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Quiet: Have We Forgotten to Be Still in a World That Never Stops?

quiet, busy, productivity, business culture, Kristen Lamb, benefits of rest, rest and creativity, burnout, stress
Can I just get off? Please?

Quiet. It’s a rather strange experience if one has grown too accustomed to the go-go-go pace of the modern world.

Recently—well, not too recently—my grandfather died. I was raised by my grandparents, so when a week and a half before Christmas he suddenly passed away? It was a blow.

Sure, he was 93. But, he was feisty like me and was far from the typical elderly person. He’d golfed (and played the entire course) until he was 90 and even a bit past that. He played cards and continued to battle crabgrass in triple-digit Texas summer heat armed with only a hand-sharpened garden hoe.

I kid you not, I went to visit one day and my sweat-soaked grandfather was digging up holly shrubs in 102 degree heat. He was almost 90 at the time. I suppose part of me expected he’d live forever. I’d at least expected to have him until 100.

Anyway, I caught a cold this past October, which, because I refused to slow down ‘enough’—which ‘slow down enough’ might as well be a friggin’ Leprechaun for me since I’ve yet to spot it—the cold turned into bronchitis in November.

This already had me down.

The stress of my grandfather’s death? Fair to say it was a large part of what tipped my bronchitis into pneumonia. Since December it’s been touch and go. It’s been so bad that I even gave into taking two rounds of antibiotics (I’ve not taken an antibiotic since 2004).

I’d feel better for a day and think all was well only to not be able to get out of bed the next day. Wash, rinse, repeat.

I’d caught pneumonia once before, back in 2003 and remembered how long it took to recover.

But this was different. Something was wrong.

Sometimes, I Hate Being Right

quiet, busy, productivity, business culture, Kristen Lamb, benefits of rest, rest and creativity, burnout, stress

Last Thursday, I couldn’t take the nonstop cough anymore. Was no longer chalking it up to Texas pollen irritating my already raw lungs.

#Denial

As I mentioned, I’d taken the two rounds of antibiotics, every vitamin, probiotic, decongestant, etc. and yet I coughed all the time.

All…the…time.

I wasn’t sleeping. No one was sleeping. I was exhausted and couldn’t think. My cough went on and on…and on.

For the record, my mom was a nurse. Virtually every female in my family is/was a nurse. In my opinion, children of medical professionals are the second worst sort of patient.

As a kid, my favorite scene was the Black Knight in Monty Python’s The Holy Grail, the scene where his arm’s been cut off. Though the stump is spurting blood, he boldly declares—‘I’ve had worse!’ And continues the fight.

And…there’s a nurse’s kid for you.

Finally, last week, I gave in. Oddly, I was shocked with the results. Despite the persistent cough, I was certain the fatigue was me just being overwhelmed.

It was in my head. I just was avoiding getting back to work. Surely, I was just suffering allergies and making mountains out of molehills.

Yeah. No.

I had a 100 degree fever, Type B flu, bronchitis…and residual pneumonia. Apparently, the antibiotics hadn’t been strong enough to kill off the bug entirely. Then, as a bonus gift, the bronchial pneumonia weakened me enough to let in the Type B Flu.

Not even Type A. I earned a B in FLU. WTH?

Suffice to say, they prescribed me Godzillacillin and a crap ton of other drugs. #YayMe.

Quiet is Making Me BONKERS

I’ve been trying to make peace with quiet. Resting? NOT my strong suit. I’ve turned off all the dings, bings, and chirps. Usually, I’d fill my head with audiobooks and podcasts so I’d be doing something productive. But I’ve even made myself turn those off, too.

I have a bit of a Pollyanna streak in me in that makes me strive to see the lesson even in every darkness, every setback. Then I feel compelled to share here.

Hey, I’m a blogger. Oversharing is my thing.

First, in the quiet, I’ve learned that it took a lot to get the chatter to shut down. I’ve also learned that I haven’t the foggiest idea how to grieve. Being trapped in quiet, unable to busy myself working, writing, teaching, cleaning has made me acutely aware of this hard truth.

