The sixth and final self awareness technique I would like to talk about is Quiet Time. It could be called reflection or meditation time. You could use prayer, meditation, reflection, yoga, breathing exercises, or any other technique which helps you tune in to yourself. It is all about ways of getting in touch with what we are feeling right now. As with all the awareness techniques, it is about focusing on the here and now.
I know you are probably thinking, “GEEZ LOUISE why are you spending so much time talking about getting in touch with our feelings?” Well, the reality is that most of us are not good at getting in touch with our feelings. We go through most of our days either too busy to feel or finding ways to numb out so we don’t have to feel. We use food, TV, shopping, work, drugs, sex, alcohol, more work, hobbies and anything else we can find to use so that we don’t have to feel.
If this doesn’t apply to you, skip the rest of this post, go have a beer and watch TV.
I am kidding of course. If this had been a test, you would have passed.
Anyway, quiet time is about getting in touch with ourselves. It can be difficult to find quiet time in the course of our full and busy lives. The fullness and busyness can be the way we avoid getting in touch with ourselves. The antidote is to slow down, be quiet, and get in touch.
If you already know how to use prayer, meditation, or breathing exercises, those would likely be the best approaches for you. If you don't have a technique that you use, there are tons of resources available to you on the web and in your community. But you really don't need anything other than yourself for this. You can simply sit quietly and breathe deeply. Try to put the noise of the day out of your mind and get in touch with what you are feeling.
When I take the time to do this, I am often surprised by the results. It has helped me to recognize a pattern of feelings that I experience around travel. Every month I make 1 or 2 trips to teach courses out of town. It is typical for me to fly out on Sunday afternoon for a class that starts on Monday morning. Invariably, I get scared and anxious as the weekend approaches until I peak sometime Sunday afternoon as I frantically pack the materials I need for my class.
Now I don’t mind travel and I don’t mind teaching classes. But both require a certain level of effort and attention. Travel can always bring unwanted surprises. Classes can bring surprises and a level of performance anxiety because it is important to me to do a good job. As a result, I feel anxious about going out of town for these classes.
It wasn’t until I took the time to get quiet with myself that I recognized this pattern. I was praying about the weekend and realized how scared I was about traveling. Then I recognized that I always feel scared leading up to these trips. That gave me the power to do something about my feelings.
Whether you pray, meditate, use breathing, or simply reflect quietly, use this technique to get more in touch with yourself. Focus on what you are feeling now, in the moment.