How to Enjoy the Flipside of Hectic
The rat-race, the to-do list… the whirlwind that defines your day.
Is every minute worth it?
This morning I went to a favorite haunt, Bills Boat House on American Lake in Lakewood WA, where I live. It’s a favorite place to go because of its beauty, its serenity, its quietness. It’s where I wrote much of my book.
It’s also an inviting place to reflect. As I walked down the half-block long, blacktop ramp to the boathouse, I was struck by the 8am beauty of the lake in front of me. With the sun behind me illuminating Silcox Island a couple hundred yards from lakeshore, the reflection on the lake was seriously striking, so I stopped in my tracks, took a full minute just to look, to see, to hear, to enjoy some moments of awe.
If your life is like most, quietness and solitude is not on the agenda for today. It’s not allowed. Too much to do… more on the checklist than there’s time in the day to accomplish. And tonight, when your head hits the softness of your pillow, there will be things that were to be done today that, in the morning, you’ll be putting on tomorrow’s to do list. Life is hectic like that.
When I left the boathouse this afternoon after getting about a third of my own list done, I looked back at the lake. It was still very pretty, but it was different. A nice Spring breeze had picked up and the mile-long lake was covered with little waves reverberating off each shore and intermingling with each other in a surface-tension dance that was fascinating. Mesmerizing, even.
But it wasn’t quiet anymore.
Think about reflections. They require a smooth surface, still, like a mirror. This morning there were two Silcox Islands …one vertical, and it’s inverted opposite reflected off the water. A mirror image.
But this afternoon, no stillness, no reflection.
“Reflection” comes from Latin, meaning to “bend back.” Obviously, the lake scene involves bending the light, redirecting what’s hitting the surface of the lake, so the light hits the retinas in my eyes. Mental reflection is the same, turning back your thought to gaze on the past.
On days when your to-do list exceeds the hours in a day, your mind cannot be still, like the afternoon’s lake. Doesn’t take away the value of either the day or the lake, but does take away the awesome, often breathtaking, stop-in-your-tracks beauty of the moment.
I hope you take a few moments in each day, maybe in the morning before activities stir your momentum like the wind on the water, to be still. Stillness is prerequisite to reflection.
Can you think of those times in your life when you were struck by awe? When something just absolutely took your breath away, stirred your heart, stopped you in your tracks. You reflect on what you see, sometimes in a language only your heart understands, like an artist’s brush expresses beauty, but not in words. How much mileage do you get when your heart is stirred like that? I’m betting you go a long ways on it.
I’m often up at 6am for just that reason. Reflection. I sit in the most comfortable chair I’ve ever had, read some uplifting material, even pray. And I journal. In that quiet, windless, hour or so, I am able to reflect. I’ve tried it later in the day. Doesn’t work for me. Too much activity… physical, mental, emotional.
I challenge you to do the same. You’ll need a still, quiet place for reflection. And there may be nothing to check off when you’re done, no progress to be made, no calls, no text, no facebook. But the tradeoff is awe. Reflect on the beauty of life, on the meaningfulness of your calling, on the lives you’re touching, on lives who have touched you. Give thanks for your blessings, for your future, for what’s got you to where you are. Be still. Write it down.
Let me know how that works for you.