This world is a noisy, crazy–sometimes terrifying–place and it seems as if it’s getting noisier, crazier, and more terrifying by the minute. We’re overwhelmed by it all and, what’s worse, it seems as if there’s no relief coming anytime soon.
This is how Sitting in Silence can help. This practice gives you the opportunity to make much needed space–margin, as it’s called these days–in your life.
To be a vibrant, whole person who’s fully engaged in living life, you need this space. You need space to think, space to feel, space to make sense of things. You need space to absorb your thoughts and feelings, and assimilate them into your life. These are the basis of your success and happiness in life.
I urge and encourage you to Sit in Silence every single day. Do it first thing in the morning for fifteen minutes. Stick with it for a month and see what happens. I am positive you’ll be pleased with the calmness that will settle into your life.
To take something from yourself to give to another, that is humane and gentle and never takes away as much comfort as it brings again. ~Thomas More
When we think of donating items, we usually give from what we don’t need or no longer want, or from our excess. For instance, we may have purchased something and then changed our mind but it was past the time limit to return it; or perhaps we were trying a new recipe and bought extra of an item that we didn’t end up using and it’s still good but has gotten pushed to the back of our pantry; or we have an item that we once liked and used but, even though it’s still in good shape, we’ve moved on to something that better suits our needs.
It’s these things that we usually give away. And this is great because there is someone who can use what we never used or that no longer serves us.
I challenge you, though, to take this a step further and to give away something that you like, that you may be currently using; even something that may have meaning for you.
As Thomas More’s quote tells us, the rewards are tremendous.
Years ago I was in a business networking group that included a woman who was always cheerful and upbeat. Her business did well in spite of sluggish economies or downturns in business cycles. I attributed this to her good spirits that were infectious.
But she did something else that at the time I realized was remarkable but I’m only now understanding the profound impact it’s had in her life.
She was always giving away things she liked, even though she may have been actively using them and in spite of the fact that they might have had special meaning to her.
As an example, at one meeting a colleague complimented her on the pretty scarf she was wearing. She told the colleague the story of how she acquired it during a special vacation to the Southwest. The next morning, after having the scarf cleaned, she dropped it off at the colleague’s office.
Those of us who heard about this act were stunned, as was the colleague who received the unexpected gift. Later on, I asked the woman why she had given away a scarf she liked and that even had special memories attached to it.
Her answer was illuminating.
She said that it wasn’t the scarf that was the memory. The memories were part of her as images in her mind of the sights; as feelings of excitement of being in an interesting place; as the gratitude she felt at having the opportunity for going on the exceptional vacation with the special people in her life and as the conversations and laughter they shared; as the awe and wonder of discovering new things and sharing that with people she loved.
Although the scarf was a touchstone and could remind her, she didn’t need it. She could tune into the idea of happiness and her mind and body would be flooded with not only this memorable vacation, but also a whole host of other experiences that had given her joy.
Does this mean that her life was worry-free and that she merrily skipped from one success to another? Absolutely not. I know she had her share of frustrations, setbacks, and heartache. In spite of these she was able to thrive, not just survive, scrape by, barely make it. No. She flourished.
I think her cheerful, positive, hopeful attitude went a long way toward her prospering, but I also think it was because she was so generous and gladly gave away things she liked, things that may still have been meaningful to her.
Join me today in following today’s quote from Thomas More–and the example of my business associate–and choose one of the things we like, that we use, that may even have meaning for us and joyfully give away.
It’s a tough thing to do but I know you can do it!
We aren’t here on this earth to live small, stunted lives. We’re here to live fully and give every last bit of our gifts and talents to the world. Forgiving others and especially forgiving yourself is the best way to put things behind you and to move forward into your destiny.
Here are a few quotes to help us with forgiveness:
When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free. ~Catherine Ponder
When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future. ~Bernard Meltzer
Holding on to anger, resentment and hurt only gives you tense muscles, a headache and a sore jaw from clenching your teeth. Forgiveness gives you back the laughter and the lightness in your life. ~Joan Lunden
Here’s another benefit of sitting in silence: it helps you clarify you’re thinking.
