Love is in the Quiet Moments
By D.J. Chatelaine
I love to keep myself busy. From training for and running three marathons to cooking and baking or making music in my “downtime,” in addition to working and pursuing my other passions and curiosities, I do without ceasing. Scheduling my days around eating, sleeping, working and these hobbies, I find that I can thrive for a time in this fast-paced, demanding routine I self-impose. But also, I find that when I burn out, it usually involves extreme fatigue, some sort of cold or injury and little to no desire to do anymore or anything else. Although I’m still figuring out the balance in my life, I find the times that I’m still--that is, the times I pause and rest--are most life giving.
One of my favorite places to be still is in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota. I’ve been just about every other year since I was 12 years old, and even though it’s a bit challenging to be in the wilderness for a week at a time, having to carry everything you need--food, clothes, shelter, cookware--with you over rugged trails and paddling through choppy waters, the time I’ve spent there has been some of the most life giving. For it is in the moments of stillness, where there’s nothing to do besides laying on a sun-soaked rock, listening to the loons calling, the wind blowing through the mighty branches of ancient trees and seeing islands of trees rise out of the sky blue waters, that I feel at peace--one with God, nature and everything around me. The worries of the outside world and my life leave me for this moment in time and I can fully be present in creation and my being.
Moments like these are meant to be temporary and shouldn’t last forever, as the work we are called to do is important and life giving in its own way. Yet at the same time, these moments of stillness and solitude reflect a great love. A love that helps me renew, reset and recharge for what’s to come once I leave the Boundary Waters. Where is your Boundary Waters experience? Where is your moment or place of stillnes? Perhaps it’s on a beach, or at home, or in a forest, or with those you love. In this Lenten season, take the time to practice or simply remember those moments of stillness. For it is in that very stillness that love shows up.
Time to Chat
Car conversations for me growing up were some of the richest moments I had with my parents and sisters. From checking in on each others’ days to my dad and I listening to music on the way to school every day, this time together was a chance to reset for the day to come or decompress from the day that was. How can these moments of detachment and time together offer an opportunity for you and your family to check-in and talk about where you’ve found stillness today?
Challenge and Activities
Teens and Adults: Julie Stevens, our Director of Contemplative Practices, has assembled a Lenten Mindfulness Meditation Challenge. I’ve used this moment of stillness to center myself for the many tasks and events to come each day. Mindfulness makes every moment feel that much more full, intentional, present and meaningful. If you haven’t already, your challenge for this week is to find a time—perhaps in the car, at the breakfast/dinner table or right before bed—to go through one of Julie’s 5-7 minute meditations. Here’s a link to the mindfulness challenge.
Children and Families: How do you build quiet time into your day? Do the kids read or have screen time to instill some quiet? Maybe they quietly play on their own. This week, try something new: quiet circle time! Sit on the floor, chairs, or around the table in a circle as a family. Challenge yourselves to 1-2 minutes (or more if you want) of quiet breathing together. Sit comfortably, play some quiet music (google “yoga music” for options), close your eyes, and be still for those 1-2 minutes. Doing this together is a fun way to challenge each other for a quiet moment as well as build a bonding moment in breathing and being mindfully centered together.