My toolbox

The other day, Jay and I were driving with the kids. The noise in the car had reached a crescendo. Or at least we thought it had. Our patience were frayed. We looked at each other and agreed, we missed the quiet.

I think it’s one of the most underrated luxuries of life before children. Before kids, it was easy to find long, extravagant periods of utter silence. Though, I suppose at the time it didn’t feel extravagant. It’s possible even that there were times that I was irritated by the silence. Sometimes we don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone. And the quiet, ANY quiet, is surely gone. I’m the mother of two boys. Noise is beyond normal, it’s entrenched.

But it’s not just motherhood, though I think this distinction has made it more obvious. There is so little quiet in all parts of my life. Some of the noise is concrete, the radio, the bing of my phone, meetings, office chit chat, or the ambient noise of the blender at my favourite haunt.

But some of the noise is abstract. In my head. And because there are so few quiet moments in general, those that I have are often filled with a myriad of thoughts. When the real world is quiet, my mind is usually reeling and it can be very noisy. Sometimes overwhelming.

Learning how to quiet my mind, I’ve discovered, is the most important part of Project Finding Me. It’s the biggest piece in my journey, the one at I expect will take the most work. But I think it’s the most vital part of finding my centre and feeling stronger in my life. I hesitate to say that it’s about meditation, but the more that I learn and read, the more I realize that this might be the very thing that I need.

I’m reading this excellent book right now (yes, another book), a memoir by Mary Piper called Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World. It’s about her personal struggles with the demands of a successful career and her journey toward a quieter, more meditative life that would provide her with self-acceptance and joy. (I know, how couldn’t I read it?!)

Reading this book I have seen so much of myself. While reading her description of her struggles I found myself literally exclaiming out loud. She is a kindred spirit. She says:

My misery forced me to reflect, which led me to slow down and take better care of myself. These actions propelled me to meditation, which fostered calmness and an appreciation of the moment. Being present led me to the heart of the hear of the universe. For the rest of my life, when I need that place, I’ll know how to find it.

And so now I know my next steps. In such a short time I’ve come so far. I’ve come this far because of the goal that I set for myself early this year. I’ve taken the steps that I needed to get here. I went to therapy, I began to write in a more focused and meaningful way, I’ve made deep connections with people who understand me or who are at least willing to cheer me on, I’m learning to delight in the ordinary, and now I will seek and appreciate calm and quiet. This is my toolbox. Each an important part of the arsenal that will keep me off the cliff.

I’m making progress, even if I stumble a bit along the way.

I wrote this post in honour of the BlogHer Serenity Suite.
I’m delighted to be helping to host this important oasis for people who need a moment or two of peace and quiet to regenerate. Stop by if you need it, or even just to say hi!
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21 thoughts on “My toolbox

  1. Kate says:

    For some reason, the noise in my head keeps coming to this… When a dinner table fell silent, my mom would say, "The angels must be passing." Silence is such a blessing.It is a rare moment when I find external quiet, but harder to calm this mind. For me, yoga was the best meditation. I needed to move my body to still my mind. How I wish I was going these days! Nope. Just lots of noise.

  2. Blissed-Out Grandma says:

    "For the rest of my life, when I need that place, I'll know how to find it."That is a really valuable tool! Christine, you are so well aware of the progress you've made–you write about it so clearly–that it's hard for me to remember that you might still not be exactly where you want to be. Cheers!

  3. C (Kid Things) says:

    There really is so much noise during the day, it's hard to even hear yourself think. And just when you think it can't get any louder, it does.

  4. Leanne says:

    I couldn't agree with you more! I just returned home from work to find my daughters, and their grandma, playing lots of fun games. It looked like a tornado hit the place. Shortly thereafter, the girls were invited to go to the park with a neighbor. I felt so bad **hinting** to my Mom that I wanted her to leave – but the idea of having 1 hour of quiet was almost a dream come true. I know I am getting older – because I enjoy the quiet more and more each passing day! Great post.

  5. Rudri says:

    Christine, My husband is always telling me to find the quiet place within me. I try and I've taken some instructions from Hand Wash Cold, but I understand it is a process. I am trying though.

  6. becca says:

    AAAAHHHH! That noise inside my head is beyond irritating. I live for quiet. I thrive on quiet. And I'm married to someone who I believe thrives on noise. Background noise. Loud noise. Constant noise. Makes for an interesting marriage! Yoga is something that has helped me in the past find the quiet in my head. I wish I could do it more often. I love this project you're working on Christine… it inspires me!

