Silence – Part II

August 14, 2013 036

In Part I, I announced My One Word, Silence, for 2014, and the benefits I have found through my conversion to one word rather than a list of resolutions.  Following is a list of how one word can help shape my character and draw me nearer to God if practiced diligently, keeping in mind it’s about progress, not perfection.  And to think this list can happen from just one word. 🙂

1.)  When I feel anger toward someone for their words or actions, whether they were intentional or not, remaining silent until I’ve had time to process and bring it before God will prevent me from spouting off with a comment I will likely regret later.  And staying silent, not even so much as to comment under my breath to myself in the name of venting, will keep my thoughts clear. I believe that our thoughts become words, so if I say something unkind in a moment of emotion, whether to someone else or to myself, I’m allowing my thoughts to travel that path.  Stopping a negative thought with a positive one before it flows into words, prevents those thoughts from germinated and growing wildly out of control, weeds choking out anything beautiful that has the potential to grow.  And it’s impossible to feel anger when I’m being grateful to God for something He’s blessed me with.

2.)  Taking a moment of silence before responding to a question that holds any weight gives enough time to invite God into the conversation.  If I follow His lead, I can’t go wrong.  In the presence of impulsivity and many spoken words, there is greater chance for sin.

3.)  It’s in silence and stillness that God breathes answers to my questions, even those that are often unasked.  If every waking moment is absorbed in sound, whether it be the television, radio, others or myself talking, there is no room for listening to His still, small voice.  I enjoy listening to the K-LOVE radio station in my car, or WAY-FM, songs and spiritual words lifting me high.  However, I have found that when I listen for it coming from Him, in silence, rather than through noise on the radio, it blankets my heart in peace that is incomparable to anything else.  That being said, unless I think about the word “silence,” in a world that’s accustomed and conditioned to noise, I often run on auto pilot and turn my radio on without thinking.  My one word reminds me to invite the silence into my day.

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4.)  Keeping my one word consciously and  subconsciously close, invites my thoughts to be still, bringing them back to Him, riding that wave of peace.  It’s a peace that is unmatched and one I discovered cannot be found anywhere except in close communion with God.  Silence reminds me to take deep, slow, cleansing breathes throughout the day, keeping the chaos and noise to a tolerable minimum.

5.)  Mindfulness of silence keeps me from reliving yesterday or jumping ahead to tomorrow, and keeps me living, fully experiencing, the here and now.

As I now prepare to sit quietly and enjoy a moment of silence before proceeding with my day, I wish you all a beautiful, peaceful year, journeying on your path to growth toward whatever it is you’re striving for.

Peace to you.

Why I Write

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Last week I received an email from the author of a blog I follow,  The Creative Penn, and the author asked her readers to think about why we write.  And that did, indeed, get me thinking…

I write because when I do, I:

*     Feel freedom and the ability to express myself in a way that nothing else can match.

*     Feel joy,  peace, and pure contentment.  Even if I’m working on a piece that doesn’t come easy, I’m in my element in the quiet     of my office with pen in hand or fingers on the keyboard, mood music playing softly on Pandora, and my mind creating whatever it happens to be creating at that moment.

Create.

 

 

 

 

 

*     Get more connected with God by making my thoughts concrete on the page, where oftentimes it’s then I can see where God is working in my life, or where I’m not, showing me I need to make myself available for more of God.

*     Am able to live vicariously through my characters–where else can one live so many different lives and have so many fun, funny, loyal, and even quirky friends? 🙂

*     Have the ability to reach and connect with other people that I wouldn’t have been able to without the magic of written words.  I’m able to connect with my sponsor kids through Compassion International, making a difference in lives in another country.  How blessed am I! I’m able to connect with readers on this blog, every one of which I am so grateful for.  It’s a magical connection that other writer’s at heart can likely understand.

*     Can turn a bad day to better from being able to escape to another world, whichever I happen to create, or by simply writing my feelings on paper, making me aware of them and then being able to let them go.

*     Spent a number of years getting too busy with life, which resulted in not writing, and I’m a much happier person when I write.

Writing journal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*     Cannot imagine my life without words and story, whether handwritten or from the keyboard.  The vehicle which produces those words doesn’t matter, only the fact that I’m able to do it.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
―     Maya Angelou

All is Grace.

Banishing Routine – Sometimes

My Adidas

I recently read a blog post by Katherine Valdez  called Cross-Training for Writers, and it got me to re-think my writing routine.
While I thrive on routine in most areas of my life, writing is the one thing that sets me free from routine that can suffocate living.