Even Spawn (my ten-year-old son) asked why I never cried about Grandfather. Not even at the funeral. He fell apart, but me? Mom was stone. What was with that?

Hard to confess to your kid that you don’t know how to cry. Harder still to explain something you, yourself don’t even understand. I told him I grew up in another time, in a different world.

I told him that he was a million times stronger than me because he was brave enough to grieve. Not to let my stoney demeanor fool him. Mine wasn’t the face of a warrior, it was the face of a total chicken.

The bravest faces are wet with tears.

My greatest desire is he grows up to be better than me.

I didn’t mention how, in a broken family, you learn early to be like lichen, to never want or need or hurt or draw too much attention.

Compartmentalization becomes natural, and so does being busy. You start avoiding quiet, surround yourself with noise because it becomes a sort of barrier from everything you’re ill-equipped to face.

Incessant noise and activity drowns out everything inside that’s yelling what you aren’t, what you forgot, who you let down, what you might have done better.

If only, if only, if only….

But that is only ONE side. Sure, quiet has a downside, but in my forced timeout, I’ve thought about all I’m missing out on because I’m drowning it out. Does the benefit merit the cost?

Even Nature Appreciates Quiet Time

Right now we’re at the tail end of ‘winter’ here. Winter, like all seasons, serves a crucial purpose.

Trees go dormant for a lot of reasons, but the best one is TO STAY ALIVE. Metabolism slows and the tree goes into a sort of hibernation to survive the cold months and low sunlight levels.

But trees also go dormant because it’s impossible to be fruitful 365 days a year. There has to be some time to REST.

Plants are smarter than some of us *points at self.*

No Quiet Time = Brain Drain

quiet, busy, productivity, business culture, Kristen Lamb, benefits of rest, rest and creativity, burnout, stress

Ferris Jabr wrote an excellent article in Scientific American, Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime that I recommend reading in its entirety. Our modern Western culture’s puritanical devotion to chronic busyness, in my POV, is nothing short of psychotic.

Though study after study empirically demonstrates that humans are not created to be ‘perpetual doing machines,’ the data does little to deter our world’s increasing determination to pile more on our plate.

Multi-tasking, email overload, meetings, meetings to discuss meetings, deadlines, through-lines, pipelines, downlines.

Our workplace has begun reflecting our world…borderless. The 9-5 workday is relic of our not-so-distant-past.

In 1989, we got mail…in a mailbox or in a ‘finite’ In-Box (which was a LITERAL BOX). We could leave work at work, read our mail and see our in-boxes actually EMPTY.

When we got home, if we wanted? We could ‘take the phone off the hook.’ The younger folks might have to look that up. We had evenings of QUIET. Restorative time.

Now? We wake daily to digital avalanches. Data poured over us from reservoirs with limitless capacity, all dumped into a human brain that can only hold so much. Our In-Boxes never empty…ever.

I gave up on my Yahoo e-mail and finally just let it go feral a few years ago. It’s easily at over 100,000 messages by now. Every SUPER IMPORTANT message promises to only take a couple minutes.

Now multiply a couple minutes by twenty or fifty. We maybe make it through our URGENT messages just in time for…another meeting. We eat breakfast and lunch over our keyboards or in our cars while listening to voicemails and memos.

By the end of the ‘work day,’ we aren’t even close to ‘finished,’ but frankly we wouldn’t recognize finished if it peed on our leg.

Quiet is the ‘Nessie’ of Modern Life

quiet, busy, productivity, business culture, Kristen Lamb, benefits of rest, rest and creativity, burnout, stress

And ‘finished’ is Sasquatch riding a unicorn.

Since we aren’t ‘finished’ we take work home. Work bulges over its boundaries into our marriages and family lives where we check our phones instead of paying attention to what our significant other is saying or our children are asking. We do all of this because we are ‘working hard,’ but are we?

No. I can tell you for a fact, since I am a Corporate America refugee.

This same ideology has oozed into the schools. Every moment crammed with no time for reflection or play.