Not only does it help you hear and feel the Still Small Voice within—or the whisperings and urgings of your heart and soul, if you will—but the results of a practice of Silence will help you discern the difference between that which is yours to address versus what belongs to other people.
Once you’re able to clarify your thinking then you’ve taken a huge step toward self-forgiveness.
It’s one thing to recognize you’ve fallen short of your ideal and that you need to make amends and corrections. It’s a whole different thing to take the blame for something someone else has done (or not done) or for something that was beyond your control.
Taking the blame when it isn’t yours leads to unresolved and unchecked guilt which oftentimes then turns into shame. These are devastating.
They’ll cause you to lead a life that’s far, far below your potential. To compound this, you probably won’t fulfill your Destiny.
If you don’t have a daily practice of Sitting in Silence even for a few minutes—it could be as little as 5 minutes because it does add up over time—then I urge you to begin one today. Ideally, sit for 15 to 20 minutes first thing in the morning and the last thing before you go to bed. But if that’s too overwhelming, then start with 15 minutes in the morning, the very first thing in the morning. It’s a great way to start your day!
Here are a few quotes that I hope will help you when you’re feeling uncertain or afraid.
Do not let your fears choose your destiny. ~Unknown
Fear is a liar. Your fears make you feel that you don’t have what it takes, you can’t achieve your dreams, it’s too hard, you aren’t good enough. If you listen to your fears then you’ll aim at and settle for a much smaller life than what you could have had. We are capable of far more than we think we are and we each have a Destiny that’s richer, deeper, wider, juicier than what we can imagine right now.
Fear is never a reason for quitting; it’s only an excuse. ~Norman Vincent Peale
Some fears are legitimate and you are correct in pausing and thinking them through. For instance when you’re preparing to parachute out of an airplane, the butterflies in your stomach (a form of fear) are a great reminder to double-check your equipment as well as to go through in your mind the proper procedure for parachuting out of a plane.
Once you’ve done your safety check on the equipment as well as reviewing the proper parachuting procedures, you don’t let your butterflies stop you–you still jump out of the plane!
It’s the same when you’re working toward your dreams. There will be times when you’ll be worried, anxious, and fearful. Pause a moment to assess them and, if needed, take steps to correct or alter what needs it, and then proceed forward. Also, when you’re feeling worried, anxious, and fearful, it’s helpful to remember that it’s okay to go as slowly and as carefully as you need to–you don’t have to barrel ahead with a full head of steam!
Thinking will not overcome fear but action will. ~W. Clement Stone
It’s one thing to assess your fear in order to understand what’s driving it. It’s usually a weakness and once you identify that, you can take appropriate steps to strengthen it.
It’s a whole different story if your thinking turns into brooding and fretting and worrying over your fear. That kind of thinking will stop you dead in your tracks. It does not lead to taking positive, constructive action toward your dreams. Instead, keep your focus on what you can do–actions you can take–to help yourself through the fear.
In 1997, Mr. Rogers won an Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement. He gave a very short speech but it brought the house to tears. The part that got to everyone was when he asked that they pause for a few moments–ten seconds–to think of the people who have helped them become who they were. He called these people, “…special ones who have loved us into being.”
I’d like to do that same thing today. Please join me in taking a moment out of your busy schedule to think of the ones who have believed in you, encouraged you, supported you, and stood by you when the going was really tough. Perhaps they were the only ones there for you when everyone else had turned away. Without their help and belief in you, you would not be where you are today.
Whether they are still on this Earth or not, pause and hold them in your thoughts and heart and send them your loving gratitude.
You may not be able to do what other people do, but you CAN do what YOU can do.
You aren’t meant to do what other people do. If you were meant to do it, then you would be doing it.
It’s fine to admire them but don’t envy them.
You have your own gifts and talents; you, too, have something unique and special. Find what that is. Develop it; enjoy it. When you do that, you will find deep satisfaction and a quiet joy that is unlike any other.