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Craving Silence

After a difficult time, it’s easy to recognize a need for peace and quiet. Extra rest, self-care, meditation and other healing practices feel both right and necessary. What is less obvious is a need for quiet after a period of joy and celebration.

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, and I hope you did, too. I spent days with my family, soaking up every minute of time together, enjoying (too much) delicious food and wine. It was both relaxing and fun, and I didn’t want it to end. But now that I’m back at home, I’m finding that I need to balance those days of activity with some moments of peace and even silence. And it took me a moment to recognize the signs. After all, I’d had a lovely holiday—what did I need to recover from? Wasn’t it time to get back to work, back to normal life, refreshed and renewed?

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Wind

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When I first created this website, I was inspired by the idea of finding peace on a windy day.  At the time, that meant that even when storms rage, you can find a place of calm and sanctuary within yourself, and use that to return to balance and joy.  Although that is all still true, lately I find that wind means so much more.

Wind is change.  It is transformation, inspiration, movement, magic.  It is what allows us to be lifted into the air, to soar the heights, to hear music and our loved ones’ laughter.  It is power.  It allows us to sweep away the past, and make room for the future.

And so “finding peace on a windy day” has taken on a different meaning for me.  The peace found on a windy day does not deny or ignore the wind, but rather it embraces it.  It uses the wind and all the powers of creativity and change that it represents.  This is the power of artists–to harness the wind, to use it to create something new, something beautiful, something full of joy.

So when the winds are raging in your own life, you do not need to fear them. Instead, let them inspire you to create something worthy of the artist within. See what you can do with that wind to create your own kind of magic, whether you call yourself an artist, a writer, a parent, a lover, a knitter, a sculpture, a dream-weaver.

We are all artists.  We all have windy days.  The greatest art is in allowing that wind to bring us new beginnings, and the possibility of creating greater peace and joy than we had previously imagined.

Try This: Keep a Journal

IMG_0109Over the next few weeks, I will be introducing a series of posts called “Try This,” a collection of ideas for you to try when you’re seeking greater joy and peace in your life.  These are things that have often worked for me, and which might be of benefit to you.

I’ll begin with a practice that I began at the age of 14, and have used fairly consistently ever since:  keeping a journal.  I have used my journals for many things:  to rant about problems, to play with solutions, to capture memories, to record my journey.  There is no wrong way to keep a journal but, if you are new to the practice, here are a few ideas:

Begin where you are.  Describe where you are sitting, how you are you feeling, what’s on your mind.

If you’re upset, angry or wrestling with a problem, try this:  give yourself some time and space to really get it out.  Express your feelings, without censoring. After you’ve done that for a few minutes, switch gears.  Find something good about the person or situation, or some lesson that you’re learning.  If that doesn’t work, switch gears entirely–try writing about something else that brings you joy, such as your adorable 2-year old niece, the party you’re looking forward to, or just the way the snow looks on the mountains.

Use your journal to express gratitude.  Simply writing down a list of things that make you happy can make you feel better.

If you’re concerned about privacy, there are apps that require passwords (I like iJournal), or you can enable password protection on many word processing programs.  Or find a great hiding place!

As with any practice, experiment with different ways of doing it, and find a way that works for you.  That could be writing every morning as you sip your coffee, or once a week as a Sunday night ritual.  You may prefer a spiral notebook, a computer or a beautiful leather book (I like fairly large pages that open flat, but over the years, there’s nothing I haven’t tried).

Have you ever kept a journal?  What works for you?  If you have ideas, suggestions or questions of your own, I’d love to hear them!