Then, children emulate what they see from their parents. We’re plugged in nonstop, seemingly unable to be still or quiet. How are they going to fare?

No Rest for the Weary

quiet, busy, productivity, business culture, Kristen Lamb, benefits of rest, rest and creativity, burnout, stress

Invariably, all this noise, this chaos, this busyness has a cost. One cost is that stress, like alcohol, impairs our prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain we use for making sound decisions.

There’s a reason we have designated drivers if we’re going to imbibe while out on the town. The reason is because after one or two drinks we might not ‘feel’ impaired, thus because we don’t FEEL impaired, we make bad decisions.

When we fail to be still, to embrace the quiet, we begin running on adrenalin and…

Welcome to the Land of Bad Decisions

We’re constantly checking email, Messenger, messages left on 42 social sites and this behavior—like drugs or booze—impairs our ability to discern we’re tired…or that we’re teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

We also make a lot of bad decisions. Or, in my case, fail to make good decisions.

We miss red flags, like taking a break and going to the doctor before a simple cold becomes pneumonia.

Fundamentally, the speed of our lives isn’t allowing enough interstitial time—code for REST BREAKS—for us to process all the influx. Downtime, particularly quiet time, is critical for us to make sense of all the information we’ve ‘taken in.’

We sort through ideas, tie loose connections, note patterns, and ‘hot wash’ our decisions.

The Benefits of R&R

What? Looks fun to me.

When we get quiet and take time to rest intentionally our brain shifts into another mode that sifts through conversations, seeks ways we could improve, where we messed up, what we could do better.

In ways it reminds me of my childhood when my mom helped me clean my room (since FEMA was unavailable).

She’d dump out all my dresser drawers and we would sort through clothes that no longer fit, needed repair or were plain worn out. Then, the good stuff, we folded and organized and it made room for NEW STUFF.

Same with the toys.

We’d sift through what was broken to trash, or what didn’t interest me for donation.

I’d always find Barbies and Barbie clothes (and a crap ton of Barbie shoes) all buried places where I couldn’t enjoy them.

Mom and I would return pieces of games back into their correct boxes so, instead of the games simply taking up space, I could actually play them with my friends.

Our brains do the same thing. Rest allows the mind to sort, sift, repair, reconnect, and get JIGGY creating and thinking and innovating!

Brain Management

YES! I have a dark sense of humor….

I’m sure you’ve heard of pain management, but REST is brain management. A lot of y’all might be like me and believe if you’re not doing something every minute of every waking hour you’re—GASP—lazy! *screams* Yet, again neuroscience to the rescue.

Our brains frankly never turn off.

All the writers TESTIFY!

In fact, when we rest, nap, sleep, or even take power naps or do mini-meditations, our brains shift over to what’s referred to as the default mode network.

According to Jabr’s article (above):

‘…the default mode network is especially active in creative people. It’s believed that the default mode network may be able to integrate more information from a wide range of brain regions in more complex ways than when the brain is consciously working through a problem.’

This is why I tell consulting clients with a plot problem to give me a night. I do my best problem-solving when I sleep 😉 .

We might panic that we’re taking an hour for a nap, but we’ll oddly end up saving time because our brains work more efficiently and effectively.

Instead of circling the drain with fruitless attempts with the same dumb approach, even a small slice of quiet time can reboot the brain cells and actually return the time we invest with more to spare.

We’re more focused and, since we spend less time hunting for the reading glasses perched on our heads or the cell phone we put back in the fridge with the half-eaten yogurt…we can actually be more fruitful.

Oh, and healthier. Rested people have stronger immune systems.

I’m a QUIET Work in Progress

I finished my antibiotic a day and a half ago, and the cough is gone…mostly. Though loathe to admit it, I might have to go BACK to the doctor *silent screams*. I’m giving it until Monday to rule out seasonal allergies.

Problem is, I want to be INSTANTLY better, back at the gym that I MISS, in my garden prepping for spring.