Creating stories is an escape from the real world of routine and from keeping all things on a schedule.  Not that the real world is bad.  On the contrary.  But my need to control the real world around me isn’t healthy.  And, in essence, creating a routine, making sure all things fall into place, is a means of control.

Writing gives me an escape from that control, because once I start a story, outline or not, it seems to take off with a mind of its own.  My characters develop their own stubborn personalities and develop as they want to rather than how I had planned.  Or My favorite pen runs out of ink and I have to use another.  Or my computer battery isn’t charged and I need to sit at my desk near the charger rather than camp out on the sofa or floor like I had planned.  Yes, I realize I could move the charger, but that would be too logical. 🙂

But I digress…

Katherine’s blog post made me think about how my writing life can even become mundane and a chore, rather than a joy and an escape, if I make it routine.  By feeling like I haven’t really written if I haven’t put a set number of words on the page or clocked a certain number of minutes at my computer.

Or telling myself I can’t really count it as writing if I’m not working on a piece in order to get it published.

What I’ve come to realize in exploring this area is there are so many creative ways to create.  Why try lock oneself in a box of expectations we place on ourselves?

Doodling/sketching is a creative outlet.  And that sketching exercises an area of the brain that is different from writing.

Mentally creating story lines, character traits, scenes, etc., while watching a movie or reading a book exercises the thought process part of the brain.

creativity

Listening to conversations on public transportation, in cafes or coffee shops, at work or in the park,  catching snippets of conversation, the tone of a voice, etc., teaches us to be attentive to our surroundings.  To listen like a writer, exercising yet another part of the creative process.

Reading books/blogs/articles/magazines/websites on writing teaches us what works and doesn’t work.  However, just because something didn’t work for one person doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.  One thing that does work for the majority, however, and would be wise to follow, is the advice to be persistent and never give up.

Never stop trying. Never stop believing. Never...

Just as cross-training in exercise works different muscle groups and keeps the interest alive, cross-training in writing exercises different muscles and keeps the excitement of the process alive.

All is Grace.

The Power Behind a Thought

English: Engraving of American philosopher and...

Watch your thoughts for they become words,
watch your words for they become actions,
watch your actions, for they become habits,
watch your habits for they become your character,
watch your character for it becomes your destiny.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

The first thought in the morning can be the driving force behind the entire day.

The best part about that?  We have the power within us to make every day a good day.  We have the ability to practice turning a negative thought, no matter how quickly it appears, into a positive one before it has time to germinate and fester.  Before it gathers forceful speed as a snowball rolling downhill, gathering more “stuff” along the way.

And the more we practice at something the better we become.  Until it becomes somewhat second nature.

One of the most powerful antidotes to negative thoughts, intentional or not, is by cultivating an attitude of gratitude.  Rather than seeing the darkness of a situation, see the light that is shining through the cracks.  No matter how tiny those cracks may be, the light can, and will, shine through. Look for it and you will see its beauty.

It’s easy to be positive when things are going in your direction.  It’s when one’s back is against the wall and on our third strike, or the 8th life of a cat, that practicing positive thoughts seems nearly impossible.  But pushing through the tide, weathering the storm, brings security and strength and a life truly lived well.

Luke 1:37

To start off the day on a positive note, before your feet touch the floor beside your bed, think of one thing to be grateful for and give credit where credit is due.  Give thanks to God.

Pay attention to your thoughts throughout the day and as soon as a negative one begins to form, turn it into a positive.  Before turning out the lights at night, think of three things to be grateful for that happened during the day.  Mentally reviewing your day to develop your grateful items is better than not doing it at all, but I find if I write them down I can go back and look at them many times over, feeling grateful all over again each time I look at them.  An instant pick-me-up for the heart and soul.

Suggestions:

When someone cuts you off in traffic, halt the impulse to cuss and give them “the look.”  Instead say a prayer that they get to where they are going safely and without hurting anyone.

When you’ve put your name in the hat for a job promotion and you don’t get it, stop yourself from the negative thoughts that can feed off of  self-pity and hurt feelings by congratulating the person who did get the position and offer them your assistance if they need it.

When someone pushes ahead of you in a line that you’ve been waiting in, rather than curse and let the anger take hold, force yourself to smile.  And think, “I’ve waited this long, what’s one more?”

Our actions follow our thoughts.  If our thoughts are positive and loving, our actions will be as well.

And with that, it’s time for me to get some practicing in.  I have a ways to go.

All is Grace.