As a mother, you have many concerns on your heart. You have much on your To Do List. You have much to think about. You are busy with many activities.
“It is good to learn new things but you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up inside you until it touches everything. And you can feel it inside you. If you never take time to do that, if you just accumulate facts, they begin to rattle around inside of you. You can make noise with them, but never really feel anything with them. It’s hollow.” Mrs. Frankweiler from The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil Frankweiler.
Here’s the real truth of it: if you are out of sync and out of touch with that inner core of YOU, then you will not be able to touch others. It is only when we take the time to let what is already within us to swell up, touching everything, do we find who we really are and who we want to be.
That, for me, takes solitude.
I love my quiet. The quiet allows me to breath and think and restructure and land, softly, ever so softly, in the center of me.
You may protest. After all, you have a family. Your children are little. Your house is a wreck. How can you find the quiet?
You make it a priority.
As the heart of the home, you take that time for you, knowing that it is for the good of the family.
About ten years ago I read Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I was in the midst of daily chaos but Anne’s strength and dignity spoke to me.
Last year one of my best friends gifted me with Anne’s book. Reading it again was like being invited to my own life.
“Certain springs are tapped only when one is alone…women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves; that firm strand which will be the indispensable center of a whole web of human relationships. She must find that inner stillness, which Charles Morgan describes as ‘the stilling of the soul within the activities of the mind and body so that it might be still as the axis of a revolving wheel is still.’”
Anne encourages me to be that “still axis within the revolving wheel of relationships, obligations and activities.”
Interestingly, she also declares that the quiet isn’t enough; we have to learn how to feed our souls.
Why? Because as women, we are natural givers.
“Is this then what happens to woman? She wants perpetually to spill herself away. All her instinct as a woman-the eternal nourisher of children, of men, of society-demands that she give. Her time, her energy, her creativeness drain out into these channels if there is any chance. Traditionally we are taught, and instinctively we long, to give where it is needed – and immediately. Eternally, woman spills herself away in driblets to the thirsty, seldom being allowed the time, the quiet, the peace, to let the pitcher fill up to the brim.”
And when we do have free time we don’t know what to do with it. We drain our creative springs rather than fill them.
“With our pitchers, we attempt sometimes to water a field, not a garden.”
That line pierces me. Why do I attempt to do so much?
Since we don’t know how to feed our spirit, we then do this thing. We distract our own needs by giving more. We throw ourselves into many causes and committees.
We, the women of today, are being torn to pieces in a storm of our own making.
Anne encourages me to step back and look at that life.
She encourages me to do what I need to do to fill my spirit. She tells me to find the quiet and to attend to my soul.
It doesn’t matter, Anne tells me, what I do, what matters is that I make this “centering down” a daily priority.