The guilt of ‘doing nothing’ is overwhelming, I won’t lie. Though I am not ‘doing nothing’ it sure feels that way since I’m used to running at Mach 5.

Being sick has made me better at delegating. Hubby is a rockstar at scrubbing tile floors.

And, ONE DAY, I am going to figure out my limitations. To learn to say ‘no’ instead of piling on just one more thing.

What can it hurt?

A lot.

The Sound of Silence

Being quiet is helping with that…I think. I’m far from perfect and definitely a work in progress. I am SO glad we are in the 20s. The teens SUUUUCKED.

For those who don’t know, I very literally lost almost all my family in the span of six years. I’ve lost count of the funerals, and wonder if the funeral home could offer us some sort or bulk discount or at least premium parking.

***Yes, this is how my mind works. I apologize.

In 2014 we couldn’t fit everyone in one picture. Now, I can count who remains on one hand. My grandfather was the last to go December 14, 2019.

Now that my role as caregiver….

Wow.

I’m no longer a caregiver. Maybe it’s why I’m no longer as afraid of the quiet.

I no longer dread every time the phone rings, certain it will be an emergency. Someone in a hospital, dying or even dead. I actually put my phone on airplane mode to rest without panicking.

How long has this subroutine of terror been running in the background and I couldn’t face it or deal with it because I refused to be quiet enough to hear it?

*shudders*

Anyway, that morning of December 14th, I knew it was the call I’d been bracing for. I’d been waiting on it for years. One worries even about spritely old people.

The other shoe finally dropped.

Now? I can unclench my teeth. Perhaps even stop holding my breath. Maybe that’s what this pneumonia is also about. Permission to breathe again. Don’t know. Maybe that’s my author brain making something more than it really is. Dunno.

I’ll go ponder that in my quiet time.

I LOVE Hearing from You!

Do you struggle with being alone? Being in the quiet? Why? Is this maybe something that caregivers go through? It seems I’ve been in that role so long I haven’t stopped to really think about it. Don’t really ever share because I don’t want to be a burden.

*rolling eyes*

Oh, I sound so ridiculous even to me when I write this down. But do you feel guilty taking a nap? Taking a break? I struggle with sitting still. Even taught myself to crochet so I’d be ‘doing something productive’ while I sat.

Do you struggle admitting you’re sick? Giving yourself the time to get OVER being sick? Giving yourself time to grieve? Time to have FUN?

Surely I’m not the only one. With the digital age, life feels like the old 80s video games. It just gets faster and faster and harder and harder until you die. Yes, I KNOW. Not exactly a positive outlook but have to be honest if I want to change my attitude.

I AM improving with learning to have fun, so there IS that. See, this is why we write. Cheaper than therapy 😉 .

Anyway, what are your thoughts?

And here are some On Demand specials up while I mend…

On Demand Branding: When YOUR NAME ALONE Can Sell

Normally $55, and now $35. This class will be deleted to make room for a newer version. Most of the content will remain the same since what I teach is evergreen, so it is definitely a bargain.

ON DEMAND: Bring on the Binge: How to Plot and Write a Series

Normally $75 and now only $50 and this is over four hours of instruction on everything you need to know about plot. So if you want to know about the synopsis? You will BLOW it out of the water after this.

Also…

ON DEMAND: The Art of Character for Series

Normally $75 and also only $50 and this class pairs excellent with the plotting class (like a fine chardonnay and a Chilean sea bass). Treat yourself!

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  1. so much happened to you these past years! I can see why you were afraid to take a breath. I know the feeling. I didn’t take time out, my son was in a rollover accident (midnight call), my mom passed away, my husband left me, my brother and sister in law, and then my cousin, died, I lost my business, went broke … within 10 years, and three deaths within 2 months of each other. I was angry and very, very sad. Not taking time affected my spiritual, emotional, and physical life. Now I take time out to meditate (I call it prayer) daily and if that routine is interrupted, well, heads will roll… jus sayin. But God bless you and comfort you and heal you throughout all you’ve been through.

