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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > A Better You > 36 (Final Column)

A Better You
by Jo Ann Fore

A Quiet Mind

Editor's Note: This is the final A Better You column by Jo Ann Fore. Look for continuing contributions from her in other areas of Online Dating Magazine in the future.

"Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.”
~ Hans Margolius

For years, I avoided quiet. The stillness of it intimidated me. It agitated me.

Quiet requires something of a person. At the time, I didn’t know what that “something” was, but I knew enough to know I didn’t have it. And, my constant state of turmoil convinced me I didn’t need it anyway.

So, I avoided it. I filled my quiet with compulsive shopping, unhealthy relationships, and a demanding career to keep from being still.

But living life out loud led to difficulties. Stressed, financially strapped, and seriously overworked, I realized I couldn’t keep going like that.

I was forced to look inward for some answers. It wasn’t comfortable.

What if I don’t like what’s in there? I wondered.

My heart pounds even now.

I finally granted myself permission to learn to sit with the quiet of each day. I wanted answers for my rash behavior, and I was going to have to be still to get them. Insight is difficult to discern in the midst of chaos. I was longing for the very thing I spent years avoiding: peace and quiet.

I am impatient, driven, and hard-working. It was difficult for my brain to justify the time required to be still. Responsibilities and tasks vied for my attention. Doubt tried to convince me quiet was overrated, unproductive, and unnecessary.

How appropriate that quiet won the silent battle.

Quiet led me on a journey of revelation. A pain-filled, taxing, and downright uncomfortable journey at times, yet insightful and educational. In the calm of quiet, I discovered answers. I obtained direction.

Also, quiet taught me that I cannot live without it. It is a perpetual need. I am faced with challenges on a regular basis that require me to call on it. And, to battle for its importance.

Today I still battle for my right to sit quietly. Seated on my couch, nestled between several floral, oversized pillows, I breathe in deeply. No television in the background; no children playing; the dogs don’t even dare to bark outside. Nothing but quiet. And me.

The quiet beckons me, “Break through!”

My mind resists.

Where do I go? What do I do? My mind is flooded with 100 things at once.

The stillness is threatened.

“Calm down,” the quiet assures me.

“Listen quietly. What presses the hardest for your attention?” the quiet probes.

Ah…my teenage daughter – and my empty nest.

“Let’s go there,” the quiet encourages.

I spend at least an hour with the quiet. Mentally, I lay my anguish out on the table. And, then I leave it there. I stop talking. I listen. In the stillness, I soon discern what my part is, and what it isn’t. I leave the quiet refreshed, renewed, and revitalized.

What a blessing the quiet is to me.

And, it can be to you. Everyone needs, and deserves, the opportunity to reflect and regroup. I’ll admit, it isn’t easy – but, it is necessary.

It is important to create your own quiet time, preferably daily – but at a minimum, weekly. You need to be free from disturbances. Eliminate the distractions, at least temporarily. Yes, single parents, adult care-givers, and corporate-ladder climbers, I do understand what I’m asking. You will have much more to give once you are refueled from the quiet.

Review your priorities. What is going on in your life – with your family, your career, or your friends – that demands attention? What are your hopes in each of these situations? Focus on one situation at a time. Free from distraction, lay out all your concerns about it. Then, be still and listen. The quiet will speak.

As Hans Margolius, German philosopher, reminds us, it is in the quiet mind that we adequately perceive the true answers.

Jo Ann Fore welcomes your comments about this article or suggestions for material you would like to see in future articles. Email her at: A Better You is published every Saturday.

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