Up obscenely early this morning. The windows wide open, trying to catch the smallest breeze. It’s 70 degrees at 3 in the morning. There is a small breeze, but not even enough to stir the wind chimes into singing. I sit in front of the wide open window in my shorts and a t-shirt wishing it weren’t so. The heat is making my achies ache this morning. The coffee is brewing… iced sounds heavenly this morning but I’m pretty sure it will be iced and black.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the quiet lately and how wonderful it is to have a sanctuary of quiet to escape to sometimes. The world is so full of hurry and rush and sound and people. It is so easy to get caught up in the hurry and scurry, so easy to overlook the small quiet places where we can find some respite to be alone with ourselves.
We have been hiring at work. I used to be able to sit without headsets covering the sounds of the people in the work-a-day world around me for thirty minutes, sometimes an hour. I’ve been losing that time, lately. More and more of the people we have been hiring are early people too, and often like to chat. If I wanted to chat, I would have come in later. Sigh. At least they are drawing me into their conversations, asking relevant work questions, and finding humor where maybe humor shouldn’t exist.
Sometimes I seek out the precious space, at work, of an empty conference room to take just five minutes to be alone. To sit and think and not have to deal with anyone. But that is still “work” and that is still close enough for the guilt of not getting anything done to creep back in. What is missing is a sanctuary.
You can find them. There really are small pockets of places where you can escape from the reality of reality to steal just five minutes (or ten, or even half an hour) of alone time. Look for them. It really helps.
Parks are great if you can find them. That is what they are there for. Sometimes, though, parks aren’t all they are cracked up to be. There are some parks in where you really can’t hang out. They make you feel uncomfortable just driving past them, let alone walking into them. If it makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, it isn’t where you want to find your quiet place.
Is there a “water feature” around a building somewhere in your sphere of life? Lots of office buildings have fountains, waterfalls, or statues that have short walls around them or near them. No one is going to chase you off of the wall, it is flat and short for a reason. Sit down and just take in the sights and sounds and smells of wherever it is. You don’t have to live there (or work there, which feels a lot like living there sometimes) to take advantage of the sanctuary.
A shady bus bench sometimes is a place to steal a few quiet minutes. You can’t probably expect that to be lonely too long… it is a place that is meant to be used and that can attract noise and crowd.
If you are lucky enough to have churches in your area that have green places, they are there for sanctuary, too. Churches’ sanctuaries aren’t always inside their walls, often it is outside with quiet, trees, benches and statues. Steal away and find your solitude.
Mine? If you have read much here, you might know that I have a wonderful place between the parking garage and the office that is the Labyrinth. It is a meditation garden complete with shade trees, trumpet vines overhead, a waterfall, wind chimes, and peace. I have spent five minutes (sometimes even ten minutes) squirreled away in its peace and quiet. Sometimes with my camera, sometimes my phone or my iPad that can steal the scene and put it on my computer so I can make the most of a few stolen minutes at my desk.
Find your own quiet place. Some days it makes all the difference in the world.