The Gift of Silence

The fruit of silence is prayer, The fruit of prayer is faith, The fruit of faith is love, The fruit of love is service, The fruit of service is peace. Saint Mother Theresa, nun and missionary

Is there more silence in your life than usual? There sure is in mine! I used to be one of those people who left the house everyday attending meetings, gathering with friends, being a part of various groups. My life was anything but silent. But now, with silence permeating my life, I have a better chance to hear the birds sing in the morning and the frogs at night, the ticking of the clock, and “the still small voice” within. 

As Mother Teresa suggests, faith, love, service and, finally, peace all begin with silence. Let’s embrace this time of expanded silence and perhaps we too will hear “the still small voice” of God more clearly. 

Affirmation: I embrace the silence.

Coaching questions: How are you coping with fewer activities and more silence? Is the idea of “the still small voice” within meaningful to you (see 1 Kings 19:12 for more information)? What can you do to embrace the silence? 

Photo by Boris Smokrovic on Unsplash

Re-writing Your Life

Never, never, never, never give up. Winston Churchill, British statesman

I’m doing a serious re-write of my book after it returned from three weeks in the hands of my capable editor. As I rethink the genre, the premise or through-line, the structure, I’m reminded of how this work is an analogy for re-writing one’s life after a significant loss. When your mother, husband, child or other significant person in your life dies, parts of your life need to be re-written. Perhaps you’re no longer defined as a care-giver or a partner and you’re wondering who you are and what you’re going to do without your former roles. 

Take a moment and reconnect with what you like and don’t like, how you see yourself in the future, and what contributions you want to make. Re-writing is not for the faint of heart. It takes perseverance, creativity, a determination to succeed and, in my case, prayer. Never, never give up.

Affirmation: I can re-write my life.

Coaching question/request: If you’re recovering from a recent loss, what steps are you taking to re-write your life? Take a moment to journal your thoughts on what’s next. Write about specific ways you can move forward—even if it is just for today or this week. 


Values vs Differences

Our shared values define us more than our differences. And acknowledging those shared values can see us through our challenges today if we have the wisdom to trust in them again. John McCain, American statesman and military officer who served as a United States Senator until his death.

One of our greatest challenges in the U.S. today is learning to get along in our divided political landscape. For me, shared values and true friendship trumps (sorry for the pun) political differences. Yesterday, one of my best friends called to acknowledge how I’m using prayer for our president as a way to bring about change and inner peace for myself. She knows I’m taking action in other ways as well and supports my need for involvement. 

This is what friendship is all about! Overcoming our political divide has actually brought us closer as we have had to talk about the hard questions and define our common values. To her credit, it is my friend who has called me, not the other way around. Although our politics can occasionally be the “elephant or donkey in the room,” our friendship has survived and even thrived in spite of it. 

Affirmation: Shared values define my friendships.

Coaching questions: Do you have relationships that need repair in this environment? Are they worth it? If so, what will you do to heal in spite of your differences?

Mother Goose Knows Best

For every ailment under the sun, There is a remedy, or there is non.

If there be one, try to find it, If there be non, Never mind it.

Mother Goose, 1695 

The Serenity Prayer was taken from Mother Goose—who knew? Thanks to the friend who sent this rendition to me. With a second close friend having open heart surgery tomorrow and the recent deaths of two others, I’ve offered this prayer/rhyme frequently. I pray that the surgeon will do his/her best and for the patient’s speedy recovery, of course, but then I let it go.

I often blog about worry and the effects of worry because I’ve noticed that it’s a common malady. I have the opportunity to practice what I preach during the next 10 days as we embark on a cruise at the height of the hurricane season with a house on an island in the Gulf. We are living on the edge a bit but decisions have been made, the weather is going to do what’s it’s going to do, and I’m going to have FUN.

Affirmation: I know worrying is futile.

Coaching questions: What helps you curb your worrying? 

P.S. I will blog during my travels. I’m hoping the Internet is stable.

Rehearsing High-Pressure Moments

There are people who seem unflappable in chaotic and high-pressure moments: the unrealistic deadline, the hairpin coastal drive, the medical emergency. And then there are the rest of us. From an article by Elizabeth Millard in Experience Life magazine.

One of our dear friends, the pastor who married us, is having open heart surgery today. This is an intense scenario that could cause the calmest among us to freak out and motivated me to consider how we can best handle pressure situations.

According to positive-psychology researcher Michelle Gielan, author of Broadcasting Happiness: The Science of Igniting and Sustaining Positive Change, “Having certain strategies prepared in advance, when you’re not in a pressure situation, can be very helpful when those moments arrive.” In other words, she is suggesting we imagine easily merging into traffic, talking calmly with the boss, or learn all we can about a medical procedure to help calm our fears. I’m sure my friend found solace this morning in quiet prayer as well.

Affirmation: I can prepare for high-pressure moments.

Coaching questions: What causes you the greatest anxiety? What will you do to become more prepared?