Am I blocking my view?

I have a lovely self-deprecating saying when I’m unintentionally blocking someone’s view: I make a better door than a window. That usually gets a chuckle as I scoot out of the way. As this weekend closes, I’ve been contemplating one of my horoscopes. Yes, I read those– they’re fun and I consider them like I do a weather report: sometimes correct, sometimes completely wrong, but all in all a general idea of what the day may hold. So when today’s said something to the extent of “the instability in a situation is you,” it got me thinking. Am I blocking myself in some way?

Let’s face it: no one wants to think that they are the weak link in a situation. I have a long history of ambition and independence, but sometimes that drive to achieve can lead to some instabilities. For all of us achievers and leaders, there is always the self-doubt that visits when we allow ourselves to be still and to reflect. This doesn’t mean simply sitting still, because (if your house is anything like mine) stillness and peace don’t generally happen simultaneously. I may be sitting still on the couch, but I generally have a child/husband/parent snuggled with me talking to me about something in his or her world. Peace is a very different thing, and it’s the one thing that we achievers often overlook. In that time of spiritual stillness we can reflect on situations, find answers to problems, and contemplate areas of self-doubt and anxiety.

This morning, I thought I would find peace in our church service. After all, it is a peaceful place and (theoretically) I should find the calm I need to contemplate and re-center myself. Theoretically, I said. It couldn’t have been further from the reality today. Instead of our lovely organist, we had a jazz band (they were very good, but not conducive to peace) and the children’s Sunday school was cancelled to allow the kids to enjoy the entire service. Great. So instead of a nice 45 minutes of just my husband and me in the stillness of our thoughts and prayers, it was all four of us– chatterboxes included– with music that was slightly too fast and too loud for my taste. Twenty-five years of being a liturgical musician has made me a bit of a snob as far as that genre is concerned. I came away with very little recollection of the message or any calm whatsoever.

Illustration depicting thought.

Instead of trying to make the family work around me,  a coping technique in my past, I decided to get everyone settled into whatever they wanted to do and took myself out for a very long walk. I didn’t listen to the radio and I resisted the impulse to check my blackberry more than once during the trek. Just me and my thoughts as I walked. You know what? I found the answers to some lingering questions and developed some ideas about upcoming projects. I breathed, got the endorphins going, and enjoyed the cool autumn air.

A friend of mine recently commented in his own writing that multi-tasking and overachievement is a way of harboring fear. In other words, if I keep myself super busy and can point to a long list of achievements, then I don’t have to deal with the achy spots and other muddy puddles in my mind and soul. By taking the time to reflect, breathe, and find that peace, I can examine my life a clear mind.  Extending my friend’s thoughts, I think the compulsion to achieve and to stay connected with nearly 24 hour electronic connections to the outside world promotes an overly busy way of life that precludes reflection and growth.

Back to my original thought: Am I blocking my own view? By engaging in the omnipresent tasks that are the everyday life of a wife/mother/doctor/professional, I can become very entangled in the external world to the extent that I lose touch with myself. Is it selfish to remain in touch with myself? No. Taking a few minutes to be still and reconnect allows me to be more of “myself,” giving me more to offer the people in my world. Therefore, taking the time to relax, reflect, and recharge helps me unblock my own view of the path I’m walking through life.

Take some time this week to be still and unblock your own view of your life. The effort is well worth the time!

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