Eyes Wide Shut

January 9, 2009 | prayer, spirituality


So I’ve been up since about 3 a.m. It feels like it’s dinner time and it’s just a few minutes after 9 a.m. now. Since I couldn’t sleep last night, I was showered and dressed and downstairs before 5:30 a.m. I wandered around the kitchen for a few minutes before it finally dawned on me. I had no excuses. This was my opportunity to sit in silence and just listen. The house was completely quiet, the sky was still dark, and I had about 90 minutes stretching out in front of me before the kids had to be up for school.

So I made a pot of coffee (Mystic Monk — how appropriate — thanks to the generosity of A.L. from our comment section, who sent me Christmas Blend a few weeks ago) and I lit the Peace Pot candle I bought when I was on retreat in the Adirondack Mountains in September. The little hand-thrown pot with the hand-dipped bees wax candle (see photo above), which I purchased directly from the potter, for me symbolizes the silence and serenity and solitude and simplicity that I experienced on my contemplative retreat. Just lighting it makes my shoulders relax. And then, after those things were done and I had poured a cup of coffee, I sat. And, as is the case when you don’t allow yourself to sit in silence very often, I watched the acrobatics of monkey mind ensue. My particular monkey is my inability to stop writing, even in my head, whenever I try to be quiet. So I did what I was taught on retreat and brought myself back to a centered place, thinking the name “Jesus” in my head if not on my lips, and I allowed the thoughts to float on by without getting aggravated or caught up in them. And I sat and I listened and I waited.

I have to admit that despite the fact that I feel really tired right now, I loved, loved, LOVED my hour of silence. Mind you I did not just sit and wait for the Spirit for the whole hour, but I probably made it a good 20 or 30 minutes, which is a lot for me. I spent the rest of the time reading my favorite St. Francis book and just reflecting. It was one of the best mornings I’ve had in a long time and it made me wonder why I can’t drag myself out of bed for this kind of thing more often. I felt a sense of peace come over me and a realization that somehow things are going to be OK with a particularly difficult business situation that has been weighing on my heart and soul like a giant stone. I found myself saying to God, “OK, let’s try it your way.” I can’t promise the peace will last or that I won’t revert to the state of fear and and anger and frustration I’ve been living in for weeks, but it’s a start.

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