This morning my parents and sister left, as my little sister had to be back at university this evening. After they were gone, I had the house all to myself. These are the times I cherish, quiet time alone. My family is seemingly allergic to silence, but I love it. (In fact, I can hardly seem to get enough of it these days.) I knew I’d have all afternoon and into the early evening, and I was pleased as punch at the prospect.
After I quickly popped out to grab lunch from Panda Garden (shrimp and mixed vegetables) and my food, what I was out of, for this week, I came home and stayed, enjoying quiet, alone time. I watched a movie, straightened up my room accompanied by music, and spent most of the rest of my time reading in silence, while I could concentrate on nothing but the books, free of familial interruptions and the usual noise.
This is how it started out:
In this case, the book I started out with was, as you can see, Thich Nhat Hanh’s Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life. It set the mood for how I wanted to spend my afternoon, sipping tea, enjoying the quiet, and reading. Just reading a paragraph in that book seems to evoke stillness for me. My favorite bit from what I read in this particular book comes from a section called “Meditation on Love” on page 84, carrying over to page 85:
One word, one action, or one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring him joy. One word can give comfort and confidence, destroy doubt, help someone avoid a mistake, reconcile a conflict, or open the door to liberation. One action can save a person’s life or help him take advantage of a rare opportunity. One thought can do the same, because thoughts always lead to words and actions. If love is in our heart, every thought, word, and deed can bring about a miracle. Because understanding is the very foundation of love, words and actions that emerge from our love are always helpful.”
It’s something I needed to be reminded of, particularly in navigating the sometimes-choppy waters that come along with the holidays and interactions with family members who tend to be intrusive or combative. (And everyone I know has at least one relative who is intrusive and/or combative.)
In also read from Druid Mysteries: Ancient Wisdom for the 21st Century by Philip Carr-Gomm and Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions by Joyce and River Higginbotham. I’ve been interested in the Neo-Pagan movement for some time, since my teens, but only recently developed the courage to actually bring home books on the subject since the covers are so blatantly obvious about their contents and I reside with my evangelical Christian parents. I still don’t read them out in the open with my parents around, sadly, but I don’t want to start any arguments on something so personal–and personally defining–to not just me, but them as well. This afternoon was the perfect opportunity for delving deeper into these books when I wouldn’t be trying to make sure the cover wasn’t visible in case one or both the parental units passed by.
This, I absolutely agree with (emphasis my own):
The Druid argument, and the argument of all earth religions, is that we can only be fully healthy, fully whole physically and psychologically and indeed spiritually, when we are in communion with all of nature.” — Philip Carr-Gomm, Druid Mysteries: Ancient Wisdom for the 21st Century, p. 70
And, finally, something I needed to hear, given some of the things that have been going on in my life recently–a recent battle with insomnia, trying to plan an out-of-state move when my end date at my job keeps changing, bein generally burned out, etc.–and the dark, rainy weather situation here today which always makes me feel like sleeping (again, emphasis my own):
Life is conceived in the dark, seeds sprout in the dark soil, and half of the year–from the Fall Equinox to the Spring Equinox–is dark and ruled by the dark forces of coldness and death. Each of our own lives have seasons of darkness, such as times of rest and recuperation, aging, grief, dying, moving, changing jobs, and so forth…Roughly half of each day (depending on seasons) is dark and half is light. A Pagan knows that balance is important and that the dark is as important as the light.” — Joyce and River Higginbotham, Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions, pp. 122-123.
I finished up my last bit of quiet time by reading Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer, the third volume of the saga beginning with Twilight, just purely for fun and enjoyment. I do love a love story, and vampires, werewolves, and mythology just do my geeky heart good. Haha.
All in all, a positively glorious day!