  2. Yes, yes, yes. Been there, done that, and have a Fred Flinstone closet crammed full of the tee-shirts to prove it. Taking care of everyone, meant I deferred taking care of someone less important, and less deserving – me. It took a crisis to realize the damage and the cost. I swore it would never happen again, but peer pressure is real, old habits are hard to break, and slippery slopes catch us unawares.

    Give yourself a gift and allow yourself time to heal, mentally, emotionally, and physically. I schedule a “Me-Day” every month. It is a check-in date where I look for the warning signs and take steps to fight the denial, the impulses to over schedule, overwork, over-commit, and I grant myself permission to revel in downtime. Take care of yourself, my friend.

    1. JoHawk – same closet.

  3. I could have written this post. Since before Christmas I have been fighting health problems. For over a month I have had a respiratory illness that just won’t go away. A round of antibiotics and a round of prednizone and I still have trouble with breathing and am tired most of the time. I have an overpowering need to go to bed in the afternoon and sleep like the dead. Like you, I lost most of my family in a short span of time. There were seven of us. Now there are three of us siblings and my husband died in 2009 the same year as my youngest brother. Monday would be my husband’s birthday. I have invited five of my friends to meet me for lunch to celebrate this birthday. I didn’t want to sit at home and feel sad, so I have written a poem and will share him with my friends who have also lost husbands or close family. I am known for how much I do, always doing and helping out, but I have to take more time for me now. It is so hard, isn’t it, to do nothing. But my word this year is acceptance — I will accept that I must stop and rest, that I can’t do all I once did and I will be happier when I feel better.
    I hope you are feeling much better very soon. Rest is so important when our body is in need. Don’t worry about what others think we should do or what we are not doing. Nothing is as important as taking care of our health. I enjoy your blog posts so much and relate to your writing in so many ways. Thanks.

    1. Glenda – how heartbreaking! I get it truly I do. Doesn’t change the fact though.

    • Dominique Blessing on February 28, 2020 at 8:40 pm
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    I completely relate to this post. This afternoon I wasted a whole HOUR, and I was mortified that I didn’t do something productive. My husband gets frustrated with me when I guilt obsess. And if I do something fun instead of housework? Total tailspin because my ‘schedule’ is thrown. *sigh* Some of us are so thick-headed it takes trauma to reset us. This winter my teenage son struggled with mental health issues, and after much angst, self-doubt and an abnormal spike in blood pressure, I had to reassess my ‘busyness’. I’m pleased to say he’s doing well, but as for me– I still struggle with relaxation ?

  4. Wow — hard times for sure. For all the good it does, you have my sympathy, Kristen. My personal anni horribili were 2002 (both my parents dies) and 2016 (pneumonia went into sepsis). Looking on the bright side, I got some truly great and gruesome descriptions of pain out of that illness. But this too shall pass for you, or so they assure me. Till then, hang in there.

  5. Grief is a complicated beast. It affects everyone differently, and how one responds isn’t always dictated by their notions of being strong for others. Those of us who are caregivers, usually have the idea we can never get sick and always have to be the calm, practical person in control of everything around us. Woe to that individual who suddenly loses their most important pillar unexpectedly. I lost my sixty-eight-year old mother to suicide almost six years ago. Part of my survivor’s guilt came from the fact I lived more than 1,000 miles away. What hurt the most? My dad had been warned by several people she wasn’t doing well. After my alarm bells went off during the last conversation I had with her, he blew off my concerns when I called the next morning to check on her.

    When you combine grief with deep anger, it simply isn’t possible to contain your emotions. Knowing when it’s OK to turn them off again becomes the issue instead. At some point you have to realize if you don’t let them go, you’re headed down your own path to self-destruction. Even now, it’s very rare for me to talk about my mom, not because I’m ashamed of her, but because it still hurts too much. I’ve also always been very protective of my privacy, and still feel no burning desire to become some kind of poster child or spokesperson for mental health. Like or not, I’m probably doing it anyway, especially through some of my blog posts. (One of my early followers is a psychotherapist in London. And that was before I wrote the post, This is My Brand, about setting an old kayak on fire in the back yard in Nov. 2019. I believe there is at least one other mental health professional as well.)

