Thursday, March 10, 2011

Quiet Time

Quiet time in my happy place

I love being a coach.  For about the bazillion and a halfth time, yesterday's Girls on the Run lesson shined a big mirror at my own life.  I'm sure it was great for the girls, but I keep chuckling to myself a little bit about how much I need these lessons, too.

Many a time I've learned more from teaching than I imparted.  Sometimes that's a terrifying responsibility, but I love the challenge.

Nineteen and newly engaged, I traveled with a friend to be a counselor for Ballet Magnificat's summer dance intensive in Jackson, Mississippi.  I wore a mask of a smile to hide my embarrassing feeling of inadequacy as a leader.  I was sure that I'd be found out as a not-good-enough Christian.  Some of the young girls in my group who seemed like they had the God thing down--and I thought for sure that I'd never be able to keep up or provide them any new food for thought.  I stayed up late into the night making notes about each lesson and trying to anticipate the spiritual questions they'd have.  It ended up being fine, but I was grateful for the framework and eventually grateful that I was pushed to teach something that was just beyond my sphere of comfort.  I grew so much in those two weeks.  Those lessons were for me, too.  There are still times when this is what it feels like to teach high school.  Learning and teaching are friends that often walk the path together.

Yesterday's GOTR lesson was on taking time out, taking time to be still.

I know that before I could articulate this as a need in my life I could only recognize the crazy that blooms in its absence.  When I don't (or can't) take time for quiet, I fall apart like a pile of rocks.  One thing begets a crazy emotion and suddenly everything is the worst thing that ever happened.

As I said Tuesday, I'm at the stage where scheduling the quiet has to happen.  I even made myself write a found poem yesterday so I would have to stop and do something calm.  Sure, in the glowing days of summer it's easy and natural to meet quiet wherever it appears.  I don't have to think about thinking time because I'm home, wrapping myself in the comfort of family.  I'm outside in nature all day.  But March... oh, March.  Ain't nothing gonna happen in March--and I mean NOTHING--unless I pencil it in.

Yesterday we talked to the girls about using a run to quiet their minds.  We had them run alone and in silence for 40 minutes.  If you've ever been around elementary school children you know how challenging this was.  They did it.  I was proud of their commitment to the task.  After the run we had them lay down and do a simple relaxation meditation where they visualized their worries in a box and pictured themselves lifting each thing out one at a time to put it down.

You have to believe what you're teaching or it fails.  Teaching has to be authentic, which is why teaching these kinds of self-reflection skills is so challenging.  I was reminded that we each carry around a box of worry that needs emptying on a regular basis.  My goal for the rest of the week is to spend more time in mindful quiet.

1 comment:

  1. I was reading this the other day and I got interrupted mid-comment, so I never finished my thought.

    Now I forget what my thoughts were exactly, other than I enjoyed this post and agree with it 100 percent.

    We're in such a crazy multi-tasking age. (And women are already master multi-taskers ...) It's SOOO important to chill the eff out from time to time, even if it means SCHEDULING a few hours to do nothing.

    I find the more I grant myself permission to JUST BE, the better my life flows from day to day. I get less angry. Less guilt-ridden. Less jealous of other people. Less pent up.

    It's kind of like taking your car out on the highway and opening it up to 85. We spend so much time driving 45, in traffic, braking every mile for traffic lights and stop signs that we forget our cars were made for open roads and high speeds.

    Ya gotta floor your engine from time to time just to remind it it's still capable of running like a top.