I do know is in those quiet moments of laying in bed all the noise around you dissipates. You can finally hear what is truly important and true for you. Your mind will focus on the things you care most about.
Although the human mind is a wondrous thing, our minds are not wired to process the amount of information we throw its’ way. Science has proven humans simply cannot multitask despite what you may believe. This means when your mind is full of so much busyness, we have to put aside some things and for me, I find I am often putting aside the things closest to my heart.
What might be possible if …
That walk along the river last week slowed me down and opened my mind. It helped me to put aside my busy life as a consultant, to put aside worries about my business and trying to figure out my future. This simple time allowed me to be with the love I receive from home, the person beside me and those in my life. This quiet time made the space in me needed to confront something important.
Despite having to step towards something I feared in a significant way, something big is starting to emerge. The intimacy I share with my wife Rosie has gone to a level I could not have imagined even a week ago. I am at peace knowing, whatever happens along this journey, everything will be all right.
This experience leaves me wondering what might be possible if I would take a quiet walk along the river more often. Increasingly I am making space in my life for some quiet, to reflect, to meditate, to open my mind for the day. However, what might become possible if I do this more often.
In my life with Rosie we have been taking steps to quiet things down. We no longer have cable TV, we spend more time just being with each other, we love camping in far away places and turning off our cell phones. I want more of this, as we share such a strong connection and level of intimacy when we quiet things down.
Your life depends on this
I cannot tell you what will change in your life if you make some space to slow life down. The experience is different for each of us. What I am confident about is you will know what is important for you. Your answers will reveal themselves when you make the space to hear them.
What can you do to create some quiet in your life? Perhaps it’s not turning on the TV in the morning, and instead, take your coffee to the backyard to just be present with the world just outside the door. Perhaps it’s going for a walk in the park just up the street. Perhaps it’s sitting quietly by a river with someone you love, not to do anything significant, just being present with each other. Perhaps it’s disconnecting from the world in the evening, and finally reading that book you’ve been wanting to get to. Perhaps it’s turning off the ringer on your smart phone, so you can choose when to look at it rather than responding to every little beep and click it makes.
Whatever it looks like for you find the time to slow life down each day. I know you might have hundreds of excuses for why that’s not possible, which is why you need to do it more! Your life depends on it. Stop being a slave to the busy world we’ve created and live!
This is important … Your life depends on it!
Awesome post Mike. I think when you get to a point where you cannot describe your feelings when in a peaceful setting you have arrived at the right place. I’m happy for you and Rosie!!
I completely agree with you Mike. It doesn’t matter where we find quiet, because it could be anywhere anytime. Important just to get rid of some busyness, which sometimes is not even productive busyness.