    Being a creative person who has a deep sense of responsibility, kind of sets us up to be the type who burn the candle at both ends. Creativity is bred in my DNA, and I’m so used to a host of ideas brewing in my brain, I don’t usually allow outside distractions to interfere very much. I guess I’m kind of like Barf, half-man, half-dog. I’m my own best friend. But pursuing creative activities was seen as playtime when I grew up, and work always had to be completed before one could play. Now that I’m actively pursuing a creative career again, this time without the benefit of a bi-weekly paycheck, its hard not feel guilt about all the stuff which needs to be done around our house. Or neglecting my hubby’s emotional needs.

    When it comes to moments of quiet, my body quit giving me a choice when I was in my early 30s. I believe it’s underactive thyroid, which does run on the paternal side. But every time I try to get it diagnosed, I’m told my lab results are close to normal. Close is OK? Tell that to my aching joints, unexplained weight gain, and overwhelming fatigue; which usually tends to hit me in the middle of the day when I’m at my busiest. At that point, I usually don’t have a choice except to take a nap. Even my brain shuts down, and can be sluggish restarting. After nearly twenty-years, I figured it may as well be considered a blessing in disguise.

    Right after my mom died, one Bible verse in particular, kept speaking to me. “Be still, and know that I am God…” I think it saved my life.

    • Gena on February 28, 2020 at 9:43 pm
    • Reply

    My condolences. Get well wishes.

  6. I do my best work while I’m asleep (my first and second novels grew from dream-kernels), so I don’t feel guilty about getting plenty of sleep. But I do feel guilty about not making perfect use of my waking hours to get All The Things done.

    Is it something about jiu-jitsu that makes you reluctant to stop fighting till pneumonia actually pins you to the ground? Maybe take a hint next time. Consider it your duty as a Christian to put your feet up and relax 😀 (Rest: it’s not just a suggestion, it’s a command.)

    Here’s to a much better decade chez Lamb than the last!

    1. I left Jiu Jitsu a couple years ago after a badly dislocated knee 🙁 . I miss it. Actually was healthier then because there was an outlet for my aggression and emotion.

  7. Kristin, I love knowing that a busy brain is a real thing and not a personal issue. Nine months ago I concussed my brain. Nothing serious, but I was fascinated and DELIGHTED with my thinker for only thinking about one thing at a time. I remember taking a moment to consider how that thought might generalize or provide fodder for later rumination, “I wonder if this is how normal people think?” How restful. Just, “Wow.” I told my husband. He laughed. He already knew I wasn’t normal.

    Thank you for sharing. Your voice is refreshing, even at seven minutes to midnight.
    Blessings,

    • Karen on February 29, 2020 at 8:05 am
    • Reply

    Excellent blog-

  8. There are a lot of key points here. I can tell how the busyness world is impacting me while I have Netflix on in the background, while reading the paper, and checking my emails on a Saturday morning. Multi-tasking is a word I learned in corporate America and it has absolutely rewired my brain so that sitting still and focusing on a 2-hour movie seems more like a punishment than a pleasure. Has anyone else gone to a movie theater and gotten upset because there was no Wi-Fi or service at the location? Ugh.

    Well, I’m glad you/Kristen are taking care of yourself–finally. We absolutely do need to take more downtime to rest and replenish our various energies. Get fully well soon…and I’m sorry to hear about your grandfather.

  9. Feel better soon, Kristen. A brave and wonderful post. You speak the truth about rest and quiet. So important, but all too rare for most of us these days. Hugs.

  10. I honestly think we have. Especially those of us wired to not relax naturally.

    There is always something MORE you can be doing. And now we have all of the tools available to us to be doing more 24/7, whatever that more may be for you.

    In my youth, the TV went off at a certain time and all it had on was static. Now there’s always something to stream. People search for their next binge-watch.

    Of course there are consequences. Physical. Emotional. Societal.

