More on Stillness

by Jenni

Parody on the 23rd Psalm:

The clock is my dictator, I shall not rest.

It makes me lie down only when exhausted,

It leads me to deep depression,

It hounds my soul.

It leads me in circles of frenzy for activity’s sake.

Even though I run frantically from task to task,

I will never get it done,

For my “ideal” is with me,

Deadlines and my need for approval, they drive me.

They demand performance from me, beyond the limits of my schedule.

They anoint my head with migraines.

My in-basket overflows.

Surely fatigue and time pressure shall follow me all the days of my life,

And I will dwell in the bonds of frustration forever.

How’s that for a bit of ironic humor before the weekend? Cruelly close to the truth we’ve all experienced at times, isn’t it? (Text by Marcia K Hornok; I found it in Mark Powley’s wonderful book, Consumer Detox, Zondervan 2010.)

My post on stillness (No Shame in Stillness: earlier this week seems to have hit a nerve. Judging by the feedback I’ve gotten, many of us are becoming more aware of our vital need to periodically unplug and just be…and we’re finally taking steps to make that a priority. So I wanted to follow up on this issue more with you through the weekend. If you want to think a bit deeper and consider how it’s affecting your (and your children’s) ability to create and flourish, I recommend Scott Belsky’s provacative article as a great follow-up: What Happened to Downtime? The Extinction of Deep Thinking Sacred Space  (read it here: Belsky is the CEO of Behance and author of the national bestselling book Making Ideas Happen.

He writes that, “The potential of our own creativity is rapidly being compromised by the era we live in. I believe that genius in the 21st century will be attributed to people who are able to unplug from the constant state of reactionary workflow, reduce their amount of insecurity work, and allow their minds to solve the great challenges of our era.” Definitely check out his article when you have a chance!

Also, I wanted to share a few inspirational quotes and verses on stillness that have served as guideposts to me along this journey. These are a powerful antidote to “The clock is my dictator” mindset above. You might even want to meditate on one of them during your next creative pause. (Located below the scratch ‘n sniff flower image. 😉 )

Let's stop & smell the roses

“Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” (Hermann Hesse)

“Sabbath requires composure. It requires the strength of will to interrupt the momentum of work. Enough. Now I rest. Creating and resting is essential.” (Mark Bowley, Consumer Detox)

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.'” (Isaiah 30:15)

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” (Psalm 23:1-3a)

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” (Albert Einstein)

“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.'” (Matthew 11:28)