  7. Corinne says:

    I so get it. Obviously 😉

  8. Aging Mommy says:

    Oh yes, the unquiet mind. I woke up at 2am this morning and started thinking, of all the things I needed to do and had not and after two hours of tossing and turning actually got up at 4am to get on and do some of it. The endless chatter of my daughter I don't really ever mind, it is the endless conversation with myself inside my head that drives me crazy 🙂

  9. Allison @ Alli 'n Son says:

    That quote reminds me of a friend who goes "zen" when her child is having a tantrum, the noise gets to be too much, or she just needs a moment of peace. I'm applying it to my own life, when I remember, and it does help. Although nothing can completely drown out all of the noise. That's why some days, during nap time, the only sounds are my clicking away on my keyboard.

  10. Allison @ Alli 'n Son says:

    That quote reminds me of a friend who goes "zen" when her child is having a tantrum, the noise gets to be too much, or she just needs a moment of peace. I'm applying it to my own life, when I remember, and it does help. Although nothing can completely drown out all of the noise. That's why some days, during nap time, the only sounds are my clicking away on my keyboard.

  11. Allison @ Alli 'n Son says:

    That quote reminds me of a friend who goes "zen" when her child is having a tantrum, the noise gets to be too much, or she just needs a moment of peace. I'm applying it to my own life, when I remember, and it does help. Although nothing can completely drown out all of the noise. That's why some days, during nap time, the only sounds are my clicking away on my keyboard.

  12. Allison @ Alli 'n Son says:

    That quote reminds me of a friend who goes "zen" when her child is having a tantrum, the noise gets to be too much, or she just needs a moment of peace. I'm applying it to my own life, when I remember, and it does help. Although nothing can completely drown out all of the noise. That's why some days, during nap time, the only sounds are my clicking away on my keyboard.

  13. Hyacynth says:

    The quiet — the stillness — is so underrated in a gogogo society. But we were created for rest! I've long underestimated the power of having a day of rest, a day of quiet, periods of quiet within my mind and heart, but I've found it's essential to how we were formed.

  14. Theta Mom says:

    I need to keep some peace in my life – I will SO be there at that suite!! Thanks for letting us know!

  15. Justine says:

    My kid's grandparents constantly have a TV blaring in the house. I don't get that. I CRAVE quiet and stillness. Need it. Want it. But wanting and having are two different things aren't they? I'm constantly thinking, worrying, deciphering, hoping that it's difficult to quiet the voices within. Even at yoga, I'm going through my laundry list of things I need to get done for the day. Serenity of mind and spirit often escapes me these days, and I need to learn to find peace and surrender to it. Wholly.I'm so glad to see that you recognize what you need for your project and are on a quest to achieve it/them. Good for you!

  16. ShannonL says:

    Ahh, the noise that is boys! Or even just siblings. After several recent roadtrips with our kids, I am too familiar with the noise and chaos (and vomiting – LOL!). It's enough to drive a person mad!I like quiet. Daniel likes background noise (the TV is ALWAYS on, even if we're not in the same room). It's difficult to find a balance sometimes, but I do enjoy those quiet times alone when hubby is at ball and the kids are in bed. It's relaxing. My mind is working a lot, but I can usually tame it at least for a little while.Keep working away, Christine. You've come very far in a short amount of time. I love following the progress of your project! xo

  17. Denise says:

    Moments before I read this, I was cherishing the quiet of the last hour because my children are with their grandmother. Oh how I needed that quiet. Adore reading about your journey. I'll give you big hugs in person at the Serenity Suite!!!

  18. Lindsey says:

    I've ordered this book and can't wait to read it! Thank you for the recommendation!

  19. Jack says:

    I'm making progress, even if I stumble a bit along the way. That is so important- progress leads to small victories and helps to ensure that we keep moving forward.

  20. Belinda Munoz + The Halfway Point says:

    I'm intrigued by the title of the book! It's now on my list for my next round of Amazon order.I may be one of the few people who get enough silence in my days. Yoga and meditation have really helped me, though I understand they're not foolproof :)As for stumbling along the way, I literally wear heels a lot and often when I walk around with my husband (hardly ever when I'm alone which is kind of strange), I'll trip a little. It's bled into my metaphorical take on tripping. It has to happen; otherwise, I'm probably not doing enough exploring.

  21. "Not Telling" says:

    I love this post. It hits on so much of what I feel and need right now. As someone who isn't religious, I like the idea of finding that place in another way. You know, I was thinking, we need a "serenity suite" for life, and blogs like yours provide something like this for me right now.

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