    I have no answers. Our brains are wired for stimulation. They crave it. Will search it out. And our culture rewards it. You work 80 hours a week? You’e a go-getter! I actually heard two people have a rather competitive discussion about meditation in line the other day.

    Maybe that’s why I like to retreat in books with guaranteed HEAs.

  11. So sorry for your loss, Kristen. You have definitely been through the ringer this year. Sending peaceful and calming vibes your way. I’m glad you’re on the mend.

  12. My quiet time happens when I’m in nature with my camera or in bed, reading a book. I make sure to schedule lots of both activities, because I am healthier and happier when I am off social media and centered in the moment.

    • rachelwordsmith on February 29, 2020 at 4:18 pm
    • Reply

    I used to have your life but it was worse. Right out of the Air Force I became a single parent without any help or money. So I started a construction business and did very well, got on that treadmill and went on to manage big construction company projects as an employee responsible for millions and millions of dollars. Second marriage up and up I went until I broke. You mentioned mental breakdowns. I had many. I’ve been committed. I tried killing myself several times. The thing is abut breaking once you really break, you are never the same. I still have mental health issues today. But jumping off a bridge didn’t stop me from pushing myself. I had to crash a motorcycle, get run over by a tuck, and set on fire in one fell event to slow down. Two years to recover from that taught patients and priorities. Don’t let yourself go that far. I don’t have a smart phone or TV, I don’t need it. I have borrowed time and I’m not going to waste it. Seek mental health help, you need it. I needed it and it took a suicide attempt to finally let myself get it. Knock it off before you kill yourself.

    • mcm0704 on February 29, 2020 at 5:16 pm
    • Reply

    OMG! This is so me. I have trouble being still for very long, and while I don’t overload on checking each ping on my phone, I don’t often sit at an appointment and just BE. I want to play a game on my phone or check messages, etc. And I put off going to doctors, hoping that I’ll miraculously recover and won’t need to waste that time. I can also relate to the losses. My father died in 2011, my husband in 2013, my mother in 2015 and one sister in 2017. Plus I had to move from a place that I loved in 2018. Huge loss as well as all the family members. It’s hard for me to cry in front of people, too, so I swallowed a lot of my tears.

    I do hope you are fully recovered from the pneumonia by now.

    1. I got the second round of Godzillacillin today. I am feeling better but I just don’t think it is all the way gone. Still tired and a cough though NOTHING like it was. I am learning to listen to my body earlier, not to try and tough everything out. That was what I wanted to share here. Thanks so much for the lovely comment ((HUGS)).

  13. I can relate to all of the above and your post. However, I would like to add one more thing. I believe this is a profound time, and that we are attempting to understand our lives so we can let the past go. I believe (don’t laugh) that our species is beginning to evolve. And that we are ready now to create and build a new world based on our newfound understanding. I read somewhere that chaos often precedes creativity. From that point of view, I want to create something new and positive, in my world and the world in general.

    1. Nope, nothing weird in that. We are having to rise to a new “normal.”

  14. This post really rang true with me. I live in the wilderness of Alaska, and pre-internet, I used to write like upwards of 10 pages a day, book after book. Enter Internet, and with it, publishing and advertising and socializing, (and one game I play on FB), writing is now almost a chore (almost). Of late, we’ve come to town during the winters, spending months chasing the grandkid (2yo now), and writing has slowed even more. Once was the time my dreams (I have odd dreams) would fuel either more on the WIP or some other idea. Those are few and far between these days. Sigh – I guess even I need to slow down.

    • Jean Lamb on February 29, 2020 at 11:22 pm
    • Reply

    I’m still in caregiving mode. But a broken wrist that Healed Funny means I have to take time out for physical therapy (made it to Medicare, yay, or I would be doing exercises off the internet instead). I cannot tell you how much I actually enjoy someone focused on me for a change.

