Saturday, August 18, 2012

Quiet Time

(It's Not as Easy as You Would Think)

This morning I spent some time doing "morning pages" a la Julia Cameron (The Artist's Way). My desk is in front of a window that looks out on my back yard. While I was writing, it began to rain. My intention was to "sit in silence" for about thirty minutes after I finished writing. Since it was raining (and thundering!) and I have a metal patio cover where the rain sounds like music as it falls, I thought I'd go on the patio and sit my thirty minutes out there on my glider.

I don't think this would be considered "official" meditation. I was sitting on my glider and I was gliding slowly. My glider has become a portal to stillness lately. I sit there in the mornings while I wait for the dog to do his business and again in the evening, usually. It is only for a few minutes at a time but it is refreshing.

I recently read something that gave me the idea that we can treat our minds like a dog, and when the thoughts start running rampant while we are trying to sit in silence, we can say something like "stay" or "sit." I also read that you are supposed to notice the thought ("oh, there's a thought") and let it drift on away. Problem is, when I do that, I see "Oh, there's a thought." in one of those cartoon speech bubble and then I see the thought floating around like a balloon as it s-l-o-w-l-y disappears from my view. And the balloon itself (red, I believe) always has the longest string tied to it, so that takes forever to drift off. Far easier for me to think "Stay." or "Sit." and return to my silence.

Here are a few of the thoughts I had to command while I was sitting:
  • Wow, that thunder is loud! I bet SpookyRach would be so jealous!
  • I need to text my spiritual director and ask her what I'm supposed to be doing while I'm sitting here.
  • All those raindrops are like people, all we are is a quick drop in a vast universe.
  • I am so going to blog about this.
  • Wow, all those drops are like musical notes, I hear the music of life!
  • Oh! The breeze makes me think of that Michael Lee poem. There is love touching me in that wind.
  • Good grief! Hasn't it been thirty minutes yet?
  • I don't care what you say, I am not going to look at the timer. I am GOING TO WAIT till it goes off.

When I was done I had to take my camera out to get photos of the rain drops clinging to the bars of the swing set. I've taken similar photos before. What can I say? I am enamored with rain drops clinging to metal bars! The rain drops are mostly what I focused on as I sat.

It was nice to still quietly and to hold my thoughts at bay for a little while. I hope I can do it more often.

We (meaning my husband, mostly) cleaned out our backyard storage building last weekend. There were some things in there that had been taken off the patio in preparation for Hurricane Rita in September of 2005. I've added those things back to my patio and joked that I hoped we wouldn't have to remove them again for another storm. Maybe we should have waited until hurricane season was over to work on that project.

Anyway, this bird cage, and the bird in it (the bird was part of a wind chime that had broken, I thought I was clever, putting the bird in the cage) was one of the dubious "treasures" we found in the building. It means something emotionally to me, this bird in a cage hanging from my patio.

I can't decide which version I like best, the color one or the black and white one, so I am posting both.

"Wow." That's what I said when the time finally went off and I could go back to my racing thoughts! And now I'm saying it again, "Wow, two blog posts in one day. I wonder what that means?" Not much, in the grand scheme of things!


  1. Hello, I hopped over from TAW bookclub to read about your day. It's a wonderful post. I like the way you write. I so wish I had a backyard glider to sit in and enjoy a peaceful backyard.

    1. Hi Cheryl! Thanks for stopping by!

      I enjoy the glider but I also find rocking in a rocking chair has a similar affect if I am conscious of trying to sit in silence.

  2. Reading this, learning about your desk and the glider and the rain, makes me nuts. Not in a bad way, but in a gut clenched, yearning, longing sort of a way. :) Not to be overly dramatic, but not two hours ago Randy and I were discussing how we have to leave this place and go somewhere with rain. (And preferably trees, mountains and ocean. Or a bitchin' lake. Or something. heh.) I love your raindrop pictures. And I love the idea of your peaceful yard and the glider. And I loooooooove your rain. And I really love that you meditate just like me. ha! We suck at it. :D But that's ok.

    1. I'm extremely glad to know I am not the one who actually stirred the longing, that it was already there when I posted this!

      Wouldn't it be a strange thing for me say "for you, I wish rain, Spookyrach"?

      I'm going to keep on trying on the "meditation." Someone is offering weekly group sessions through the university wellness program. I am going to try to go if I can get my courage worked up (and if I don't have to sit cross-legged on the floor)! :)

  3. Diane, I love this and I love the idea of the running dog and saying sit and stay. I tap my forehead when my mind runs off. Brings me back to the moment. It's a good practice to do. You don't "do" anything. You just are. Staying present in the moment. It's so good. I do most of mine at the beach, but came home today and channeled about 8 pages in my journal. Lots of deep stuff going on.
    I so wish I had a glider. We have one up on the farm, the old wooden kind... it's a good place to space out and just go with the movement.
    Sounds like a wonderful day.

    1. I saw somewhere you saying you had deep stuff going on. It made me want to give you a call and I didn't. :(

      Wish I could head to the beach with you...

      I find a rocking chair works almost as well as a glider for me...

  4. I never got any good at meditation untIl the stakes were high. When the pain was horrible and no meds would touch it, meditation was all I had. My mind didn't seem to wander any more. Now, when I'm not in that shape, I can still get pretty focused. But I can't look at anything. I have to be quiet and close my eyes in a darkened room. Anything else is just resting, which is a good discipline too. And I got lots of rain last night for the first time in a long time. I have chairs on my front porch.... I need a glider, or rocking chairs. I like the idea of some movement.

    1. Oh, Cyn! I'd forgotten about how they say meditation helps with physical pain. I never believed it could.

      Sometimes I try with my eyes closed, I'm still so new, I don't know what works best. Odd thing--I'm nearsighted and when I walk the labyrinth, I always do so without my glasses. It somehow seems to help me!

      My spiritual director encourages a little bit of movement, like a rocking chair or glider. I tend to rock anyway. My psyc professor friends tease me about it. :)

  5. You have my mind stirred enough to attempt my own post on such subject (not the glider, as I don't own one), but the meditation, silence, all of it as I have experienced it. In truth, your words here sound to me like what most of us go through, most of us not having a life, like Merton, for example, wherein we can consistently find the opportunity to practice what we are seeking. Let me add only that I'm sorry to hear of your father-in-law's passsing. He sounds like a man I would have been blessed to have known....

    1. I'll look forward to your post, Jim! It's another of those things to find time for, like exercise. Sometimes I think I'd like to try walking meditation...

      Thanks for the condolences on my father-in-law...

  6. what an inspiring post, thank you for sharing such intimate thoughts and moments from your day. I feel as though I was sitting there along side you, gliding. I've enjoyed these serene moments. happy week to you Annie.

  7. Thank you! Happy week to you, too!

  8. Annie, so appreciate visiting here. I'm really supposed to be getting some preparations done for work but I find myself going from one post to the next. Gotta get back to work now! To quote Arnold Schwarzenegger: "I'll be back."

    1. Thanks! Glad to see you back around!


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