Silence – The Pause that Refreshes

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“It’s been weeks since I’ve had a few minutes of time for quiet reflection.” my client said to me. Have you ever been so busy that you too had that feeling?  I know I have.

As I begin to write on the topic of “quiet reflection” I can’t help but notice the irony in the fact that I frequently talk to my clients about how to pack more into the day.  I also write on time management techniques.  You can find time management lists and articles that I have written on my website.  Here is an example of one list: https://asparker.com/blog/2013/03/ten-ways-to-manage-your-time-more-efficiently/.  So why am I focused on “quiet reflection” today?

It started because I noticed how quickly time goes by.  We are already at the end of the second quarter of 2019.  Then I began to list what I had accomplished so far and how much more there was left to do this year.  It gave me a bit of an anxious feeling.  Not pleasant!

We’re driven today by “to do” lists, goals and multitasking.  Many people are so accomplishment focused that they brag about how much they got done in one day and/or how many hours they worked.  It is often enough to make the listener dizzy or worse feeling guilty.

I’m working on balancing the time I allot to work with the time for other activities.  “Balance” there is a word we use a lot.  So much of what we do needs to be balanced but not in the way a scale gets balanced.  We don’t always want equal amounts on both sides.  We have to find the right mix for ourselves.  In this instance it might be equal amounts of work and relaxation or it might not be.  My guess is what I call balance today will change over time based on my life situation.

As with my client however our lives get in the way of that “balance” and since society at least in the US rewards the accomplishment focus we are always racing to do “stuff”.  Sometimes it is hard to remember the need for “quiet reflection.”

My client wanted to use her time to reflect on a business idea she had and what form it would take. (Visioning) I’ve been working on making time for a meditation practice so that I can rest my mind.  Quiet time can also give you time to think about all you have to be grateful for – a much different internal feeling than “what do I have to do next?” or “what didn’t I do?”

If you find it difficult to find time for quite reflection too here are some suggestions from an old Careers section of the Boston Globe that I saved.  Writer Maggie Johnson suggests these methods for “hitting the pause button.”

  1. Small doses – Start with a minute or two.  Take breaks in small doses so that over time you form a new habit.
  2. Reminders – Write a note to yourself and stick it someplace obvious like the bathroom mirror to remind yourself to just stop for a minute or two.
  3. Disconnect – Have a no tech zone.  Disconnect from the computer, Internet, TV, telephone and other electronic devices and just sit quietly.  (If this idea scares you, then you really need to do it.)
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