  15. I hope you get a gentle feeling of well being soon. -hugs-

    • Patti Rae on March 1, 2020 at 10:41 am
    • Reply

    I get it, understand it. I’ve also been recovering from a bug that has been hanging on since the end of December. Also did a round of antibiotics. Being sick forces us to slow down, and that’s not always a bad thing. It’s a good time for reflection, as long as we can embrace the quiet. Not always easy to do, but often necessary. Sometimes I think our bodies just hit a wall, have had enough of us pushing and pushing all the time, and finally they just take over and put us down. ‘You’re done for a while – take a rest!” But in this time of quiet reflection, a lot of good can rise to the surface if we can shut down the noise to hear it.
    Thanks for sharing and for keeping it real. Hope you’re completely over the crud soon.

  16. You are singing my song, and I thank you for your honesty! Truly. I have been forced into rest for many of the same reasons you mentioned. It has happened twice in my life before, once in my 30s and again in my 50s (and again now–I’m a slow learner.) Truly, “He MAKETH me lie down in green pastures,” and I am grateful for that. Doing it voluntarily, though, would be better than being forced to rest. (Points at self.) Get well, and take as long as it takes. I’d love to have you around for decades to come.

  17. Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts. I have had many of the same thoughts. My car is my quiet place. I can tell people who ride with me are uncomfortable with the silence. We might actually have a…conversation? Your biography becomes your biology. (Caroline Myss) Eventually your body will reflect your emotions. Those emotions have to go somewhere. I hope you are completely healed soon.

  18. Honey, nurturing ourselves, as if we were a newborn babe is the key. Taking care of the basics first; nourishment in all regards, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. And from that comes the LOVE we must first have for ourselves so that we can then share that with our nearest and dearest. And the world at large. Taking care of ourselves ‘first’ is not selfish; it’s the smartest thing we can do, EVER. And if that means learning to say NO, and doing it, then so be it. All the busyness is just ‘pretend shite’; at the end of the day when we’re taking our last breath, what matters most is that we’ve loved deeply and been loved in return. It’s that simple. Sure we need to have gainful employment to provide the necessities to sustain life, but if we’re lucky and I know you are, we have a partner/husband, wife, significant other person who shares that responsibility with us. Someone who makes us feel special, and we in turn do that for them. Being grateful and accepting all we have right now, and what we’ve learnt so far, is easy. Learning to love fully and mindfully with our whole self takes effort; by unplugging, nurturing yourself back to a robust healthful better version of you will take time. Cut yourself some slack. Allow yourself the time to grieve and heal. Learn to LOVE yourself, because you’re worth the effort! Kindest thoughts and much AROHA/Love, to you, Gaylene Atkins, New Zealand.

  19. So sorry to hear about your granddad. That in itself is a major crisis. Look after yourself. We all grieve in different ways, but what is true is that we all grieve. Give yourself the time you need to do that. You will be the only one who knows how , and how long it will be. Give yourself permission to do it your way.
    And I’m sorry too that you’ve been so ill. I hope things are looking up in that area. Again, look after yourself. Walks by the beach help me.
    Personally, I don’t mind being alone , but I do have a problem with the guilt of not doing enough. Where does that come from. Rest, the kind that you take when it’s not enforced, the kind to gift to yourself can be energizing and life affirming.
    Thank you for your lovely words. You write so well and even though the subject matter was sad, it was a pleasure to read.
    Please write more about your grandad.

    gramswisewords.blogspot.com

  20. How interesting that we are so driven. When I was growing up we never wanted to be caught sitting down. I can still hear the name calling and accusations. It has taken a very long time to allow myself to just sit in the sun and think about nothing. I am trying to give myself permission to spend money on myself. Gradually I have been able to silence the voices in my head. I recognize them for what they are, liars.
    We must give ourselves pemission to love who we are. To approve of the person we are evolving into. Going thru hard times, lossing loved ones is a real tug of war on holding on to who we are amongst all the would of, could of, should of, and if only’s.
    We are so worth it. Thank you for sharing. It is a hard time of life, but glorious on the other side.

  1. […] Kristen Lamb, a writer and writing coach who writes a blog that I follow, recently did a  post titled: Quiet: Have We Forgotten to Be Still in a World That Never Stops.  […]

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