• Gracie Carmichael

Ten Minutes of Calm

Dear friend,

There's no denying it's a loud, uncomfortable sort of world in which we live, and though it's a dream of mine to nurture quietude and calm in the little ways, too often the far greater amount of distraction, noise, hurry-up and self-gratifying voices strip away the little efforts I put in...and I'm left more discouraged and desperate than ever. I don't wonder you've felt the same before, for I'm sure you, too, know so well that faded dream of a day's peace crushed by less alluring demands, the sensory-overload of a phone screen, the unavoidable rush-rush-rush of meeting some task that's just cropped up on your schedule...and you begin to wonder, it's no chance thing you're longing for a bit of calm in your heart just now, for goodness knows you need it!

But happily, I have found a little balm for this daily tragedy of crushed ideals, and I hope it encourages you as it has me of late.

You might spend yearsand perhaps you have spent them!searching for the remedy to no avail. The simple, tragical truth is, you don't quite have the time to live the idyllic, free-spirited Anne of Avonlea lifestyle you can't help dreaming about. Life has other demands... for many of you, the daily load may feel like a never-ending task-list of groceries to get, work to be done, family to look after, schoolwork beginning to pile up before finals, or voices incessantly calling out for "Mom?" whenever you've just happened to finally sit down. Whatever demands face your daily life, perhaps you've put away your quiet ideal for awhile, feeling it rather impossible just now to be gallivanting through violet glades and picking strawberries in a straw-hat, or reading through the day and thinking nothing of those intrusive, practical thoughts of "What shall I make for dinner?" or "Better do another load of laundry."

My remedy is not groundbreaking, but it's simple...and it's a start in the right direction.

Ten glorious minutes of calm.

All you need is ten minutes to begin withten minutes to calm your heart and mind in something joy-filled, heart-lifting, and freeing. I discovered this method quite by chance in the middle of a very noisy, very bewildering busy day. I decided to block everything out for about ten or fifteen minutes and mend a button on a dress by hand. Those ten minutes changed everything, and the wave of peace that followed was enough to lift me out of the trenches of distraction and fog for the rest of the day. In fact, I looked back on that day and thought, oh it was a nice day, after all. I'm quite aware it was all due to those beautiful minutes in which nothing else quite mattered except a few neat stitches and a button replaced.

Last week, in the middle of a day of uproar and distraction, I was out for an afternoon drive and happened upon a little park that I'd never known the existence of before. I got out on a whim and explored it for a good ten minutes, and again, that indescribable wave of peace that followed it was sheer bliss. For ten minutes, nothing mattered but how wonderfully blue the lake was with the sky reflecting in its depths, or the sound of birdsong and a gentle breeze joined together. My head was clearer, my heart calmer, and I discovered that the entire day was transformed into a beautiful one.

It just took me ten minutes.

Now that I've become aware of how my days are affected by that blessed little interval, it's become a joy to discover new ways to delight in those ten minutes, just when I need them most. Sometimes that looks like a short teatime break with a good book, baking a cheesecake to satisfy a whim, spending quiet, prayerful time in Bible study, or decorating a corner of a room...

Fill a little time with an activity that's mindful, joyful, freeing, and I think you'll find your busy, loud days quite transformed. For my own introverted self, those ten minutes are best filled when my own thoughts are the only voice around, but perhaps for you, those ten minutes will be best spent catching up with a loved one, sharing a homemade treat, or writing to pen pals. Whatever brings your heart a touch of calm when you need it most, I encourage you to fill ten minutes with it every day, and I hope you'll find that everything changeseverything is beautified by that simple measure of peace.

Of course, it's always nice to have more than just ten minutes to enjoy a bit of calm, and if you can manage it, I salute you. But many have schedules that simply don't allow for much more, quite frankly. Ten minutes is the minimum, I've found, and I think it's a solution that works quite well for those who sometimes can only manage a few spare moments.

I do hope you'll give this a try and find it uplifting, joy-giving, and day-transforming. Of course, this is only a beginning step towards your longed-for daydream of beautiful, calm, spring days and quietudebut it seems to make those dreams feel a little less far away, in my experience. :)

I wish you a calm, peace-filled day, dear kindred spirit!

Until next time,